You know, normally, when someone protests a book or a movie, it really gets on my nerves, because first of all, you don’t have to read or watch it if it’s not your cup of tea, and also because protesting something usually equals advertising for it. And frequently, it’s just obnoxious and shrill.
But this isn’t a men’s magazine cover with the cast of Glee on it, it’s that unbelievable book called The Pedophile’s Guide to Something Or Other – I don’t know, my mind blocked it out like a Lovecraftian monster and frankly, I don’t want it back.
Fortunately I don’t need it back, since fellow writer, old-school romantic, and all-around awesome person Kimberly Kinrade has already covered this topic thoroughly. Just go check out her blog and read for yourself. All I’m going to do here is cheer for her – it’s easier that way, you know.
Kimberly is one of the people who led the charge against Amazon last week. Digitally speaking, she was mad as hell, and she wasn’t going to take it anymore, and she was most certainly not alone. A small army arose and within days, Amazon – after first apparently defending the book on the grounds of free speech or something – came to its senses and removed it.
Sure, it’s likely that without the uproar, not very many people would have heard of the book, but you know who would have? Anyone who searched Amazon for a pedophile manual, that’s who. And the rest of us wouldn’t have known they were searching for it, or that they had found one – a real book that’s all about how to minimize jail sentences and avoid getting caught, if you’re a pedophile.
Of course, there were voices of dissent – it’s free speech, after all, right? Well, I don’t know – I’m not a lawyer. And I don’t care, either, because I’m still not a lawyer.
The main thing is, it’s like when the Klan exercises its right to assembly. Sure, they have the right to do that, but like I said before, anyone wants to roll in there and beat the living crap out of them for it, well I’m not going to stand up and fight for the white supremacists. I’d have a weird blind spot suddenly, and probably a nice comfy chair with a solid view.
As for free speech, there’s a big difference between speaking and being distributed on Amazon. The Constitution does not guarantee us all the right to distribute whatever we say on Amazon. It might be Amazon’s policy to distribute all forms of books, but policies change. It’s easy. Just add – “except pedophilia manuals” and call for a shareholder vote.
This guy wants to stand on the street corner reading his oozing blister of a book aloud, then I’ll bet he’s within his rights, and I’d be all for him, since it would most likely get him a savage beating. Free speech is awesome when you’re in backhand range.
I do worry slightly about all the free publicity the book received – and so does Kimberly. A lot of pedophiles got to hear about an instruction manual they didn’t know existed before.
And the word is, only a single copy had been sold before the controversy, then a lot of them were sold to journalists who were covering the controversy. Well, you know the cool thing here is, let’s just take a look at the current list of buyers, then let’s cross off anyone who’s a journalist, then let’s hand the remaining names to Dexter. Tell him to have a blast – I’m about one third serious here.
I mean sure, from a strictly intellectual perspective, I can almost get my mind around the idea that this guy has the right to produce and distribute his horrific book, and that people have the right to buy it. Almost.
It’s just that I don’t go around being intellectual about everything. If you attempt to harm one of my children, for example, you are not likely to get an intellectual response from me.
So even if this disgusting creature’s book is protected by free speech, I say so what? Look the other way, Constitution, we’re going to slap down this loudmouthed pedophile real quick, and I mean it.
Is it a slippery slope? I don’t care. Where do I draw the line? Well, apparently at pedophilia – call me crazy.
I understand that Amazon doesn’t want to start a precedent for removing books that offend people, but again, even a robot or a Vulcan could look at this coldly and without emotion and see the clear and present danger of it. It’s not about being offended.
Imagine the book was called The Terrorist’s Guide To Beating Airport Security – I have to think the feds show up and toss the guy in a cell.
Do pedophiles have the right to free speech? Well, I suppose so, just like anyone else. But grabbing a pedophile by the scruff of the neck and screaming “SHUT THE HELL UP!” at him – I’m going to go ahead and count that as free speech, too.
Later, calmer: Amazon and the Ghost of Thomas Jefferson