Amazon vs Target, and How “Transparent” Changes Things

At some point this past year, I decided to go Amazon free. It was the least I could do, after all, considering their Evil Empire inclinations. So even though I’d been a Prime subscriber since the pre-Babygirl era, and I had been saved more than once by their remarkable policy of “Whatever it is, we’ll ship it to you in two days in a brown box, free, no questions asked,” I felt like I should quit. Farewell, Optimus Prime! Me and my ethics will be over here, keeping each other warm.

Then, of course, using my last subscription days, I started watching Transparent, Amazon’s edgy and surprising new TV show. Here’s Willa Paskin:

As if there was not enough to watch already; as if you were not paying for enough TV-dispensing services already; as if you were not borrowing enough passwords to avail yourself of TV-dispensing services already; it is time to figure out how to get Amazon Prime. Transparent, Jill Soloway’s 10 episode series, debuted on the platform on Friday. To call it Amazon’s first great series, or the only great series of the new fall season — both of which are true — is to damn it with faint praise. The title is a pun: As the show begins, the patriarch of the Pfeffermans, a close-knit, affluent, Jewish clan of Los Angelinos, begins to come out as transgender to her children. But it’s a pun that revels in both its meanings, rather than being some sitcom yuk-yuk highlighting that it is a series about a trans parent. It is, even more so, about transparency and secrecy, about what we reveal of ourselves and what we can’t help but reveal even as we try to keep it hidden. Start hitting up your friends for that Amazon password now.


The show may or may not be a bona fide “hit,” but it’s done well enough to get renewed for a second season and spark important cultural conversations. More importantly, I’m hooked. What do my ethics and I do now? If only there were a way to signal to Amazon that we support these endeavors, the cool creative TV-making ones, and not these others, like the dismal way employees and authors and publishers, are treated.

A perfect time to read this Buzzfeed list of “Target Secrets”! Except that it seems to have been ghostwritten by the store’s PR team. Or maybe the team’s tween sisters?

11. You’ve looked through the shoes only to discover that you already own half of them. LOL WHOOPS! …

16. Sometimes your “night out on the town” means going to Target after dark in your PJs.You’re only young once… spend those years at Target.

Color me a pasty shade of Not Convinced.

I mean, I like Target, for the most part. Their employees are both surly and invisible, and the stores are disorganized, but they have generic medication available at their pharmacy for a copay of $4 and their other prices are generally good. Sure, they aren’t producing cutting-edge, smart, feminist, queer-friendly television featuring guest spots by Tig Notaro. They could still be an adequate substitute for the big A, if coupled with Netflix. RIGHT?

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