Thanks to Amanda, who posted about this last night, I too have been observing the Amazon controversy. And I am outraged - though not in the sense everyone else is. If you don't know what's been going on, here's a short version for you: Amazon was peddling a book entitled The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child Lover's Code of Conduct by Phillips Greaves. Here's what was in the product description:
"This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain 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 sentences should the ever be caught."
The whole nation outraged, people started boycotting Amazon via Twitter (hashtag #amazonfail), Facebook (groups such as Boycott Amazon for Selling Pedophile Guide) and finally Amazon itself, via reviews. At the same time, defenders (of sorts) have spoken, with comments mocking the protester's shock ("It eliminates the need for candy and a van", says a commenter on Facebook). Finally, the book was pulled.
Here comes the part where I tell you what I think, but not before I make it perfectly clear that I am not a pedophile and do not condone pedophiles. In fact, I think it's cowardly and disgusting. I'm all for whatever two consensual adults wanna do together, even if it seems disgusting to me. However, pedophilia, rape, necrophilia and other situations where it's not consensual and/or not between two adults are not okay.
That being said, I think that this is most likely much ado about nothing. First of all, I couldn't find any information about this book, and I've looked. Nothing! No synopsis, no reviews. Sure, it's entitled A Pedophiles Guide, but that does not mean anything. Is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy really what it says in the title? Perhaps this is a big case of judging the book by its cover. Secondly, there is the issue of the author - the name is obviously a pseudonym, Google is no help, and the only thing we know about him is what he posted (quoted above). And this could very well be a marketing trick.
Finally, the issue of censorship. After Amazon pulled the book, I am a bit disappointed. Does this mean that now all the books by Marquis de Sade (especially 120 Days of Sodom) will be pulled as well? And then the movie version? And what about A Single Man and Lolita? If these books and movies get pulled, that will be the biggest #amazonfail of them all.