Amazon shows off "wellness cubicle" for overwhelmed staff to lock selves inside and scream

Amazon plans to place "wellness chambers"—toiletlike single-seat cubicles—around its warehouses for staff to lock themselves in when their horrible jobs become too much to cope with.

In a video shared on its Twitter account, Amazon said the "AmaZen" chamber would help staff focus on their mental health. … Describing the AmaZen booths, it said: "During shifts employees can visit AmaZen stations and watch short videos featuring easy-to-follow well-being activities, including guided meditations, positive affirmations, calming scenes with sounds." In the now-deleted Twitter video, the pod can be seen to have just enough room for a chair, small computer table against one wall, and a few small potted plants on shelves. The top panel was painted as a blue sky with clouds.

There is some "not The Onion" threshold being crossed here. Even the most ridiculous and trenchant jokes about dystopian environments—from Idiocracy to Black Mirror—were more interesting and humane than the dumb reality of it turns out to be.

For example, look how cool the OMM booths from THX 1138 are, with their glowing ad-like Durer Jesuses, compared to the Amazon Emotion Potty.

Perhaps this is why everyone is so interested in "liminal spaces" that are really just places humans have to go to be human but can't remain in. The Amazon screamboxes are one thing, but it's obviously characteristic of social media too. There's something to this that follows William Gibson (and Cory, for that matter) in drawing future horror so close to the present that they press against one another, the diagnostic functions of science fiction are fundamentally subverted, and fiction itself is supplanted by reportage. I think a good term for this liminality is Lorenz Space, after the New York Times reporter by that name whose cheery nightmarish reportage of it all so infuriates the money men who think it is utopia.