I find the very idea of The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct repulsive and morally reprehensible. I’m sickened by the fact that it exists. And yet, I defend Amazon’s right to sell it.
Sierra, you say that you “certainly don’t want Amazon to be bullied into deleting a book every time a special interest group gets a hate on for one of their titles. And yet isn’t this exactly what you and other bloggers are suggesting?
I realize that Amazon is a private company and, as such, can decide what books they want to sell. But I’d rather that they err on the side of freedom of speech. Let the consumers decide for themselves.
“If you want to test someone’s belief in freedom of speech, the easiest way is to bring up something morally abhorrent — topics such as the defence of pedophilia, incest, the denial of the Holocaust, and so on,” writes Matthew Ingram at GigaOm. “Freedom from censorship is an important principle, despite the fact that it is hard to support when it involves such material.”
Like Ingram, I hope that Amazon doesn’t bow to public pressure regarding this disgusting book. It will only be encouraging others to protest books that they find offensive or repulsive. If we start to remove books because people find them offensive, then where do we draw the line? As Sierra points out, Amazon also sells books by Holocaust deniers.
I’m not alone in believing that Amazon is right in deciding not to drop the book from its site.
“Has anyone actually read the book?” one poster asked in an “Amazon is Right” forum. “Its like Hitler just took over and its time for a book burning. This is modern society jumping to conclusions before they even take the time to open the cover.”
Another poster points out that words don’t equal actions. “Would you keep Nabokov’s masterpiece ‘Lolita’ in the book burning bin because it describes an illegal activity?”
The real irony is that until this morning — when word about the book spread through the Internet — it had only sold one copy. It’s now #158,221 in the Kindle Store. All of this moral outrage has only served to create publicity for this sickening book.
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