Jeff Bezos exposing the Enquirer's attempt to blackmail him was good and right. But everything else about the story is so, so wrong.

Apparently 2019 is on a mission to outdo the past two years on the "How is this real life?" front.

If you've missed the big news this week, the National Enquirer tried to blackmail and extort Jeff Bezos with embarrassing photos, but Bezos published their threats in a blog post instead. But that's really not the whole story, because that's simply not absurd enough for this day and age.

The biggest headline in America right now is that the richest man in the world, worth an estimated $137 billion, is being blackmailed by the most ludicrous and illegitimate tabloid paper because they got a hold of his dick pics. That's an actual news story.


And that's not all. The publisher of this ludicrous and illegitimate tabloid, whose unbelievable name is David Pecker, has a special relationship with Donald Trump—the philandering billionaire reality TV star who also happens to be the President of the United States.

You can't write this stuff. Seriously, if I had sent this storyline as a book proposal to a publisher five years ago, I'd have been laughed out of the writing business. And yet, here we are. Welcome to 2019.

I don't understand why we're not all running around and screaming, "THIS IS NOT NORMAL!"

I'm not sure where to start with how bonkers literally everything about this is. Since I'm not quite ready to take on Jeff Bezos' pants tent yet, let's take a look at what $137 billion actually is instead.

There's rich, then there's filthy rich—and then there's Jeff Bezos. I mean, good for Bezos for building up a business from scratch in his garage (yay, capitalism!), but wealth hoarding in a world where billions of people struggle to put food on the table is obscene. And make no mistake, anyone worth $137 billion is a big ol' hoarding hoarder.

To illustrate, if you did nothing but count dollars for 16 hours a day, guess how long it would take to count $137 billion. Just guess.

Did you guess somewhere in the vicinity of 33,000 years? If not, you'd be dead wrong. Most of us have no concept of how large even one billion actually is. And while wealth isn't bad, that extreme amount of wealth is obscene, especially when your own employees pee in bottles and live in fear in the workplace.

Now that that's out of the way, back to the story of Jeff Bezos' junk pics.

Bezos exposing the National Enquirer's attempt to blackmail him was good and right. But everything else about the story is so, so wrong.

Bezos is being hailed a "hero of democracy" for taking on the all-powerful tabloid and not giving in to extortion attempts. And yes, good on him. But the fact that Bezos was cheating on his wife seems to be getting lost in the "He's a hero!" narrative.

Of course, rich and powerful men have been unfaithful throughout history. But should we just accept that as normal? Perhaps we have no choice in an era where my 10-year-old son can click a button and listen to the President of the United States say he "tried to f*ck" a married woman and that he can grab women "by the p*ssy." Good times, America!

And how about this absurd little tidbit: The letter threatening to publish Bezos' private photos if he didn't make the statement they wanted him to make came from the National Enquirer's lawyer. And the way it's written makes it sound like a legally binding contract. Seriously? Aren't these shady threats supposed to take place in a seedy bar someplace? If we have to be living in a badly written crime story, at least give us the level of drama we expect—and frankly, deserve—at this point.

I don't know, y'all. Everything has become so bizarre and dumb and surreal. Forgive me if I don't have the will or energy to cheer on a billionaire adulterer's spat with another billionaire adulterer, both of whom are embroiled with a gossip tabloid run by a man who makes his millions selling salacious stories about celebrities.

We don't have to keep living like this, America. We can do better, even if it is 2019. I promise we can.

lop
Most Shared
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation

There's something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online. You've seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, "Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight." And before you know it, you're at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different. As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: hunger, and no food in sight.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that hunger is an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food