Thursday, November 11, 2010

Amazon Woman

I am not boycotting Amazon.

Look, I think we can all agree that the "how to be a ped0phile" book that Amazon is selling is repulsive and it's hideous that such a thing even exists.  The very idea that there are people out there that want to harm children in this way makes me sick to my stomach.  My argument here is in no way, shape or form a defense of this book or the vile scum who wrote it.

There are a lot of books on Amazon that I wish people would never buy or read.  Tom Clancy novels, Focus on the Family publications, Sandra Lee cookbooks and those stupid sparkly vampire books.  In fact, if I had my way none of that stuff would be available on Amazon (or anywhere else for that matter).

But do you really want me deciding that for you?  Do you want me - or any random yahoo - deciding that you can't buy something because it offends our individual sensibilities?  Because there are a lot of books that offend me as an individual that you probably really enjoy.  Lucky for you  those books fall under the protection of the First Amendment and neither I nor anyone else can tell you that you can't buy and read them even if they are total crap. *coughTwilightcough*

Now certainly as a consumer you have a right to vote with your dollars.  If you don't like that Amazon has a company policy of stocking books that are vile (but legal!) then don't shop there.  And if you want to use your voice and exercise your First Amendment right to tell others not to shop there then you should do that.

But I'm standing with Amazon on this one and I hope they don't cave to the mob.  Just like you don't want me deciding that you can't read Twilight or the Bible or How Easy is That? by Ina Garten, I don't want a loud, angry facebook/twitter mob telling me what I can't read.  It's a very slippery slope.  If the loud, angry mob gets this book taken off shelves then what's next?  What's the next book that they direct their attention to?  Lolita for it's portrayal of sex with a ch1ld?  To Kill A Mockingbird for racial slurs?  The Color Purple for it's rape, inc@st, slurs and lesbian themes?  And should the loud, angry mob get their way then?

Look, I don't plan to buy this repulsive how-to book.  I don't even like that it exists.  What I do like is that Amazon is standing up for my (and your!) First Amendment rights by keeping this book for sale. (At the time I wrote this I heard the book is back on the shelves.  Obviously this may change.)  I like that they are not letting the moral code of an individual, or of a group, decide what I can and cannot read.

So I'm still going to shop at Amazon.  I'm going to support them as a company by buying books and video games and photography equipment there.  And I'm going to do my part to stamp out offensive material by NOT buying Twilight.

It's the right thing to do.

Edited to add: Oy. Just so we're super clear here: I am not defending this book.  I am not defending the person who wrote it or those who might buy it.  I am attempting to address the larger issue of you and I being able to have access to books and other materials that fall under the legal protection of the first amendment.  Further more, if you send me an email accusing me of being a "pervert defender" you are not doing anything to change my mind on this issue.  It's just going to make me question not only your mental stability but also your reading comprehension skills.  Also I'm going to wonder why you're so worked up about Twilight.

One year ago today I played Barbies.
Four years ago today Joseph was my defender.


Emily said...

I agree, and I think we should stop giving this book publicity.

Avitable said...

Damn creepy Twilight and its promotion of old men having sex with underage women!

dancing_lemur said...

Much like Emily said...all the uproar is just bringing attention to a book that otherwise would probably have gone largely unnoticed amongst the other millions of books on Amazon. I don't like that it exists, either...but I don't expect a huge company like Amazon to be morally responsible for every book it sells. If it appeared at eye level in my local bookstore? Eh, I'd probably complain...but like you said, there will always be books that offend someone.

Stimey said...

Hell yes. Exactly. This. Thank you for writing this so. This is EXACTLY how I feel about this.

You really ARE my internet soul sister.

Anonymous said...

Look...this is outrageous. Of course we don't want people telling us what to buy,,but to put the other books you mentioned anywhere on the same page is just crazy. ??? U can not compare anything you mentioned to a book on how to molest a book that tells people how to do it. It promotes violence against children. Amazon should be held responsible. That is the problem in today's society. No one expects to have to take responsibility for all the crap out there.

dancing_lemur said...

