Almost as soon as the controversy began, it ended… with Amazon’s apparent capitulation. The controversy, of course, is about the bluntly named Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct by Philip R. Greaves II, which as fellow dad-blogger Ron Mattocks pointed out when he tipped us to it, had risen to #97 in Kindle sales, just above the Bible.
I would like to think that he didn’t just point it out to us because we are pederasts or because many of you fine readers only find our site through Googling child sex acts (for the record, we use lots of foul language, but this is a non-sexual, barely deviant blog, ok?)
There’s plenty to say about Mr. Greaves’ completely bizarre quest to show the orderly side of pedophilia, and more yet to say about the difficulties of censorship. But for now, because I have a parade to catch and some veterans to thank, I would like to say this: don’t gloat too much.
It may be a good thing that the blogosphere reared up on its hindlegs and showed some fang over this book. The backlash over the title had the desired effect on Amazon. But before everyone gives each other high-fives, remember that child abuse is primarily not learned from books. It is not the invention of anonymous Internet predators. It predates the Kindle by about 10,000 years, give or take.
What child abuse is: a crime of cowards, usually known to their victims, usually part of the family circle. A father, stepfather, boyfriend of the aunt. And that means that child abuse has to be combatted, really, the way Israel protects its airplanes. You can’t ban every book or shutter every NAMBLA meetup, just as Israel can’t stop every bomb from being assembled in some apartment somewhere. But you can do what their airport security does: interrogate. Get to know the men (and women) who will have time with your children alone. And teach your children to be their own best defenders. Let them know they always can say no, that they can always talk about anything with you, their parent.
You can’t keep Philip R. Greaves II and people like him off the Internet. But you can keep them out of your lives.