Vampires, Belinda, and Pedophiles oh My!
November 12, 2010 societyNo, I don't mean the one with sparkling vampires (well, okay, I'll get there eventually). The one that was on sale at Amazon that advocated pedophilia. (Background)
In case you didn't know, the book's been taken down. A search for the title gives you very nice safe titles such as "Predators and Princesses: The Internet Safety Guide for Parents" or "Sex Offenders and the Internet".
I'm commenting because there's a few points that seem to have been missed - and also because it directly relates to putting your own work up on Amazon (or other related stores), and that's something I've been talking about for months.
The book violated Amazon's own policies and (apparently) included instructions on how to commit illegal acts. There are already rules in place to deal with this; once Amazon (and perhaps relevant authorities) were notified, the internet flashmob was irrelevant.
It also sets a crappy precedent. Realistically, "boycotting Amazon" when the book was first noticed is kind of silly. You absolutely should point violations out to Amazon and give them a chance to investigate it. But boycotting them for it simply being up there? Hell no.
Why? Do you really think someone reads every submission? Of course not - and the TOS makes the author (or publisher) liable, not Amazon. But as consumers, we have to give the retailer time to investigate the claim. Otherwise anybody could point to *any* book they didn't care for and have it taken down. Why, I think that Glenn Beck book offends me. Amazon could investigate the claim, see that Mr. Beck's book doesn't violate the TOS, and things carry on relatively fairly.
If, on the other hand, the book did violate their TOS and they still didn't remove it, then that would be a reason to question the seller. Which brings me to my last point - a sort of meta-commentary on the whole affair.
Why is this guy getting so much outrage compared to the damage other works will end up causing?
Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches trilogy has a young teenage woman seducing a forty-year old man. Her book Belinda is explicitly about an illegal teen/adult romance? 1 Both of these have been available for at least two decades with no real outrage.
Put simply, nobody who isn't already a pedophile was going to start abusing children because of a self-published guide to pedophilia. Reading a book that celebrates a ephebophilic relationship (yes, you should know the difference) might just blur the lines between pedophilia, ephebophilia, and a consenting adult relationship.
Or, put another way, how many pre-teen and teenage women now think that having a guy break into their room and watching them sleep is romantic instead of f'ing creepy stalker behavior? From this site (among many, many, many others) came these two quotes that really just scare me.
But the truth is [Edward Cullen] became a stalker because he loves Bella. And Bella loves him. Isn't that what counts most of all?
I also think Edward is a stalker. But he could stalk me any time. Lol.
Given that an overwhelming majority of sexual assault survivors (both those assaulted as children and adults) know the assailant, I have to wonder why we're more worried about some asshat's unread self-published book than the millions of people being told that much more common behaviors are not only okay, but signs of "true love". I've had more than one female friend who endured sexual, emotional, and physical abuse because of twisted ideas about "love". Seeing them praised in bestsellers and on movie screens sickens me.
Yes, stop child sexual abuse. Absolutely.
At the same time, let's pay a little more attention to what we're celebrating and holding up as "good role models".
1 I only cite these two because I'm aware of them and they come to mind. Feel free to leave your own examples in the comments.