Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Posting early, today

I got pointed to this FaceBook page --!/amazoncensors

-- and it seems I'm not the only one having issues with Amazon's censorship, or its haphazard application of it.  And something they reminded me of -- the sex, violence and how incest is portrayed positively at one point in the Bible (Lot's daughters getting him drunk so they can make babies) -- so even though this book violates their guidelines, do you seriously think Amazon's going to pull it?

Though one e-mail I got asked why I was concerned.  The books are still available at Barnes and Noble and the publisher hasn't paid me a penny in royalties and probably never will, so it's his revenue that's been cut off.  And he's got a point...but I'm a freak on the First Amendment.  I got to ranting on blogs about Amazon dropping WikiLeaks from their hosting and how no one's going after the "NY Times" and the "UK Guardian" and Der Speigel" for publishing WAY more of the leaked cables than WikiLeaks has.  I hate censorship, period, and have even hurt friendships over it.

There was one stupid little sitcom announced on UPN or something about 10-12 years ago called "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer", about the goings-on in the Lincoln White House as detailed by his black British butler.  Apparently, word got out that the first episode of the show had a lynching in it and the black activists became outraged and demanded the show be yanked because it was a comedy and not being treated seriously.  It turned out the "lynching" was an execution in England of some (probably) white criminals and happens in the background as Desmond is heading for his ship.  African Americans held protests and called the show racist, all without having seen it.  I got into some arguments with black friends, online, because what they were advocating was censorship.  Their response was, "Nobody's guaranteed a TV show in the First Amendment to the Constitution."

Well...yes, we are, if that is how we choose to say something.  And we can pay for it (you're not guaranteed funding, THAT is true).  And it hurt some relationships.  And what's really silly about the whole thing is, the show was AWFUL.  Lincoln was into having sex by telegraph code.  Mary Lincoln was a shrill, arrogant twit.  Grant was a non-stop drunk (which I hear MAY actually have been true).  ALL the Anglos in the film were nut cases and freaks and vile, despicable human beings.  The black butler was the only intelligent, decent person in it.  And it wasn't even funny.  I watched the first broadcast episode and cut it off halfway through, I couldn't take anymore.  And the show was yanked after just 5-6 episodes (it would've been yanked after 2 if there hadn't been protests, it was so bad).

My points being, censorship is A. bad; B. pointless and C. backfires nine times out of ten.  So it's not acceptable in any way form or fashion (so long as you are not calling for the direct harm of people, like screaming "Fire" in a crowded theater...or calling for the execution of people who've committed no some of our leaders have suggested should be done to Julian Assange).

There isn't a lot I can do against a behemoth like Amazon -- they're the proverbial 800 pound gorilla and I'm just an ant on a blade of grass -- but that don't mean I can't sting the bastard.  And I'm gonna.

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