Amazon unveils fresh signs of imminent apocalypse

April 2, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

Attention, hackers! Please come work your needful magic. Please hurry, trickster disrupters of the increasingly corporate-owned, brand-controlled, nefariously automated American Dream™, and help us throw into harsh relief The Darkness Into Which We Are About to Be Oh So Thoroughly Subsumed.

Behold! Amazon’s latest foray into casually ominous home invasion, the creepy/awesome, are-you-f—king-kidding-me Amazon Dash button thingy. Are you ready?

Creepy AND awesome

Creepy AND awesome

Watch! In disquieting awe as you can now place small, Wifi-enabled, Big Brother-esque triggers all around your home – on your fridge, your washing machine, your lost and abandoned dreams of ever having an interesting, dynamic life – and when you run out a particular Big Brand™ product, just press that brand’s button and boom, you just ordered more Tide, Pampers, K-Cups, Oxycodone, “Hang In There” kitten calendars, whatever. All from Amazon! Because evil!

You say, “Surely you jest!” You say, “Surely something is wrong with the modern world when we allow our homes to be connected directly to a monolithic online store that tracks every purchase with demonic glee.” You say, “Surely I cannot soon press a button and boom, here comes more Eagle Rare and Astroglide and assorted leather spanking utensils from my local vendor.”

What are you, some sort of pervert anarchist? Of course you cannot do that. Amazon’s Dash buttons are for real Americans, silly. Big brands and massively commercial products only (so far, anyway). Because this is the way it is.


That’s more like it


Which is another way of saying: They did it. The megacorps have finally figured out a way, some 80 years after the first TV commercial, to make themselves semi-permanent fixtures all over the home, freely installed and constantly refreshing themselves, and make it sound like it’s something we all really wanted. Thanks, Amazon!

Remember the Old Days™? When we used to complain that advertising had invaded every square inch of public space – every surface, park bench, public bike, coffee cup? Remember worrying that branding was taking over the world to rather terrifying degrees, but you could still (sort of) resist, ignore it, choose differently? Ah, so quaint.

Enough of that. This is Now. This is What You Want. Quit wasting valuable brainspace, consumer! With this button, ye shall hereby order more underpaid grunts from the wage-slave class to hustle around warehouses the size of Indiana’s intolerance to make sure you have enough Cheez-Whiz for the Super Bowl. Life is awesome! Tract homes all around!

So then. Who will be the first to hack the Button? Who will set it up so the next time Benumbed American Homeowner blithely orders a 20-pack of Glade Spiced Apple Pie™ Air Fresheners or 500 Caramel Latte Landfill K-Cups, Amazon is instructed to send him 10 copies of Jitterbug Perfume, donate $10 to Planned Parenthood and send a helpful nudge go outside more? Anarchy now! Or something.

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Mark Morford

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