As an author, I understand the power of words, both as protest and as artistic tool. For this reason and also because I am an American, I am an ardent supporter of our constitutional right to free speech. However, part of the support of the First Amendment requires that I recognize when something is not a matter of free speech.
Take the latest Amazon.com uproar. The giant e-tailer carried a self-published e-book titled The Pedophile's Guide to Love & Pleasure that, according to author Phillip R. Greaves II, is a how-to manual. Once the title was discovered among Amazon.com's vast list of goods for sale (I have to wonder how, but that's another story), the product page became a protest site that extended to Facebook and beyond, and the story was picked up by the media Wednesday. Although the title has since been removed from Amazon.com, an official e-mail from the company initially claimed, "Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable."
Censorship? Really? To invoke the First Amendment in this case is disingenuous at best.
Read the rest of this op-ed on AOL News.
Thanks to Red Room and Executive Editor Gina Misiroglu for putting me in touch with the people at AOL. This kind of support for Red Room authors is exactly why this site is so relevant for writers and readers.
Causes Debbie Wesselmann Supports
The Jane Goodall Institute
Save the Chimps