Thursday, November 11, 2010

The price of freedom is dealing with the nastiness.

**Any comments that attack me directly about this post will be deleted. I know its ironic considering want I am ranting about. And I refuse to print the title of the book, because it is free publicity. **

I was going to wait until Monday to post this. I have to rant.

Yesterday, under public pressure Amazon pulled a self published book off it's listing. Because of the subject matter.  Unfortunately I have to take everything I hear about that book, on hearsay, because I never saw the listing. And a lot of the people that complained, also did not see the listing. I am sure some people did look further and my rant is not with them.

This rant is for a particular group of people, read on.

When you publish with Createspace, they  have you sign a Terms of Service agreement. Which means they will not publish certain items. This book did fall into that violation. I think if Amazon would have pulled it earlier, the furor would not have been so bad.

But there is a bigger picture (actually two points) that is making my stomach turn.

A lot of authors, just helped censor a book. Read that sentence again. Authors helped censor a book. The very people that should defend anyones right to free expression, screamed and hollered and got the book taken down. I don't care what the subject matter was, I don't care how vile it was. Because there are a lot of books out there that are just as bad in someone elses mind.

Let me let you in on a little fact. Any book that has been written will offend someone.

But that was a horrible, gross, disgusting, illegal subject, it's not the same.

Let me give you some titles, and you decide.

Mein Kamf: Hitler's autobiography and political philosophy
Lolita:   A man's obsession with a 12 year old girl
The Turner Diaries: A diary about a violent take over of the United States government, Timothy McViegh was reportedly influenced by the book.
The Joy of Gay Sex: The title explains it all

Now it turns out the author wanted all the free publicity he could get. He got it.

Maybe some of you have never dealt with this first hand like I have. I had just started to work in retail. Harry Potter the first movie was coming out on DVD. I was setting up the display.
Suddenly this woman is in front of me. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING PUTTING UP THAT EVIL THING?"

She screamed at me. She did not want our store to sell that book or movie that promoted witchcraft, and devil worship, and child abuse. I tried to back away from her, but she kept on me.

Was she delusional? No, her entire church had started a campaign to stop the sale of the DVD (obviously it failed). In her mind, Harry Potter is just as bad as "the book"

Here is the other: "You see, this is why we should not have self published books, the publishing houses won't allow such filth."
That list of four books, not one of them was self publish. Small press maybe, but not self published.

Do I find that subject matter of that book horrible? Yes.
Do I think Amazon did the right thing? Only if they pulled it because of the Terms of Service, not because of censorship.
Would I ever want a book banned or boycott the place that sell it? No.

All you authors out there that were promoting Banned Book Week and then wanted this book taken down. Look at yourself in the mirror.  Do YOU really understand what censorship is?

Everyone has a right to free expression. No matter how uncomfortable, horrible, stupid, gross, disgusting, evil it may be.  

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