Thursday, November 11, 2010

My view on the Amazon controversy

If you haven't heard about the Amazon controversy that took place yesterday, I don't think we can be friends anymore.

Seriously, it was hard to be online and not be sucked into the discussion about whether Amazon should ban a book called The Pe*ophilia's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child Lover's Code of Conduct.

My initial reaction was one of complete disgust that a book like this even exists. The fact that Amazon was allowing this self-published book to be sold online made me furious.

I believe in free speech. I believe that people should be allowed to write about what they want to write about. I believe that book stores should carry Mein Kampf, because that is a part of our history. I don't think Lolita should be pulled off the shelves either.

But. I don't think a book that is called A Child Lover's Code of Conduct should exist. I don't think that anything that could potentially harm a child should be made readily available for every pervert to get his hands on. When it comes to something like this, something so illegal and something so morally wrong, then I think we have the right and the power to say no. At this point, and in this instance, censor away.

Here is what is known: the author of the book has feelings for children, although (allegedly) he's never acted on them. In his book, he talks about ways to make pe*ophilia situations safer, he talks about establishing rules, and he talks about what to do if these adults get 'caught'. Oh, and that they should be handed lighter sentences if caught.

Excuse me? Oh, and it gets better. He says that if you're disease free, you don't have to use condoms. He talk about what level of kissing and touching is legal and how far you can go without getting arrested.

How far you can go.

Did no one at Amazon read this book before they saw the flashing dollar signs before their eyes?

Amazon didn't get back to any of the major news stations yesterday, but they did release this statement:

"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. 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."

They don't censor books, unless they promote criminal acts. Excsuse me, but pe*ophilia is a criminal act, damn it.

And here's my favourite part: Amazon has a blanket ban on porn. As if porn is a terrible thing!

As a mother, I stand firmly behind my view on this topic. The book should be taken off of Amazon.com. Imagine one child is sexually abused because of this book? Even just one child? It is our job to help prevent horrible things from happening to children. It is our job to protect our children in any way possible. This is not about the freedom of speech. This is about the protection of our children. And sometimes, it is okay to say no. That is the beauty of free speech.

Have you written a post about this topic, too? Let me know - I'd love to read what you have to say.

24 comments:

Avitable said...

Since I've written about it extensively on my site, I'm not going to get into it here, except to say that if the book explains what people can do to avoid breaking the law, then it does not cross that line into explaining illegal actions. And it's despicable and anyone who buys it is deplorable, but it should remain available unless Amazon makes a business decision (not a moral one) to remove it.

BusyDad said...

I support free speech. No matter what the content, Blacks, Asians, Gays, Jews, Women, Justin Bieber Fans or any other target of hate speech have the ability to defend themselves. The threat to them doesn't outweigh the value of freedom of speech.

Children, on the other hand, cannot defend themselves. It is therefore the responsibility of society to do it for them. Yes, even at the expense of free speech. Some things are sacred. Children sit at the top of that pyramid.

Loukia said...

Yes. Totally agree with you, Jim.

Kate Collings said...

I havent seen this on our news at present but I'm sure it will be soon enough. It comes at a poignant time too as the UK are launching a website/accessable list of all criminals caught and prosecuted for paedophilia.

Thanks for sharing. Take care,
Kate Collings
xx

www.katecollings.blogspot.com

zchamu said...

I wrote a long post on my blog about this, but my upshot really is that I don't want to support a company that thinks it's A-OK to make profits from a guide to ped*philia. I also didn't like their tone during this entire thing: claiming that it would be "censorship" was nothing more than a cloak allowing them to just avoid the issue entirely. Google has a motto: Don't be evil. Amazon would do well to think about that.

Nicki said...

Although I agree in freedom of speech, something just aren't right. Anything that encourages harming children in ANY way is not right. I know that with the internet there will always be ways for criminals to find access to information like this, but that it was so easily available from a company like Amazon shocks me.

I do hope that all the people who were involved in protesting this book and Amazon have also remembered to take the time to talk to their children about their private areas, why they need to remain private and how to protect themselves from things like this. Because you never know who's out there and although it would be nice for our children to grow up worry free, it's not a reality anymore.

The Bombshell said...

I'm so grossed out by Amazon's choice to make this piece of garbage available for sale. Granted, it would be nice if they could just sell it and supply the FBI with a list of buyers and they could round up all the jerks, but since I don't see that happening, I'm against it.

What really creeps me out EXTRA is that Amazon just launched their "Amazon Moms" service and then did this right on the heels of that move... I don't know of many moms who would be willing to use their services if made aware of this other issue.

I, for one, will not be shopping there any more unless they change their stance on this issue and begin caring about our children.

Alex and Ashley said...

Probably not, but it would be awesome if Amazon recorded the credit card name and address of the purchasers of this book and could hand them over to the police. Put them on a "watch list" or something. But that probably would never happen.

EatPlayLove said...

I agree with you! Amazon ditched their Colorado Affiliates last year because of tax issues with the state (I wasn't an affiliate, but it angered me). After that I gave them the boot, so this just instills in me what a money grabbing company Amazon is. I haven't looked back!

As for the book, if they don't sell porn then they shouldn't sell this. I am appalled this scumbag loser "author" lives in Colorado. Luckily far away or I may have the heart and nerve to go toilet paper his yard!

Karen Sugarpants said...

Your post is exactly how I feel. I was going to write about it too but I felt as though enough of my own energy had been thrown at the issue yesterday, and I had schoolwork to do so debating something like this with my friends was not high on the priority list. That sounds so selfish, I know, but Amazon.ca does not sell the book and so I was happy about that and walked away from The Twitta. ;)

Lady Mama said...

