Thursday, March 1, 2012
This entry’s going to be a bit disjointed because I’m not writing with my brain. Like most everybody else, I was PO’d over PayPal’s recent attack on erotica. I know, it’s just business, and PayPal isn’t really to blame, they’re being controlled by the banks and the credit card companies and they had it listed in their Terms of Service long before this incident, yadda yadda yadda. That’s what the brain says. If I turn off my brain the rest of me goes into paranoid mode and imagines all sorts of nasty things.
For instance: this bit about TOS. According to their TOS, PayPal has never supported porn in any form. So why the sudden crackdown? They gave romance publishers and sellers a pass for umpteen million years and now, all of a sudden, certain books are verboten and you now have three minutes to stop selling them or we’ll freeze your account and confiscate your money. Gee. Is the economy that bad? Is PayPal hard up for cash or something? Or is somebody somewhere looking to make a statement in this election year?
I mean, look at what they’re objecting to. Incest and pseudo-incest. Pedophilia. Bestiality. Rape. Depictions of fictional acts between fictional characters and having no bearing on anyone’s real life, but still. It's the idea that upsets people. Who wouldn’t object to kiddie porn? Like reading about rape, do you? So you’re in favor of lecherous stepdaddies getting it on with their nubile teenage stepdaughters (or stepsons)? What are you, un-American? Some liberal Commie-pinko-sicko? Storm the castle! Kill the monster!
Yeah, that’s how it starts. Attack something nobody in their right mind could possibly support. Then, once you’ve got your toehold, you slide your foot all the way in the door until it’s resting comfortably on your victim’s neck. And remember, you’re the one who opened the door in the first place, so it’s not like it’s their fault.
Suppose I wanted to hold a book-burning. I can see a lot of you are up in arms already. But the book I want to burn is Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler’s memoir. You really want to defend that, you Nazi sympathizer? Besides, Hitler was no James Patterson. The thing’s damn near unreadable. I’d be doing the world a favor on several levels if I tossed it into the fireplace.
Well … yeah … and there goes Mein Kampf, up in smoke. Now I think I’ll burn Bulfinch’s Mythology. It’s all these pagan gods and stuff, which has no place in our Christian world. Anyway, Zeus and Hera were brother and sister as well as husband and wife, and Zeus cheated on her with any maiden in a trim little toga and breathing. Can’t allow that on the bookshelves. We must protect the children! And who are you to complain about me burning books? You let me burn the last one.
That’s what scares me about PayPal’s actions, and the fact several distributors have already caved in to them. I can’t help feeling this sudden crackdown is a test run for future dictatorial heavy-handedness, either by PayPal or others. Let’s see how much we can get away with, who knuckles under. Who the easiest victims are, for the next time we decide to flex our muscles in the name of morality.
Hey, PayPal, I got one for you. You’re telling me a book where twin brothers make love to a woman and touch each other in the process is a no-no and you don’t want distributors selling it. How about if the twins slit the woman’s throat, dismember the body and mail the pieces to her relatives? Your list of “objectionable content” doesn’t include depictions of graphic physical violence against women or children, just “rape for titillation.” I guess humping Fido is a more serious crime in your eyes than knifing Aunt Susie, yes?
The movie industry went through this censorship crap back in the ‘30s, I think. Maybe it was the ‘40s. Whatever. Movies ended up with ratings, and there went Mae West’s career. Comic books got bitch-slapped in the ‘50s, and we got the Comics Code. Now it’s romance/erotica’s turn. After all, it’s written primarily by and for women, it’s making a ton of money, and its sellers are just big enough to be noticed but not big enough to put up much of a fight. Bullies choose their victims.
Can’t wait to see what’s next on the chopping block. Let’s see how the legislation over gay marriage goes.
As a parting shot, PayPal, here’s a little Wincest. It’s two blood-related FICTIONAL CHARACTERS (as opposed to real people) enjoying each other, just the thing you hate. There’s a ton of stories on fan fiction sites describing the relationship in graphic and loving detail, and it’s all free and nobody needs PayPal to access it so there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Nyah nyah and have a nice day.