Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazon censorship

Amazon censors its own sales ranks, filtering out material that it considers might offend. This is, in itself, not unreasonable. What's alarming is that the criteria for exclusion seem very strange. Surely some easily implemented opt-out setting would make more sense.

Excluded are authors such as Annie Proulx (for Brokeback Mountain), Radclyffe Hall (The well of Loneliness), Jeanette Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit), and several books by Edmund White. In addition, a biography of Harvey Milk, Sarah Waters's Tipping the Velvet, and E. M. Forster's Maurice are all excluded.

Seeing a pattern yet? Apparently, Amazon feels that any treatment of anything homosexual/lesbian/gay/queer, however non-explicit and including texts specifically aimed at young adult readers, is likely to offend and should be excluded as "adult" material. (What the hell does "adult" actually mean in this context anyway?)

That's just plain wrong.

See here, here and here for more information.

[And see here for an update]

No comments: