The roar of the Internet, the smell of the torches. And pitchforks.
So, by now you’ve all heard about Amazon selling a book geared toward pedophiles and the resulting hubbub, right? No? Well, thank goodness I’m here. Let’s start at the beginning…
So, by now you’ve all heard about Amazon selling a book geared toward pedophiles and the resulting hubbub, right? No? Well, thank goodness I’m here. Let’s start at the beginning.
On Wednesday of last week, a well-known blogger got wind of the fact that Amazon.com had a sort of how-to guide for pedophiles listed in its Kindle store. The electronic book, The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover’s Code of Conduct, by Philip R. Greaves II, went on sale on October 28 and cost $4.79 to download.
The product description, as posted on the site:
“My attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian [sic] rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught.”
You can see why it’s so controversial. The spelling, right?
Both the blog world and Twitter developed a case of The Outrage and caught fire like an ant under a magnifying glass. Then the mainstream media came calling. That was like putting an Oprah’s Book Club sticker on the front of the virtual work.
In the nearly two weeks it had been for sale, the book had sold only one copy. But, then, Internet magic. If they’re not bandwagoning to save an ill child, they’re mobbing to rid the world of offensive material… and really boosting sales of said material. The book moved onto Amazon’s Bestseller list, working its way from #158,221 to #96 and garnering a few thousand negative “reviews” on the site. That’s a lot of attention to heap on something that most people want to go away. It’s like putting rocket fuel into Denzel’s runaway train, hoping the movie will end sooner.
And the book’s author doesn’t mind that rocket fuel one bit. Nor is he shying away from the media saying, “To a certain extent I wanted that kind of notoriety to affect the book. … I wanted it to effect [sic] sales.”
Well, duh. I’m pretty sure George W. Bush feels the same way right about now.
And Philip R. Greaves II has two MORE books listed on Amazon. The first, A Government Of Service To All: A Free Country Of Free People carries the obviously self-penned overview “A discripeion [sic] of the political realities that influence us all, including the right to gay marriage,the right of convicts to vote, the importance of the 14 amendment to our national constitution, and the value of the eighth amendment also.” The other, The Grand Delusion: What’s “God” Got To Do With It?, is described by the author as “An examination of man and his many notions of “God” with an aim toward disproving the existence of any universal intelengence [sic] of omnipotent creator.”
You guys! “Intelegence”!
I’m not saying that someone being a poor speller or desperately in need of an editor makes them less of a threat; I am saying that this was a way of giving someone who probably would not have had much of an audience the entire media for a day.
At first, Amazon stood their ground, responding to a concerned email with the following:
“Let me assure you that 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.”
Brave. Even though their own content guidelines state that “pornography, offensive material and titles which may lead to… illegal activity” are prohibited. Slippery slope, that pornography/offensive material thing. One person’s healthy bowel movement is another person’s pornography and goodness knows that there are people who choose to be offended by all sorts of things. “Illegal activity”, though, thankfully, is pretty clear-cut. Is it against the law? Then it’s against content guidelines.
Except The Anarchist Cookbook, a how-to guide to making bombs, is still for sale on Amazon.com while The Pedophile’s Guide is not. That’s right, the book has been pulled. For now. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong that Amazon caved to public pressure, I’m just saying that a little consistency would be nice. Perhaps they should add “…unless people are really, really mad. We mean ‘Dr. Phil talks about it on his show’ mad” to their guidelines.
So, the mob got what they wanted. Even though, with many of the incensed I encountered, they weren’t so much as offended, themselves, as offended that others were offended. Like a giant, downhill-rolling snowball made of other people’s shit. I believe this mentality is best summed up in the customer review just posted on one of Greaves’s other books, calling for Amazon to “Ban this author completely”. The thing is, I have a few friends who are survivors of pedophilia and basically they all said the same thing: “Stop giving credence to the crazy.” We have to ask ourselves who are we offended for?
A search for the book at Amazon.com now results in a 404 error and it has been replaced at #96 on the Amazon Bestseller list by Ken Follett’s A Dangerous Fortune. Ken Follett! SEE WHAT YOU DID, INTERNET?! Now I’m the one who’s mad. I think I’ll pen my outrage and throw it on Kindle for a few bucks. But you’d better believe I’m going to use spell check.
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