I’m not sure how many of you are on twitter, but if you are you’ve probably noticed that #amazonfail is hovering around the #1 most used phrase of the moment. Looks like Amazon.com has taken it upon itself to protect its delicate customers from being forced to stumble across “adult” material when said customers perform a search from its homepage. That, in and of itself, is a pretty ridiculous notion, but what’s worse is how they’ve decided to define the category “adult”: anything having to do, in any way shape or form, with the gay.
The way Amazon has decided to accomplish this (admittedly bold) feat is by pulling the sales rank numbers from books they categorize as “adult.” This doesn’t mean that the book is no longer sold on Amazon, but that the books are no longer listed on the bestselling book ranks, nor listed under the subject headings for their subject/genre. In other words, unless you search the exact author or title of a book, you won’t find it once Amazon has decided it’s too “adult” for you. Gee, thanks Amazon! I feel so relieved to have you watching out for lil ‘ol me. Oh, and also, go fuck yourself.
Meta Writer is keeping a running list of the books that have been de-ranked so far. Some of the highlights (shield your eyes!!!):
- Ellen Degeneres: A Biography
- Homosexuality: A History
- Brokeback Mountain
- Tipping the Velvet
- Rubyfruit Jungle
- Maurice (E.M. Forester)
- Heather Has Two Mommies
- History of Sexuality v. 1 (yea, that would be Foucault)
- The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students
- My Gender Workbook (Kate Borenstein)
- The Secret Life Of Oscar Wilde (critically acclaimed biography)
Pulling my hair out…
And yet, you can still search for anal plugs, vibrators, and Playboy, none of which have been de-ranked. Which is not to say they should be (!) but if Amazon is genuinely trying to purge “adult” materials from its general search function, one would imagine these would have been included, no? And maybe Ellen DeGeneres’s biography might have been left off the list? I can’t say I’ve read it, but something tells me it’s probably not the erotic lesbian fantasy we all kind of secretly wish it would be.
Not that this is the first time Amazon has shown its true colors; after all, we’re talking about the same business that, up until a few months ago, stocked a rape simulation video game.
Seriously, between this and the census, I’m starting to feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode where I’ve disappeared…