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Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life
Marshall Frady
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David M. Glantz
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Damn Amazon

In 1998 I posted my first online review. It was on Amazon, and it was a review of Richard Norton Smith's biography of the publisher Robert McCormick. Over the years I posted dozens more, mostly of books but other products, and while I have generally confined my reviews of late to social sites like Goodreads and this one, I still occasionally cross-post reviews of books I especially like or which lack any other reviews.


Until now, that is. Because my reviews have been banned from Amazon.


I wish I could tell you why, but I can't. That's because it turns out that Amazon has a default setting of "passive-aggressive." I didn't even find out that I had been banned until I tried to post a review a few days ago, only to encounter a message informing me that my "previous review" of the product (???) did not comply with their guidelines, and that Amazon did not permit reviews from customers whose relationship to the product or seller may be perceived as biased.


Needless to say, I was confused. How could I have a "previous review" of something that I had never reviewed before? And to what sort of "biased relationship" were they referring? Then I discovered that not only was I prohibited from posting reviews, but that all of my previous reviews had been removed from the site.


Desiring some sort of explanation I logged into their Help Chat. I briefly corresponded with someone who, while more interested in telling him that I had a satisfactory experience than in providing one, promised to refer my question to the appropriate department.


Yesterday I received an email containing their response:

I'll admit that I'm not the most socially perceptive person, but even I can decode the message to f**k off that they sent me.


So I can ad a new reason why I despise Amazon. Considering that Jeff Bezos is now worth over $100 billion I'm not under any illusions that he is losing even a nanosecond of sleep worrying about what I think. But if he ever does ask why people don't love Amazon more than they should I'll think back to this and shake me head at his cluelessness.