Good morning, anti-censorship intellectuals! Remember that story from January about Abunga Books, the online bookstore whose sole unique feature is that it claims to “empower decency” by enabling prudes to vote to censor their offerings? Now it has made ABC News. It’s amazing how much press this thing has received — I’m beginning to suspect there is some marketing genius behind the store who knows how to whip up a media frenzy.
They’ve got a couple of quotes from me and from the founder of Abunga, Lee Martin.
“Anything that irritates the right, they want off,” Myers told ABCNEWS.com “They can have a limited selection of books and select whatever political perspective they want. But [Abunga] is cloaking itself in democracy, and instead of being open-minded, they are being narrow-minded. It’s hypocrisy.”
Boy, I got that one exactly right. You should read how Martin defends himself against that charge.
In response, Myers’ readers mass e-mailed the company and logged on to Abunga.com to ban a number of religious books themselves, including the Bible.
“What they didn’t realize is that we control inventory from our members, and it’s pretty easy to see the difference of customers who are blocking ‘The Golden Compass’ and the Bible,” Martin said.
Martin insists his company has no agenda. “If you look at the books, we have a complete rainbow range of books, and we give to non-Christian ministries.”
(By the way, you’ll have a hard time finding a non-Christian ministry in their list of charities. They’ve got a few good secular groups in there, like regional hospitals and the March of Dimes, but it’s mostly a collection of openly evangelical organizations. I guess if you do stuff that actually works, like giving medicine, that counts as “non-Christian” to these guys.)
So they don’t have an agenda, and they’re just letting their customers control the inventory, but they can tell the difference between the ‘good’ customers who want to block The Golden Compass, and the wicked, nasty bad customers who want to block the Bible. We are all equal, except some of us are more equal than others.
Like I said, Abunga can have whatever bias they want, and they clearly want to be a right wing Christian bookstore. I don’t mind that at all, although they certainly wouldn’t be getting my business. My objection is that they want to pretend that they’re taking the high road and calling their bias “democracy,” when it clearly is not, and it is definitely not a noble enterprise — these are guys with yet another scheme to pander to right-wing ignorance and make money from it.
Of course, that’s my disagreement with their practices. The ABC News article takes a different approach that might be more effective in alienating their prospective clientele, by listing a selection of naughty books that are still easily available at Abunga. They’ve got a censorship filter, but it’s a mighty leaky one.