Beki Grinter

Romney’s binders

In social media on October 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Something curious is going on on Amazon.com

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s comment on Tuesday night

“I said, ‘Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified? I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

People have taken to Amazon to write reviews of binders. Ones that take up the question of whether you can fit women into binders, whether binders come with women, whether they appeal to the 47% and so forth. It was first picked about a day ago, a story retweeted on Twitter, which I wonder led to more people writing the reviews.

These reviews are a vehicle to express the reviewer’s dislike of Mitt Romney. But what an interesting place to do it. The night of the debate I watched my Facebook stream (mostly left-leaning people, but not exclusively) and Mitt’s comments about binders came up there. Indeed, its come up over and over again in the last few days. I am sure that Facebook and Twitter are being used by supporters of both candidates, and that doesn’t surprise me.

So what to make of Amazon reviews as being a site of political expression? It’s certainly not the first time that Amazon.com reviews have been used for purposes beyond a recommendation. The Wolf t-shirt is a famous example. You could say that the binder reviews have elements of the same humour (at least those of a non-Republican or non-Romney persuasion). But you see other turns there, expressions of anger about the status of women… other types of expression. And at least to me that is what makes these reviews fascinating.

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