I so just tossed a link to this post into a facebook comment...I was presenting the opposing opinion of the masses and used you as backup. :)

Jen said...

I am not comparing those other books to this book. I am saying that I don't want anyone telling me that I can't read those books. I am not defending this particular book in any way because it is disgusting and wrong. It's also legal and therefor I do not think Amazon is under an obligation to pull it. You say "No one expects to have to take responsibility for all the crap out there." Well, who should take responsibility for this crap? Amazon? It's a company not a person so we're going to have to get more specific than that. The executive(s) at Amazon who came up with their standards of what books to carry? The vendors at Amazon who have NOTHING at all to do with this book being sold and who could have their own sales harmed if there was a widespread boycott? Bloggers who are Amazon affiliates? People who like to read? People who support free speech? How far does this go?

Emily said...

Sounds to me like you have become like the "Won't somebody think of the pedophiles" member of the audience when we went and saw Angela Davis speak.


Lovingly kidding. <3

Anonymous said...

It is a company RUN by PEOPLE. Exactly my point. PEOPLE run the company,,the company does not run itself. Thank You so much for making my point more clear. The "executives" "vendors" all the way down the line could and should be responsible for the product they choose to sell. Everyone you mentioned is responsible. Everyone who has a conscience and believes that these type of people (Criminals!) do NOT have the right to hide behind our beautiful, blessed Freedoms to reach out to each other to teach each other how to molest our children.

And I am not a book burner. I am all for you and anyone reading whatever they want to read...but a company like Amazon,,or any other company which is run by people have a choice to either sell a book like this that promotes hurting and changing children for the rest of their lives in a way I do NOT have to imagine,,,OR they can be responsible adults who run companies and CHOOSE to make sure this sort of thing NEVER ends up on their website being sold by their company. Where there is a will, there is a way...ESPECIALLY for Amazon which is a huge company with money behind it.

Jen said...

Amazon has an obligation to choose what it will sell based on it's company policy. I happen to support their policy. Therefor I will continue to shop there. You don't support it? Then don't shop there. It's as simple as that. You are certainly within your rights get mad and vocal about this as much as you like. You just can't expect everyone to agree with you.

Anonymous said...

i don't expect everyone to agree with me. i thought this was a blog, where people are supposed to respond to you. sorry,,my mistake.

have a glorified day. full of people who are educated in how to molest your children thanks to people like you who support policies that educate these people.

Jen said...

Really anonymous? You hope my children are surrounded by child molesters because I will continue to shop at Amazon? Wow. You're really the voice of reason here.

You are free to respond as often as you like. I did not delete your comments or tell you to stop making them.

And just so we're clear, I have your IP address so you're not as anonymous as you may wish to believe.

Emily said...

Um, Anonymous, I think most pedophiles know how to do it without an instruction manual.

Anonymous said...

Why stop with Amazon? Someone had to publish this book and someone had to write it. Let's boycott the publisher and not buy any books that they publish! Sheesh! Actually, this book being sold on Amazon might be a good thing. I'm sure Amazon has a method for tracking sales (in fact, I know they do because I frequently get emails recommending books that I might like based on previous purchases, so Amazon might be performing a public service in discovering the "potential" child molesters who buy this book. And I agree with Emily, the child molesters already know how to do it. We have freedom of speech in this country, and along with that we also have the freedom not to listen, not to read, not to purchase. The focus needs to be on the "freedoms" not the sale of this book. Jen, I completely agree with you! Your MIL...Judy

Sarah said...

There are plenty of books out there that include graphic descriptions of molestation and other heinous crimes. Fiction, memoirs of survivors, psychology studies, I could go on. Since the information is not spelled out in the title, these books don't cause an uproar, but the information is out there nonetheless. Maybe we should worry more about holding companies accountable when they actually break the law, since that is hard enough in this country. The internet is a wonderful thing, but viral "causes" like this, tend to quickly turn into 21st century witch hunts, with the righteous rage blinding out all calls for reason.