I should be in bed, but instead I’m wide awake and feeling extremely agitated. Why? The Pedophiles’ Guide to Sex and Pleasure, that’s why. I’m not upset so much about the book itself as I am by the reactions that all of kinds of intelligent, rational people made to it. I’m frustrated even more that I am writing a defense of discussions on this particular topic, mainly because the book is so shoddily written. Even reading the description and spotting the obvious typos, my first thought was, “That schmuck needs an editor in the worst way.” For the moment setting aside the actual content of the book, I want talk about how people reacted to this bombshell with the dreaded P word in the name. Bear in mind that I’m speaking as somebody who was a victim and a perpetrator of the cycle, and who is an author of fiction with controversial topics.
At the top of my list of objections to this moral outrage is for the blankets statement, “All child porn is illegal!” But if it was always a crime to depict minors having sex in text, Stephen King would not have IT on shelves. He would have gone to prison right after his publisher turned him in for writing the underground orgy. And yet, before the Internet boomed, I was able to obtain a copy of IT at twelve from a public library. (I mean I loaned it out directly too, so they knew who was going to read it.) Actually, you can even blame King for the same kind of controversial content in my stories. After I read IT, I said, “I want to write something just like that!” Even so, I never expected an apology from King for “enabling me.”
You can also add Anne Rice and Piers Anthony to the list of authors who have published stories with underage characters having sex. Piers has the record among the three for writing an explicit scene with a five-year-old girl and a child molester. Nobody is calling for Firefly to be pulled from Amazon, and no one is calling for Piers to be arrested. (Though I have heard and read some pretty dirty things said about the man in “polite company”) But people are calling for the arrest of this guy over his ill-formed abstract opinion because this time, “it’s a really, really bad book!” Trust me, Piers’ book was really, really bad. So if you’re going to ban one book, you might as well ban the other, and for the same reason that it might inspire a normal person to commit a crime.
Some of you have said, “But that’s fiction. This is different because it’s non-fiction.” No, not as long as it’s still just an abstract discussion. Yes, I know it irks you that so many freaks are thinking about your kids, but telling them not to talk about it online doesn’t mean they stop doing it. It just means that you no longer have a clear idea of who NOT to hire as an emergency sitter. You let your governments develop the biggest behavioral tracking database in our solar system (try to find something more impressive on Mars) and yet you keep telling the predators not to register themselves publicly online? Why? Do you prefer if they meet your kids by cell phone?
I’m not morally opposed to you tracking self-professed sexual predators online either. If they’re willing to make it public information, who’s to say the government doesn’t have the right to hold on to that information for a later date? And further, once said person does cross a line in a chat room or even worse, in person, couldn’t that online evidence then be used to show intent? Why yes, I believe that as far as the network is structured now, this would be a great way of catching active predators. Pity, every time these people start up a not-so-private club online, you go and shut it down before many people can register and expose themselves. Do you really think your straight son is going to get on the Internet one night because he’s suddenly in the mood to check out NAMBLA? No? Not likely? But damn, wouldn’t it be easy for Uncle Sam to keep tabs on these guys if they just had their own Facebook? The predators can call it whatever they like, but when one of them actually commits a crime, the cops can call it Mugbook.
The second thing sticking in my craw is people trotting out the “Fire in a movie theater” defense. That is, this man is committing a crime by stirring a ruckus. Nice, but this guy wasn’t exactly mass marketing his book before you showed up. However many of you blogged on this book, mass marketing to have it taken down as a a menace to all of society. By shouting over and over that a crime was committed, you’ve become the ones shouting child rape in a crowded Amazon. But of course, despite the potential for lost revenue on Amazon’s part, no one will punish you. In fact, you can make Amazon take down just about any product using the same tactic. They have a historical precedent for caving in on every policy decision they’ve made over the last two years. Go ahead, find another pedophile book and take a whack at it. They’ll cave on that one too. But by raising a stink like this, you’re the one constantly shouting rape in a virtual business where no actual rape can ever take place.
My third problem is the biggest, because I see people saying, “Oh, this isn’t about censorship at all. But the person who wrote this should be arrested and sent away.” Okay, I’ll go along with the concept that boycotting the book out of commercial and public distribution is not necessarily censorship, but how is it not censorship when you’re willing to arrest a guy for saying, “I think pedophiles should adopt a certian (his word, not mine) code of ethics and, like, not be so rampantly evil”? The book is supposedly about setting up a dialogue with the kids so that they understand what’s going on, and have a chance to back out and say no. While I think that’s EXTREMELY misguided, (meaning, I think it’s a Bad Idea) it is just one guy’s opinion on a sensitive topic. Being that he himself was a part of the cycle, I believe he meant this as a genuine effort at helping further a discussion that no one else wants to have. (Even if the topic really, really needs to be brought out of the dark.)
Hell, it’s not even a radical opinion he’s espousing. Wouldn’t it be great if pedophiles WERE ethical and admitted what they wanted instead of, say, working secretly for the Boy Scouts of America? Or for Toy R’ Us? Or at bible schools? Or in public school districts as teachers? This doesn’t even cover the uncles, cousins of various ages, or the babysitters, none of whom have any intentions of behaving ethically whether this book was on Amazon’s shelves or not. The real predators don’t need a book advising them how to rape kids.
But if you think I’m wrong, you need to keep working over Amazon for their other inappropriate titles. Because there are other books still on their site with the exact same content. Don’t stop boycotting and pat yourselves on the back just because you got rid of one objectionable voice from the supply chain. You should start actively searching Amazon using the word pedophile. Make it your daily word witch hunt. Amazon does not have great editing standards in selecting products, so the price of your relative “online safety” is eternal paranoia. Force them to stop selling everything you object to, and you will successfully ensure that the problem with sex predators…remains underground where you can’t trace it. You aren’t accomplishing a thing with this global shaming campaign for one book. You just convince more active predators to keep quiet rather than come forward and seek help.
And frankly, who would want to seek help from a school of piranha thirsting for the chance to devour them and shit them into a cell for a lifetime of prison rape and experimental drugs? Woohoo, no humans right violations there! But after all, it’s not like they’re former sex abuse victims being forced into legalized rape fantasies for the moral majority to feel good about. No! They’re the worlds’ only “real vampire,” the only monster which polite society cannot rationally discuss without freaking right the fuck out and overreacting.
I’m the crazy one. I hear voices and admit it. So I shouldn’t have to be telling sane people to calm down. And I sure as hell shouldn’t have to say it on this topic. Hell, I feel unclean as I close this damn post out.