The book absolutely one hundred percent should not remain available on Amazon for several reasons:

As you have said, pedophilia is illegal, and whether the book explains how to break the law, or how to go half way, it is all headed in the same direction. Does that mean that, instead of selling a book on how to murder someone, you could publish a book on how to half-murder someone and still get away with it? I think not.

Second, I completely agree with what Busy Dad said: I'm all for free speech, but when it comes to kids, we need to stand up and protect them.

Third, Amazon can bite me. Guess who I'm NOT going to be ordering my Christmas presents from this year?

Great post.

AO xoxxo said...

I thought about writing about it. But my post would be very short. I believe in freedom of speech. I think that Amazon has the FREEDOM to decide that they do NOT want to sell the book. Children should always be protected. No exceptions! The End.

a H.I.T. said...

I decided NOT to post about the topic, not because I don't have an opinion - of course I do - but because I don't want to give this guy any more publicity than he's already been given throughout this whole debacle.

All in all, there is freedom of speech, which is important, but when that speech is with the intent to harm a minor, it's unacceptable and needs to be stopped.

For all the flagging the government did during the health care bill days, I certainly hope they flagged this guy and anyone who downloaded that offensive book.

Shawn Hooper said...

CNN is now reporting that this disgusting book has been taken off the Amazon site. Took long enough.

Mommyfriend Lori said...

I didn't write about this but if I did I would have written a post very similar to yours. You tackled the topic with so much integrity and careful thought. I admire that a lot. It's not easy to do considering the topic.

blueviolet said...

It's absolute filth! I am all for free speech, but as the owner of a business, I would reserve the right to make judgment calls on what I would and wouldn't promote and that one is a big NO!

Nenette AM said...

I just found out about this today. Good grief, it made me nauseous. Your post echos exactly how I feel about this, Loukia. And I also agree with Jim -- the protection of children far outweighs freedom of speech.

I'm relieved to hear that Amazon has pulled the book.

Sasha said...

I haven't written much about it per se, but I did post a rather 'amusing' exchange (for lack of a better word) with Amazon Canada, wherein I tell them they don't get my business as long as that book is available, and they direct me to the American site - not to complain, but to buy the book! They bill themselves in the email as the "world's most customer-centric company", but didn't even read the email!

Her Bad Mother said...

Yep.

Also, this, what BusyDad said:

"Children, on the other hand, cannot defend themselves. It is therefore the responsibility of society to do it for them. Yes, even at the expense of free speech. Some things are sacred. Children sit at the top of that pyramid."

THAT.

matt gordon said...

i am glad that you filled in alot of blanks for me on the content of the book. there is a tremendous amount of misinformation and innuendo about this s#!t storm. i totally agree about censorship staring at criminal acts

Elaine A. said...

Well, I guess we cannot be friends anymore because I did not hear about this until I just read your post. ;P

But all I have to say is, NO WAY JOSE should that book be readily available. That is disgusting.

And I was thinking the same thing that Alex and Ashely typed, that the sales could record those who buy it.

And I find it interesting that they decided to do this right before the big buying holiday season. I'm guessing they've lost some customers in this process...

Kate Coveny Hood said...

What astounds me is that so many comparisons have been made between this book and Lolita. The major difference between Lolita and a manual on how to be a sucessful pedophile is that the former is a fictional story about a deviant man - a window into his mind. It doesn't support the deviance or provide tips on how to get away with it. Book clubs don't talk about what a super smart pedophile Humbert is, they discuss about how his mind works, how he romanticizes his deviance, what a narcissist he is. Lolita wasn't written with the intent to teach.

But a manual is. And that's why it has to be questioned. Whether or not it's deplorable (which it is) isn't really the issue. The only reason it should be taken down is if it's illegal. Unfortunately, Amazon can't dictate that. But Amazon does set the rules about the type of material they will sell, and I think this may be time to go back and make revisions. If they don't want to be associated with the porn industry, then I doubt they want to be associated with child molesters either. That's the thing with setting up rules and bylaws...there are always loopholes. And this writer slipped through.

Interesting thought though, my husband was talking about how law enforcement will often capitalize on just this kind of thing to track "perps" Just another angle to consider...

Listen - I was actually a victim of child abuse, so I don't take the subject lightly. But at the end of the day we can't just look at something disturbing and say, "this is awful - make it go away." There are legal channels to navigate and sometimes people are allowed to beat the system so that they can pull in the "bigger fish".

All we can do is this. Yell and scream in outrage, finger point, make intelligent arguments, demand change, request consideration, have heated debates... Making noise draws attention and only then will anyone bother addressing the issue. And I do think this one should be addressed.

So to anyone reading this comment, regardless of your personal opinion, I'd like to thank you for caring enough to express it.

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

I agree with you. SO glad Amazon came to their senses and pulled it. I'm with you, when it comes to child safety and illegal actions against a child...it's a no brainer. Let them peddle their filth elsewhere. Amazon and other businesses have choices and they should always keep that in mind.

Mercy D'souza said...

How could anyone want to let a book like that get published, much less sold, is beyond me. Enough children get sexually abused without having someone promote it like this. Saying that this person has a right to free speach on this topic is like saying you condone it. What will we have next, books by murdurers teaching people how to murder, all being printed in the name of free speach.
I think the book should be banned, the author investigated to see if he is writing from first-hand experience (and imprisioned if he has abused any child in any way). I think that any person who has even one count of child sexual abuse against them should be imprisioned without paroll. Why do we want such people to be walking the streets? What if your child is the next victim? No child should ever have to suffer abuse of any kind.

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