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Why I Boycotted Amazon This Week


Nov 12 2010
When it comes to how-to books for pedophiles, defending the defenseless is more important than defending free speech.

I jumped on a bandwagon Wednesday. I was one of the thousands who tweeted out against Amazon.com's decision to carry on its Kindle store the e-book The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover's Code of Conduct.

According to Philip R. Greaves II, his self-published book would "make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow." Greaves hoped "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."

Ah, lovely. This book, for sale at the same place I regularly order Christmas gifts for my own children. The ones this guy would probably want to molest, albeit "safely," thereby receiving a "liter" sentence for doing so were he caught. I don't think so.

So, even though I love Amazon, even though my own book is sold there, and even though I'm grateful Amazon gives us writers a chance to be read and critiqued and ranked, I joined the masses in an "#amazonfail" Twitter campaign. While others called for boycotts and aggressively shamed the company, I simply tweeted, "Glad to have ordered the new Wimpy Kid from @Borders. @Amazon, pull that pedophilia book! #amazonfail"

But even though my words didn't scathe or scare, I wrestled with what I had written. With what I was asking Amazon to do. As a lifelong lover of books and language and ideas, I seemed to be joining the ranks of the old-school book burners, of those who took offense to a word or an image or an idea and moved to ban it from public discourse. But now, instead of burning a barrel of books on the library steps (I'm imagining that scene from Footloose), we were burning virtual books on Twitter.

A friend's Facebook comment made me wonder further about what I had tweeted: "There is a freedom of speech issue here. Even when you don't agree with something is it worth having it banned/removed?"

His comment came on Veteran's Day. No small irony, since it's a humbling day when I pray for the men and women who risk and have risked their lives so that I can write and say whatever I want (except "Fire!" in theaters, of course), so that I can voice my opinions without fear of being jailed, so that I can write books or articles or stories no matter how offensive they may be to others.

But as I read my friend's question of, "Is it worth it?" my heart and head said, "Yes." With this book—an instruction manual for child molesters—yes.

Related Topics:Abuse; Children; Internet

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Why I Boycotted Amazon This Week