Tuesday, November 28, 2006

....or is it just me?

I read a blog post the other day which contained the following:

In other news, the OJ book (titled something like IF I KILLED THEM, HERE'S HOW I MADE MONEY OFF IT IN SPITE OF THOSE PESKY OLD SON OF SAM LAWS) was pulled just DAYS before it was due to hit stores and I for one am having a weird little surge of hope for humanity in response. Good for us! YAY for people with souls, HUZZAH to good balky booksellers who just said no. Score one for decency. And maybe even another for good taste and even kindness.

to which I made the following comment:

I can't believe that Fox thought it a good idea in the first place.

But there's a lingering thought - what about the 1st amendment? Everyone has a right to a voice, not just the popular people - and even those with extremely bad taste and no morals. Let the book be published and then languish. (I understand that) the money goes to his kids, so excepting the publicity there wasn't any gain from him exploiting his wife's death anyway. There is a lot of crap out there that's been published. Should we as a people be able to prevent something from being published? Except for special circumstances (yelling fire in a crowed theater) free speech means free speech. let him have his book. In my opinion, it's just like anything else. If you don't like it, don't buy it or don't watch it. And - I am wary of anyone's criticism of a book or a movie if they haven't read it or seen it.

I am sorry if I seem sanctimonious, I try not to be. I wouldn't have read his book but I wouldn't have stopped it from being published either. I complain when preachers tell their congregation to not watch a movie or not read a book when they themselves haven't read or seen it. I try not to "preach" one thing and do another.

to which she replied:

Bob -- I repectfully disagree.

It's November. NaNoWriMo is on, and TENS of if not HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of novels will be completed this month. I predict that less that .001% of them will be purchased for 7 figures by a major New York Press and given a big media push, BUT I don't think NaNo-ers are having their first amendment rights violated.
The first amendment does not guarantee the right to a major publishing deal. No one has "silenced" him. He can EVEN NOW publish his evil pile of exploitative crap using Xlibris or Lulu. Heck, he can print it up on tracts and pass it out at the bus station or put it up on his My Space page. No one will arrest him...
...as long as he GIVES the story away, thank you. He may have legal problems if he DOES make dime one because I think the IF in the title is a BLATANT and ugly end run around the Son of Sam laws...
But my point is, he has the right to say or WRITE anything he likes, but no one has the right to front table space in B and N. And that's all he has lost.

I then followed up with:

point taken. revoking a publishing deal is not violating his 1st amendment right to speech. Spending the money to promote his book thereby preventing other people from being published is a bad thing.

This is obviously a sore point for you and I apologize for having commented in the first place.

(I should point out that this blog is written by published author.)

I was merely trying to stimulate a little discussion about an observation: with some public pressure Fox pulled a publishing deal and that smacked to me of a first amendment issue. The relative worth of his book vs. anyone else's is beside the point. Should the public be able to ban/stop/etc. unpopular speech. To me it is nit-picking to state that he could self-publish and therefore his rights haven't been abrogated. People complained, his book was stopped from being published. It isn't as if his publishing contract was cancelled during the initial phase of the deal, or that he was passed over for being published - the book had been sent to the printers and they had to stop the presses. Anyway, the blogger goes on to mention that O.J. could be in legal trouble with regard to the son of sam laws (the laws that prevent someone from profiting from an illegal act that they committed). Well, like it or not, whether you agree or not, O.J. was not convicted of killing his wife and her lover. (I have to admit that I don't know if his civil conviction counts here or not).

This blogger obviously has strong opinions/feelings about the O.J. case and the general difficulty of getting published. I didn't understand then, and I still do not understand, why people feel so strongly about this particular pair of murders. Whether people view it as a travesty of justice, or of the ability to buy a verdict by hiring top-gun lawyers or what. Or legal system may not be what it should or could be, but it is still the best we have. 12 of his, and our, peers decided that he wasn't guilty. I can also understand why an author would get worked up about the difficulty of getting published and the inequality of him being published over more deserving work - but it happens every day. I was taken aback by the vehemence of her response to my comments more than anything. I hadn't seen that in her blog before.

But - it is her blog and she is allowed to rant when the mood strikes. As you may can tell by my last comment to her, I was sorry I had said anything. I didn't get a discussion as much as I got a diatribe. I won't take as much pleasure reading her blog from this point forward. Maybe it is a bit immature of me, but I don't appreciate being yelled at. (even if she did respectfully disagree before she let me have it with both barrels). So, I am a bit confused. Am I justified in being a little upset about the exchange, or should I just get over it?

I will probably do both.

3 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, both. Sure, I can see why you're feeling a bit upset about receiving a dressing down, but I don't think the yelling was really directed at YOU - she was probably already yelling to begin with, if you know what I mean. I certainly can't be as detached as you sound when I think about the OJ case, travesty-of-justice-wise. Give her another chance and proceed with caution.

Bob said...

daufiero: you are probably right, I'm probably taking something personally that isn't. As for O.J. - I have always tried to live up to the philosophy that I wasn't in the jury, I didn't see everything they saw, and I have to respect their decision. So, I try not to have any opinion about these types of cases. In my heart-of-hearts I think that he probably did it, and if he didn't - he was there. I am upset about the problems our system have, especially the fact that the more money you have the better represented you are and the more likely you will be found not guilty. Poor people in this country get the overworked, underexperienced lawyers doing their required pro-bono work.

As for detached - I am so sick and tired of the O.J. case, I don't want to burden myself with it. I am truely sorry for his wife and her lover and their families. No one deserves to be murdered. But there are so many other people that are murdered that get no notariety, no headlines, no indignation - they are just another statistic. It is them I reserve my indignation for.

Mir said...

Ehhh... sorry, Bob, but I'm with Joshilyn. OJ's not being censored, he's simply losing big-name backing because the public basically made it known that IF the publication went through, their opinion of the Forces That Made It Happen was going to plummet. And let's face it---that's how business works, everywhere. If OJ still wants to tell the world about his delusions, he's more than welcome to self-publish, or stand on a street corner and shout it to the masses. What happened here wasn't censoring, it was (for once) the triumph of common sense over sensationalism.