My knee-jerk instinct was to write that title, and make the entire content of this post: So suck it. And then I realized I’m not 12. I hit a sentiment like that later*, but I felt less juvenile by that point.
I’m sure most everyone is tired of hearing about censorship, Paypal, Bookstrand, Smashwords, credit card companies and all of the events of the last couple of weeks. I know I am. I’m even more tired of it affecting me on a day-to-day basis than I am tired of hearing of it.
People keep saying that businesses have the right to choose what they sell. I couldn’t agree more. The problem is that the businesses DID choose to sell it, and then were strong-armed into getting rid of it by an external company. That’s alarming. But, we’ve all been over this ground a hundred times.
Other markets will pop up (and a precious few still do exist as of this writing), even if the removal of this material spreads so far that it’s driven back to mail-order, the way people used to buy their sexy stuff before the Internet came along.
What bothers me the most is that I’ve been made to feel like a pariah among writers, and had the hatefulness of so many others aimed at me, all because I wrote a story about an 18-year-old having sex with a man who was briefly her step-father, or a woman having her rape fantasy played out, by choice. I’m a degenerate because I wrote some fiction.
Bookstrand really went after indie erotic writers with both barrels after removing them from their site, and that after a few days of panicked-sounding emails and embarrassingly unprofessional behavior. I guess they never bothered to stop and think that some of the people they were attacking might actually be Bookstrand customers, or potential ones. That did a disservice to all their authors, in my opinion.
The letter made it sound as if erotica writers were some sort of plague. Perhaps people who write certain types of erotica don’t do anything but sit in dirty, damp corners creating deviant stories. We don’t buy books from the places we publish at, or sit in PTA meetings next to “normal” people, or have lives outside debauchery and time spent making up the next story about whole families raping helpless puppies.
The letter termed incest, pseudo-incest and bestiality “disgusting.” Never mind that Siren itself sells several titles with brothers (sometimes twins and triplets) making love to another person at the same time, which is closer to incest than any non-related people actually having sex (as makes up pseudo-incest), and titles in which shape-shifters that turn into animals like geese and lamb have sex, but only in human form, (even if they do baaa when excited).
I have no problem with these types of books. The more diversity the merrier. It really bothers me that they have such problems with mine.
I sincerely wish that, no matter what a person might think of things like pseudo-incest, incest, rape, rape fantasy, dubious consent or any topic that’s perfectly legal to write in fiction and erotica, they might consider, really, what all this means.
If I, or anyone, wanted to write an erotic story about a 40-year-old woman who decided to have a sexual relationship with a 50-year-old man that her great-aunt was once married to, well, that’s now off-limits. That’s incest, and Paypal says these sites can’t sell it, therefore you can’t buy it there.
If I wanted to write a story about a woman who has a specific rape fantasy (and if you don’t understand the difference between that and rape, educate yourself) and convices her friend to tie her up so she can live it out, Paypal says no. We won’t allow these sites to carry stories of that nature. They want to–they used to–but we find it obscene.
So it might not be long before Paypal decides that two brothers doing the same person, even if the disclaimer makes it clear that they brothers don’t touch “for titillation,” or that having sex with people who can turn into animals and display any kind of animalist characteristic when aroused is also obscene. As put out as I personally am with Siren/Bookstrand, I sincerely don’t want that to happen.
The underage rules are really the ones to watch. Now, if someone decides that your character, no matter what the stated age, behaves like a child, it’s underage erotica. Because somehow, someone sitting in an office knows what the writer was thinking while writing it. Can so few people really see the danger in this kind of judgment?
Fiction is protected speech for a reason. What all the writers who admit to being happy about the suppression of FICTION don’t seem to see is that every time someone points at fiction and says “no, you can’t, that’s obscene,” they’re trying to control people’s opinions and exert power over the way people think.
Judging by how many express vicious gleefulness at seeing other writers’ work suppressed, those who want that power don’t have to work too hard.
One last thing really sticks in my craw here. There are many writers who really do get it, and are standing up in defense of fiction, no matter what the topic. I’m so glad to see this. Unfortunately, a common first sentence in all these statements is, “I would never write or read such a thing, but..” “I personally find that distasteful, but…”
I’ve said similar things in similar situations, I’m sure. Some things just aren’t my cup of tea. It’s the regularity with which it’s said that’s astounding here. Especially that people stress they would never read such things, but defend the right for it to be written and available.
I defend the right for it to be written and available. A fictional rape is the same as no rape at all. Fictional incest is not incest. Fictional bestiality isn’t hurting any animal anywhere.
But do I read the stuff? I’m not going to tell you. Do you know why? And this is the point, this is the problem with the whole situation, and summarizes my feelings in one compact little sentence, which makes me wonder why I just spent a thousand words on it.
*What I choose to purchase and read is nobody else’s fucking business.