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.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I am not boycotting Amazon.