Wednesday, November 10, 2010

censor that! censor it immediately!

people are going absolutely nuts over's decision to continue the sale of this book: "The Pedophile's guide to Love and Pleasure."

there's even a dedicated twitter hashtag devoted to amazon right now: #amazonfail

people who are angry are angry because they think because "selling certain books is just wrong."

on sale since october 28th(but just for the kindle e-reader), the product description of the book by phillip r greaves states:

"This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught. "(all of these spelling errors are in the product description... makes me think it's not a very well written book...)

amazon isn't backing down on this one and has released a statement that refusing to sell certain book is censorship, and i tend to agree with amazon on this one. amazon has written:

"Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

you can get anything on amazon and that's one of the best things about it. if you don't like it, don't buy it. if you're offended by the title, boycott that specific book.

this isn't the only questionable title on amazon, by any means.

i don't remember people freaking out like this when amazon started selling O.J Simpson's book "if I DID IT."

or what about the hundreds of true crime novels that explicitly detail sexual crimes against children? if you type in "true crime" right now into the amazon search engine, the first book that comes up is one that describes the abduction, rape, and torture of two sisters(and i'm sure it's very graphically detailed).

also, i can buy all kinds of homophobic books on amazon like "gays and guns: the case against homosexuals in the military" by john eidsmore or "the transexual empire" by janice raymond.

the novel lolita describes, in depth, the desires of a pedophile and how he acts them out. i'm sure if amazon were around when lolita was first published, angry readers would call for it to be banned but we now consider lolita to be great Literature.

i'm not saying this guide will eventually be considered great Literature, because it's available on the kindle for like 4$ and is probably complete garbage, i'm just saying we can't be so eager to look to censorship as the answer to all of society's problems.

the angered are calling for a boycott of amazon unless they take the book down, but we all know that won't work. noone is really going to boycott amazon, because christmas is coming and there are too many small towns without book stores in north america for that.

maybe instead of just calling for a boycott and censorship, someone could try to engage the author in a discussion about why he wrote the book and what he hopes to accomplish? maybe they could even ascertain if likes to abuse children and then put him in jail.

the kindle and e-readers in general have opened up the publishing world in a way, making it extremely easy to write something crazy and have it sold on amazon or online immediately. the knee jerk reaction to this kind of shift might be to just stamp "censored" on everything we disagree with, but i think it's wiser to go in the opposite direction and become more thoughtful in the face of this kind of technology.

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