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Amazon's Accidental Fatwa

I wonder when the overlords of Amazon.com (or maybe mere hackers) will realize that my punk wrestling memoir, Beer, Blood and Cornmeal, deals with GLBT themes? I mean it has gay characters and parodies of gay characters. It also has a pic of a man’s wiener reproduced in full color (IE: He Who Cannot Be Named of the Dwarves in all of his public and pubic glory). As of right now my bestselling book is still ranked. It even cracked the wrestling book top 20 for the first time in a month or so. Of course Amazon would never think that a book on pro wrestling could possibly be gay.

Over the weekend, Amazon.com deranked a wide range of books by gay or lesbian authors and books with GLBT themes. Amazon basically classified the offending materials (many of them sci fi books with gay themes) as pornography, making them harder to find with regular Amazon searches. They deranked David Gerrold’s Martian Child for some strange reason even though the film adaptation of the book (with John Cusak) shows up on HBO Family(!) all the time, but they left his 1970s time travel opus The Man Who Folded Himself alone. In The Man Who Folded Himself, the main character creates alternate versions of himself though time displacement and ends up having gay orgies with them. He later bends the time continuum so much, that he creates a female version of himself and knocks her up. I guess that must be what made everything okay with this book and whoever did this at Amazon--he eventually procreates.

This shows the stupidity of censorship: the censors don’t bother to read or understand what it is they are censoring. I would chuckle over this when I’m through being scared. Amazon already has a disproportionate effect on what does and doesn’t get published. If we allow them to monopolize books, both through moving old fashioned hardcopy and electronic books with their kindle, they will end up monopolizing ideas. Scary stuff for any of us, readers and writers alike, but even more so for someone with a guy with a book that prominently features El Homo Loco prancing around in a pink tutu and dry humping his opponents into submission.

Here's Salon.com's Broadsheet's take on this and a link to an interview with David Gerrold. Amazon's now claiming it was a hacker who did this evidently. Still, let's keep an eye on this megacorp.

Ironically, this blog is going to be reposted on Amazon.com via RSS.

El Homo Loco

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I have to buy the line about

I have to buy the line about there being some kind of glitch because otherwise such a move would be too bizarre and self-defeating. Any other proposed legitimate logic would make sense if this were 1979 or even 1989, but 2009 is quite a few years too late to expect anyone, regardless of individual sexual orientation, to agree with such a move.

 The only other factor that could make any sense at all to many would be if the titles in question were not identified because of theme but because of specific sexually graphic depictions. Except various comments around the net seem to  indicate that wasn't the case either. 


Founder of Creative Thinkers International
author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)

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Here's the latest on this from Salon. If this is true, it was Amazon and not a hacker:

Update: Jessica Valenti's editor at Seal Press, Brooke Warner, has spoken to an Amazon rep who told her it was neither glitch nor hack. In an e-mail to Valenti, Warner wrote, "Basically he said that amazon has been experimenting with the way they dole out content specifically so that people who are searching Harry Potter or whatever won't run into links to products that might be offensive... [T]his is mandated from their bosses, who essentially want to be Walmart.... also said no human is responsible for the decisions per se, and that it's all about tagging and feeds which are constantly being tweaked. He does think that amazon will retweak the tags based on the uproar that happened over the weekend." However, others remain convinced it's the work of outside shit-disturbers. Amazon, meanwhile, still hasn't apologized for the glitch/fail/hack/error, and I still find that totally baffling.