Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter's Over! Time to Think About Censorship!

I have just gotten wind of the internet dust-up over Amazon's decision (a/k/a "glitch") to remove gay and lesbian literature from its search features and sales rankings . . . uh, I mean, pro-gay and lesbian literature . . . because it qualifies as "adult" literature. Apparently the "how to cure your homosexual child" gay and lesbian stuff is still searchable and ranked.

But Brokeback Mountain is off limits.

And as I understand it, Amazon still SELLS all the titles (not to mention some pretty darn "adult" items in the merchandise section). They just don't want to admit it, or treat them equally.

Don't get me started on how difficult it is to determine what's "adult" literature these days. Gravity's Rainbow, anyone? Anything by Sidney Sheldon? I've seen conflicting reports about whether Lady Chatterly's Lover is excluded or included, but Lolita is still ranked.

If you somehow have missed all this (too much chocolate, perhaps?), I urge you to do some research and weigh in. This open letter to Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, president, CEO and chairman of the board, is a good place to begin.

Now, technically, this isn't censorship, because it isn't government action. But it's definitely something to think about before you hit that Purchase with One Click button. When you buy from Amazon, you're supporting its policies, plain and simple, and perhaps you're okay with this particular approach. I just think you should know where Amazon is coming from. After that, you're on your own.

On a more personal scale, a friend of mine with a strong moral sense recently confessed to an infatuation with her new Kindle. It's only linked to Amazon, though, right? The current center of the discrimination universe? Uh-oh. I see a dilemma coming on.

5 comments:

  1. It is such a terrible dilemma, they were doing some fairly questionable stuff over Xmas to make sure that everything shipped out....and now this. My only problem is it is really the only good source for books here....

    aaahhhggghhhhhhh.

    What to do.

    The kids just don't read? It is so hard. So many other groups won't ship to Europe, and honestly, don't have the titles, and there is only so much we can carry back each summer....

    hating the situation.

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  2. Luckily I can keep my love for my Kindle and my moral integrity intact.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/163024/hacker_claims_credit_for_amazons_gaythemed_book_glitch.html

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  3. I hate censorship. Certainly they can do anything they want. I just wish they wouldn't. It's such an afront to the creative process that is literature.

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  4. I've been reading various articles about this all day, one of which claimed it was some sort of unintended "glitch." Oh yeah. Sure!

    Shame on them. Things hardly ever shock me, but this action by Amazon does.

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  5. Not sure we will ever get to the bottom of this one, y'all. I think I will remain suspicious, no matter what explanation Amazon eventually gives.

    This almost makes me glad I don't have a Kindle. One less thing to worry about! :-)

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