An Incomplete List of Jeff Bezos’s Recent Recos
He's been reading a lot of articles lately and sharing his favorite ones with his community
Jeff Bezos has been more online of late, with a particular inclination towards sharing news content from around the web. For example, last night he tweeted about a recent article in Vanity Fair titled, “Inside the New Right, Where Peter Thiel Is Placing His Biggest Bets.”
The piece chronicles the rise of yet another “New Right,” which somewhat resembles the previous new right, in that one of its main characters, the neo-reactionary writer Curtis Yarvin aka Mencius Moldbug, is best known for running a blog from 2007 to 2014, and another one is a billionaire Republican donor who bankrupted this blog six years ago. Here’s what Bezos thought about it:
Great reco from Jeff. I also found the piece fascinating, especially the detail that Yarvin got engaged to an “activist in the BDSM scene.” But enough about that. What else has Jeff reco’d recently?
Recently, Jonathan Haidt wrote an article for The Atlantic called “Why The Past 10 Years Of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid,” which inadvertently proved to be a neat case study in its own premise. The article uses a lengthy analogy between the social media age and the tower of Babel to elucidate such insights as:
When the newly viralized social-media platforms gave everyone a dart gun, it was younger progressive activists who did the most shooting, and they aimed a disproportionate number of their darts at these older liberal leaders. Confused and fearful, the leaders rarely challenged the activists or their nonliberal narrative…The universal charge against people who disagree with this narrative is not “traitor”; it is “racist,” “transphobe,” “Karen,” or some related scarlet letter marking the perpetrator as one who hates or harms a marginalized group. The punishment that feels right for such crimes is not execution; it is public shaming and social death.
On Twitter, Bezos described it as “thoughtful, beautifully written, and important.” He also enjoyed this Daily Show clip on a similar theme.
Bari Weiss’s Newsletter:
Last week, venture capitalist and Andressen Horowitz partner Katherine Boyle wrote an essay for Bari Weiss’s Substack called “The Case For American Seriousness.” Bezos liked it enough to retweet a positive review from Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham. Already, some patterns are starting to emerge. We know Bezos is against stupidity and for seriousness. Specifically, seriousness when it comes to technology entrepreneurship, which Boyle describes as “the belief that God or the universe has bestowed upon you an immense task that no one else can accomplish but you.”
Much like Gawker, Van Jones’ podcast, Uncommon Ground, was nominated for a Webby this year. Incidentally, it is a production of the Wondery podcasting network, which is owned by Amazon. Bezos tweeted a boost for it last week. Unfortunately, also like Gawker, it did not win.
Two years ago, GeekWire published an exclusive look “Inside Amazon’s new 8-floor family homeless shelter attached to its Seattle HQ.” This glowing report was, as it happens, underwritten by an Amazon partner. Bezos liked it so much he shared it last week.
A few days before that, Time published another glowing piece, this distinctly uncritical profile of Amazon’s new CEO, Andy Jassy. Bezos seemed to have enjoyed it.
Vanity Fair again
What did he recommend before Jassy? He retweeted a different Vanity Fair article in February. The piece promises an exclusive “first official look” at “The Rings of Power,” a Lord of the Rings prequel series which is set to air this September on, of all places, Amazon Prime.
The winter was a slow time for Bezos recos. Before the Vanity Fair piece, he hadn’t recommended much since last October, when he tweeted a Guardian essay called “How it feels to go into space: ‘More beautiful and dazzling and frightening than I ever imagined.” It’s an impassioned account from a passenger who went to space on a Blue Origin mission, the aerospace company owned by Bezos. Some might quibble with the prepositions in there — is it “into” space, if they technically went to the “edge?” But that’s semantics. The important part is that Bezos thought it was moving.
That same month, Bezos tweeted an article from the Washington Post, which he owns, about No Time To Die, the latest and very long installation in the James Bond franchise. Bezos really loved the movie, which makes sense. Five months later, Amazon bought MGM, the massive production company that owns the entire Bond franchise, in a $8.5 billion deal. This month, Amazon announced they planned to put every Bond movie on Prime. Must have been a good movie.
Also in October, Bezos came out in support of Netflix hit series, Squid Game, a thriller about class disparity, in which hundreds of characters, strangled by financial debt, enlist in a series of torturous, highly-surveilled, and frequently fatal competitions to win a $38 million prize. The jackpot grows when players die, which they frequently do in horrific fashion. This did not speak to Bezos so much as Netflix’s “internationalization strategy.”
It’s unclear if he has since watched the show.