Well. I had a different post in mind for today, but, given the news of the moment, this is what you're getting instead...
If you were anywhere near the internet today, you probably know about the controversy regarding Amazon selling an e-book on their Kindle site that is essentially a "how-to" guide for Pedophiles. This work (which I'm not going to name here, nor will I link it, I won't promote it here on my blog - you can find it easily on the net) is not a joke. It was self-published, which you can do via Amazon's Kindle site. They do have rules about content, which clearly state that material found objectionable would include anything that promoted illegal acts or activity, and also state that they have discretion about what they will allow to be sold on the site.
Last time I checked, child rape was illegal in this country, so, I'm a little confused as to how Amazon can defend their choice to sell the material given their own guidelines. I suppose they also have discretion over whether or not they will follow them.
As you can imagine, the social media sites were awash in a sea of outrage over this. Twitter was on it all day. I found out myself via Facebook this morning and re-posted to my own friends. News outlets were contacted, stories written, Amazon is in the hot seat. Their response might surprise you. I know it surprised me. They will not be pulling the book from their site. Yes, really. Amazon's position is that while they don't support illegal acts, they also support freedom of speech and the freedom of their customers to choose not to purchase it. Ok. But, by allowing this man to PROFIT off a guide to raping children, are they not supporting this? They as well will make money from it, as I read that they get 60% of the profits from the sales off the self-published works on the Kindle site. They are profiting from people learning how to commit what is, a crime, a despicable, incomprehensible, crime.
Would they sell a book that was a step-by-step guide on how to carefully dismember your neighbor and hide the body parts so you never get caught? I don't think they would. Would they sell a book that was a step-by-step guide to making crystal meth? No. So why is it ok that they are selling this? It's not.
It really isn't. No matter how you spin it, play the freedom of speech card, play the censorship is bad card, play the you can choose not to buy it card, play any card you want, the fact of the matter is, this is simply, wrong. We are not talking about political, religious, racial or sexual differences of opinion here, we are talking about something that IS illegal, and horrifying. Are they really that concerned about alienating their pedophilic consumers??? How big a market can that be, Amazon? What I do know is they have succeeded in alienating an enormous number of their customers by defending the sale of this book. I am one of them.
I hate Amazon for this.
I have been a die-hard Amazon shopper for many, many years. They are the cornerstone of all of my holiday shopping. They are fast, efficient, customer service is always good - at least it has been for me - and they have almost anything you need. Perfect for someone who like me, finds going shopping with Josh in tow, not always easy, or even doable. They ship, they gift wrap, I can't tell you how much money I have spent there over the years, but it's a hell of a lot, I can tell you that. Oh yes, did I mention that they are my source for all of Josh's Blue's Clues books? They are the only place I can get them, aside from e-Bay, but sellers on e-Bay ask too much for the really old ones that are his favorites, Amazon has been a Godsend for this. And let's not forget Zappos. My favorite online store, where I have purchased every pair of shoes for the boys and I for at least 7 years now, if not a bit longer. They are now owned by Amazon.
But now I hate Amazon.
Therein lies my dilemma. I cannot and will not ever be ok with their selling this book. I don't want to give any more of my money to a company that is profiting from the sale of such a thing. But how am I going to get Josh his books? I can probably deal with not doing all my other holiday or assorted purchases there, but I can't get the books anywhere else. I suppose I'm stuck with bidding on e-Bay. But not for the really important ones, I won't spend over $100 for a book that is going to get destroyed. How am I supposed to deprive my son of the things he loves most, my son whose life revolves around these books and this show, how am I supposed to reconcile this? I honestly don't know. Zappos is the other question. Not the same people, but, all said and done, at the end of the day, the money is going to Amazon. I don't even know where to find the shoes I get for the boys if I don't use Zappos any more. And again, the convenience and speed they afford is priceless for me as my hands are full with the Toadie.
So what do I do? How do I appease my conscience and my sense of morality while still doing what I need to do for Josh and keeping my life as stress-free as I can aside from what I can't control?
All I can say right now is fuck-you, Amazon. Child-rapist supporting bastards.
Now, if you'd like a far more objective read on this, head on over here http://backpackingdad.com/2010/11/censorship-storefronts-and-publishing-the-amazonfail/ it's a great post, the kind I'd write if I were less... me.... about things.
As of a short time ago, Amazon pulled the book.
Score 1 for not being complete assholes. It's going to take a while for me to forgive them, though. The fact that it took such a massive public outcry over something that shouldn't have taken them more than a second to think about bothers me.
But at least it's down.