professornana (professornana) wrote,

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As some of you may know, there has been outrage over AMAZON's offering of a self-published book about pedophilia on their web site. Many have called for the removal of the book. And many have asked for a boycott of AMAZON. I have been mulling this all over since the kerfluffle began (maybe kerfluffle is the wrong word as I do NOT mean to have anyone think this is not a major issue/event).

On the one hand, I am absolutely appalled by the fact that someone has a book telling other pedophiles how to skirt laws while they molest children (shuddering even as I write this). I would be appalled about any book that describes harming children or exhorting violence against a race or ethnicity or group of any kind. Will I boycott Amazon for being so mealy-mouthed while it defends its practice (especially given that it somehow lost a ton of LQBTQ titles just last year from its inventory)? Sure. I already boycott other chains for their political contributions to Tea Party candidates or their refusal to carry certain books, CDs, etc. Boycotting is one of those lovely ways of voting with your money.

Now, here is the other hand, the one shaking as I type this into the journal. Is asking for the removal of a book, even one so heinous, censorship? I don't know. But it feels like censorship. It feels that way because I can see other folks using the same set of reasons I have (objectionable materials) to challenge other titles. I think of books such as Barry Lyga's BOY TOY, a book that upset me no end because it is about a teacher who seduces and has sex with a student. I find the very idea of a teacher preying on kids morally reprehensible. Lyga's book centers on this boy, now a young man in high school. He is struggling with his feelings about the entire episode despite counseling and all the other wonderfully good things his parents did to help him after the fact. Ditto a book like R. A. Nelson's TEACH ME (same topic). These books disturb me. But so did Cormier's books (especially THE RAG AND BONE SHOP). Yet, I would defend these books as important for some teens to find and read and talk about.

And then today I was asked to talk to a reporter about Agatha Christie's book now called AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. I had read it under its second title, TEN LITTLE INDIANS but was unaware it was originally called TEN LITTLE NIGGERS. Unfortunately, I was late answering the request to speak to the reporter. But it still gave me pause for reflection.And I am still reflecting. No easy answers here. I did write before about the two sided nature of SpeakLoudly. I defend the books I think are essential, but I also have to defend things I might find repugnant, too. Things that make you go hmmmmm.....
Tags: speakloudly
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