Zoe and the Amazocalypse have been covered in three major Seattle news outlets (Geekwire, Seattle PI and The Stranger) and one major Internet news site (Slashdot), but there’s been minimal interest and sparse sharing and pledging. After yesterday’s slog post, only twelve readers actually bothered to visit our Kickstarter page … twelve. Local journalists thought the project is worth covering but the low response has left me wondering if Seattle’s lost its sense of humor.
In fact, I was caught a bit off guard when The Stranger’s Heidi Groover started grilling me on why I was so against density that I would write a kids book about it. Hers was such a serious take on what I thought was lighthearted, artful commentary on obvious change.
We all know Amazon’s basically engulfed Seattle and while there are amazing benefits to economic growth, most pre-2010 residents don’t recognize the place, can’t afford it and (men) can’t get a date anymore (unless they pay for it).
The idea of Amazon in the form of a monster recognizing that all of its actions haven’t been great for everyone seems timely. And yes the text has girls, drones, hackers, traffic, homeless and artists. Humor and art are often the most effective cultural critiques we have.
Certainly, the framing as a children’s book was loosely applied, but, as I told Groover, any kid growing up in Seattle sees cranes everyday and sits in traffic with their frustrated parents. Commenter John Reagan quoted his daughter telling he and his wife, “you two were much happier when we lived in Vegas.”
I’ve been involved in a variety of projects in my career that have made national (and international) news, from running not for profit coffee shops to helping catch Wired journalist Evan Ratliff to marrying a corporation to a person. And, I’ve had projects not take off, like any creative person.
But I thought the concept of Zoe and Amazocalypse was funny and Megan Marie Myer’s art outstanding. I thought one look at Amazocalypse and weary Seattle-ites would be breaking Facebook with shares. But instead, you could almost hear a pin drop if not for all the construction cranes.
I asked one of my editorial mentors and local historian Knute Berger, what gives? He wondered if I’d gotten old, increasingly the city is filling with millennials working for Amazon and other tech companies. He said, “maybe hating on Amazon is old hat—so 2014,” or perhaps, “they don’t want to kill the golden Amazon goose.” He suggested, “a kid’s book on how a STEM education made a little girl a billionaire at 13—and she lived happily ever after at a U-district tech hub within walking distance of light rail!”
Now, that’s funny — and hopefully, so 2045.
Perhaps the idea of the Amazocalypse just sucks — or it just hits too close to home to joke about anymore in Seattle.
if current trends continue, by 2045 we might well be living in an Elysian dystopia in which science & technology education is only for the elite class, labor history has been delegated to a few books in public library open stacks, and the ‘undeveloped world’ has been poisoned beyond livability by the effluent of ‘technological ‘advances’. Forgive me if this sounds too cynical. It is unfortunately already the reality for a growing percentage of the world’s children.