When I first heard about the pedophilia how-to book, The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure by Philip R. Greaves, being sold as a self-published book on Amazon for Kindle, I was shocked. Horrified.
I kept thinking: It’s a guide on how to perpetuate abuse. How to hurt children and get a lighter sentence.
Seriously. Here’s the about the book blurb:
This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught.
Because I firmly believe that pedophilia is not about sex at all but about abuse and power. So I KNEW how I felt.
And then Amazon sent variations of this statement to several inquiries (I don’t know if it’s OFFICIAL though):
Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.
So then I started thinking. And here are my questions:
- Does Amazon sell the original Anarchist’s Cookbook? Because I want to be sure that censorship isn’t just being thrown around here, and when I searched Amazon’s site, I could only find an updated (read: less dangerous) version. What about a how-to book on blowing up the Pentagon? Would that be okay?
- If we (and by we, I mean the collective outpouring of #amazonfail and #boycottamazon going on in the Internets) are successful in getting this book pulled, what about Lolita? Because I haven’t read the how-to pedophilia book, but I have read Lolita and it’s not exactly an anti-pedophile book. Is fiction different? What about a pedophile’s auto-biography? Are we educated readers who can discern between filth and writing or do we need Amazon to do it for us? And should Amazon, the biggest online seller of books, do it for us?
- If the FBI can track downloads of this book (and my quite paranoid self believes they can), is it okay then? In fact, maybe it’s PURPOSEFULLY on there and we just ruined a sting op. All right, the last sentence is a bit far-fetched but after reading this post by someone who actually read the how-to book in question, it’s not a bad idea.
So there you have it. More questions. And I haven’t taken my Kindle ad down nor have I stopped being an Amazon affiliate yet. Although I chose to not link to Amazon at all in this post out of respect for those who are boycotting. (FYI: I have made no money on my Amazon affiliation and have considered removing it before this controversy. Not that it’s really the point of this post, but just so I don’t get accused (again) of having ulterior motives.)
I did take the opportunity to discuss my son’s private areas and why they are private. And I have always encouraged my children to have autonomy over their bodies. If they don’t want to kiss or hug me or someone else, I don’t force or guilt-trip them into it.
I also give to our local domestic violence shelter and at various times have spoken out against ingrained cultural behaviors that condone and/or normalize sexualization of children and abusive situations.
I, of course, find the book appalling. But I wonder: Is forcing Amazon to take it down really a solution? Or is this just another opportunity for us to pat ourselves on the back while doing nothing in our real lives to create safe places for our children?
Do we have more important work to do than take down some advertisements?
PS. These really are questions. If I had the answers, I would give them to you. More importantly, if you want help talking to your children about their bodies, here is one resource from the AAP. Or email me and I can talk to you about how we do it.