Today was a sad day for freedom, for humanity and for shopping. If you have not heard, a vile book was made available on Amazon called “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure”. I kid you not. It makes me nauseous just to type those words on my blog, but I have spent the entire day searching the Internet and my heart for how to deal with this, in my opinion, atrocity.
I began the day thinking Amazon had missed something and would surely pull the Kindle book when they heard the voices of thousands of their loyal customers asking for it to be removed, reporting it as pornographic and promising to boycott the site if the book remained.
I was one of those voices. I reported, called and spoke to a lovely woman, emailed and tweeted my feelings.
I read a wonderful blog post by Adam P. Knave that defended the rights we all have for free speech, which I am all for. Read it – he makes good points in Banned? Wait, What?! and he has responded to every single comment. Thank you, Adam. I do not want books banned that I disagree with. I love our freedoms and support people’s right to write whatever the hell they want. Gay porn – go at it. It’s not my bag but hey – two consenting adults – it’s none of my business. And it is not illegal.
In my mind this is illegal and fully promoting illegal acts. Hideous acts against children. Child Pornography is illegal. It turns out this book is on some slippery slope that Amazon feels it must protect. I received a form email from Amazon saying
Amazon.com does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.
Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable. Therefore, we’ll continue to make controversial works available in the United States and everywhere else, except where they’re prohibited by law.
I get it. I’m not for censorship. But I am for corporate responsibility. Amazon’s Digital publishing guidelines state that they have the right to judge whether content is appropriate and then explicitly state examples of prohibited content.
Pornography and hard-core material that depicts graphic sexual acts.
What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect. Amazon Digital Services, Inc. reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of Titles sold on our site.
Titles sold through the Digital Text Platform Program must adhere to all applicable laws. Some Titles that may not be sold include any Titles which may lead to the production of an illegal item or illegal activity.
Hello Amazon, please abide by your own rules. This book was downloaded by people with a stronger stomach than me and I found on Tech Cruch this repulsive excerpt from the first few pages. They could not make it any further in this filthy manual.
When precautions are needed, however, standard condoms go a long way. Unfortunately, they are much too big to fit boys younger than 13. Luckily, there is a product that is identical to the adult condom, in almost every way, which will do the trick. Latex finger coits, intended to protect finger cuts from becoming infected, can provide the same level of protection as the adult latex sheath. They come in small, medium and large, one of which is sure to fit any child under thirteen.
The book goes on to talk about how to use pinup pictures to masturbate or to think of children you have been with in the past, but warns that if you have these pictures up when the cops come you will be arrested if the children pictured are nude.
Are you kidding me? Just this tiny paragraph is encouraging illegal acts, is pornographic in that it speaks of illicit sexual acts with children under age 13 and hey – what I would expect is that anything depicting sex with a child under the age of 13 is completely offensive.
Amazon has disappointed me and I feel like it is my duty to put my money where my mouth is given these days – it seems money is the only thing many companies hear.
However, I am not only hurting Amazon by boycotting the site but all of the hundreds of thousands of businesses that make their living selling their products through the largest store in the world. I hope they have reached out and expressed their displeasure. I know that the storm of tweets and emails and anger will probably die down and that many of the voices screaming BOYCOTT! will go back to making purchases at Amazon and loving their free 2 day shipping. Maybe all of the additional traffic to Amazon today to view just the cover of this monster has helped some businesses (God help you if your business comes up in the You Might Also Like Section though). I don’t want to hurt companies trying to make it an depending on Amazon for sales.
But my heart says this is not right. I need to put my money where my big mouth is, and I have a right to do that.
At the end of this long day, I still stand against Amazon and will not make purchases from them. I may still purchase directly from sellers but nor from Amazon. I do not know how this affects anything but I do not want to hurt people trying to make a living who had no say in this. I honestly believe that Amazon has a responsibility to their customers and to the businesses that rely on their services to stand by their content policies and remove the work. It is not censorship – they are not the government. I am not asking for it to be burned, although if I had a copy I would certainly burn it. I am simply stating that they should exercise their right not to sell this horrible book.
So, did you make a decision? Where do you stand? Is this censorship and a case of free speech or should this giant company choose to remove the book under their own stated rules?
You know where I come out.
It’s always on the side of kids.