Simple Simulacrum

or, An Introduction to Abandoned Houses

Foreword to Abandoned Houses

by Feddy I. Baleen

Dear reader. I am aware of the world. This book is published via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. The author, Mr. Bryan Edenfield, has an irrational and visceral hatred of Amazon as a corporation, as a business model, as an idea, as an ethos, as a culture. He firmly believes you should not use Amazon or any of their subsidiary services in any way whatsoever. For a relatively unknown author trying to make money with literary output, this is a difficult and perhaps untenable position. In other words, it is unrealistic for an author to turn their back to this monolithic corporation entirely. Consider this book, then, part of a Long Con. The author, Bryan Edenfield, is playing the Long Game. Perhaps one day, he will make enough money to influence culture on a large scale and destroy this company, the very company that is responsible for the printing and distribution of this book. That’s unlikely.

Additionally, perhaps this will be your first exposure to Mr. Edenfield’s work, and perhaps this will then direct your attention to his other work. For example, he has another book, a better book than this one, titled Cake, published by Really Serious Literature. It is possible to purchase Cake by Bryan Edenfield using the Amazon.com website, but Mr. Edenfield strongly discourages it, and suggests instead purchasing the book from your local independent bookstore, or directly from the publisher. You may find them on the world wide web at rlysrslit.bigcartel.com. If you like this book even just a little, you will likely enjoy Cake. If you hate this book with a mighty passion, you may still enjoy Cake. It is a better book. Perhaps there are others books out there by Bryan Edenfield that you can find in addition to Cake, but at the time I write this, that is not the case. We hope that changes very soon. He is a promising young(ish) talent. He also has a website, and hopefully he has maintained it: wordlessdictionary.com.

Now, I could go on and on about why Amazon is a company worth total and complete boycott, why it is bad for authors, bad for literature, bad for arts communities, bad for small businesses, bad for local economies, bad for your mind, bad for America, bad for the globe, bad for workers, bad for the environment, bad for the future, and so on and so forth. But, considering how you came across this volume, perhaps that would fall on deaf ears. Or perhaps not. If you desire to move on from this preachiness, please do, but if you can bear it, I’d like to run through a brief argument for why you should no longer use the services of this here company.

Why You Should Not Use Amazon

by Freddy I. Balleen

Amazon exploits its workers. Their warehouse conditions are deplorable. Their delivery drivers are also treated badly, and not allowed to unionize. Delivery drivers work grueling hours under oppressive surveillance conditions and must meet cruel quotas that have many of them shitting in bags and pissing in bottles.

(SOURCE: https://jalopnik.com/amazon-driver-losing-his-cool-shows-exactly-what-is-wro-1847007519)

It’s possible they are violating antitrust laws. Their very existence harms an intellectual ecosystem, disrupting how information reaches the public, creating barriers that they control without oversight.

I’m a lazy academic, and so I present to you here a collection of quotes, thus piggy-backing off of the fine work done by others. Given the current state of things, those who cling most uncritically to our technological status quo will likely not trust these charlatans from the lamestream media. I’m not trying to change their minds at the moment. They won’t like this book anyway. It’s weird and doesn’t make a lot of sense. But there are a few of you out there that know better. I see a twinkle of soul in your eye. I hope to reach you.

“Our country is losing small businesses. Jobs are becoming increasingly insecure. Inequality is rising. And Amazon plays a key role in all of these trends.” -Tracy Frisch, “Unfair Advantage,” Sun Magazine.

“But some small business owners argue that Amazon is actually a threat to their business. According to Forbes, two out of three business owners say their growth is negatively affected by the online retailer. Although Amazon allows small businesses to reach a global audience, the company charges a 15% commission fee.” -Frank Olito, “Here’s Why I Refuse to Shop on Amazon,” Business Insider.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected Amazon’s Breinigsville facility over the summer after an employee complained that 15 workers collapsed on the job when the warehouse heat index, a measure that considers humidity, exceeded 100 degrees.” -Spencer Sopar and Scott Kraus, “Amazon gets heat over warehouse,” The Morning Call.

There’s more, but combing through such things is depressing and monotonous. I am not here to torture you. And while there is certainly more I could say, there is likely a lot more that we don’t know about, considering the hostile tactics the company uses to deflect or discourage criticism.

“But of the dozen journalists I spoke with for this story, most of whom declined to be identified out of concern for professional repercussions, all recalled times Amazon’s press team had engaged in manipulative and sometimes deceitful behavior…. ‘Amazon is the only company I’ve dealt with that has directly lied to me,’ said one tech writer, recalling instances when Amazon boasted of warehouse safety guidelines in ways that journalists who had spoken with rank-and-file employees had found not to be true.” -Ali Breland, “How Amazon Bullies, Manipulates, and Lies to Reporters,” Mother Jones.

This is but a cursory glance at a company that has worked its way into the daily lives of so many people. It may seem difficult—or inconvenient—to abandon the website and its services, but that convenience is the result of rampant exploitation, unethical behavior, bullying tactics, and cruelty. Meanwhile, our good friend Jeffy gets to go to the moon. The world worked perfectly fine before Amazon existed. There is nothing there that you need, that you can’t find elsewhere, though simply moving your business to another online retailer will likely only create another monster. Are we trapped in a doomsday scenario? No. There are always better ways. I cannot say what they are for you, as it depends largely on local economy, local access. But you can figure it out. I have faith in you.

Finally, I need to address an elephant that has been sitting behind me, watching me type, and thwacking me with her trunk every-so-often in an effort to get my attention. You have my attention now, elephant. What is it?

“This book is available on the very website you discourage people from using. How do you justify such a thing?” asks the wise elephant.

“Well,” I say, “I believe this concern has already been address above, but it may warrant additional comment. Certainly, this book’s availability on Amazon may constitute a failure of sorts, a failure to live up to one’s own standards. Failure is inevitable. We will all fail in our efforts to disentangle ourselves from the various nefarious forces in the world today. But once we begin the process, it will become easier and easier, and the more people take part in the process, the more it will become easier for all, and failure will become success. The presence of this book here on this website is a calculated risk, a purposeful failure, and introduction of a seed of destruction within the vile mechanism itself.” 

I continued. “This is an act of sabotage. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. But the author, and others associated with the author, such as myself, believes it is a worthwhile risk and a good failure. Amazon may make a miniscule amount of money from the sale of this book, but there is danger within these pages, a danger that can breed and run rampant, outside of any corporation’s control, creating an environment that will undermine the company, and cause far more harm than the pitiful financial earnings can make up for.”

“What if that turns out not to be the case?” the elephant asks. “What if, in a few years, nothing seems to be happening? What if the book sells remarkably well, but all readers ignore these warnings, these missives, these rants?”
“Then, elephant,” I say, “This project will be abandoned. The book will disappear. That is likely the fate of such a work. It is, at its festering core, an Abandoned House.”

Purchase Abandoned Houses. Coming Soon.