Sunday, February 26, 2012

PayPal Censorship,
is it really all about Genre?

When Smashword’s founder, Mark Coker sent out his censorship letter the other day, telling erotic writers certain topics must be pulled from his cyber bookshelf, or he’d risk PayPal’s wrath, he included bestiality, rape and incest to his already enforced taboo, underage sex.

The ongoing blog debate and discussion concerning the recent PayPal censorship hammer that came down on a number of online booksellers, raised several points.

On one side, are those that insist private companies have the right to censor who they do business with, while others feel this is overreaching and an abuse of corporate power. An angry online community cries for boycotting PayPal, while others say good ridden to bad rubbish.

Some insist the forbidden list is just icky, and who wants to read that stuff anyway? Others point out that those topics are included in accepted books, such as the Bible.

When Lot’s daughters decide to get him drunk and seduce him, so they can become pregnant and carry on his line, we have incest, nonconsensual sex, and possibly underage sex. I don’t recall the age of the daughters.

As for bestiality, just think of all the popular werewolf stories on the market.

Of course, the real taboo: purpose for sexual titillation. While you might argue Paypal can’t get into the head of the writer and prove the writer penned those words for the purpose of titillation, you might want to consider the genre.

The basic definition of erotica is art that arouses sexually. Generally, the difference between erotica and pornography is that erotica isn’t written primarily for sexual arousal – it has a plotline and character development. Of course, that is where the subjective judgment comes into play. What one critic sees as a literary masterpiece with in-depth character development, another sees as smut.

Perhaps the answer is to simply, switch genres.

I don’t see anyone pulling Pirate’s Love off the bookshelf. It was written by bestselling author, Johanna Lindsey and begins with the pirate raping a young innocent. Of course, you will find her books in the romance section.

In Tarzan, there is a scene where one of the apes takes off with Jane, to make her his mate. Can we say bestiality?

Did the authors include those parts to titillate? Since the books aren’t in the erotica section, only the writer knows for sure.

There are countless *acceptable* stories out there that include taboo content, they just aren’t in the erotica section.

Perhaps we simply need to rethink the genre.

Carter’s Niece is a western.

Legend of the Raperbeast – along with half a dozen of my books are science fiction.

A couple of my stories are romances.

If I kill off a couple of my characters in the other books, those can go in the murder mystery section.

See…I fixed the problem. Now, is everyone happy?

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