Nathan Bransford, Author

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Censorship vs. Public Interest

So much for a quiet August. News has leaked that Beauford Books will publish O.J. Simpson's quasi-memoir IF I DID IT, which was going to be published by Regan Books until public outcry led HarperCollins and News Corp. to suspend publication of the book.

You tell me: should a book like this be published?

Do publishers have a responsibility to the public to publish books that are in the public interest? Should anything be published for the public to decide or should there be limits placed on what should be published? If so, who should set those limits?

And where do you draw the line? Yesterday an anonymous poster linked to a discussion on Libba Bray's blog about an attempt to ban Maureen Johnson's book THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE in a school library in Bartletsville, Oklahoma (they subsequently put the book on a reserve shelf). Should we place limits on what children see?

Lastly, should jellyfish be fed a steady diet of phytoplankton or do you recommend microscopic crustacean?

You decide!


Kristen said...

I would blame publishers less for publishing it than I would blame citizens for buying it.

Publishers have money as a motivating factor. Business. They don't write the stuff - they just put it out there. (That said, I would lose respect for said publisher.)

But what draws readers? And why give Simpson the satisfaction of believing people are interested in him? Nothing like feeding the desires of a psycopathic egotist.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as Mr. Simpson has been acquitted, it's hard to argue against the book being published, unless you want to ban all books in incredibly bad taste. The last time I checked, no one in this country has done that.

Josh said...

Micrscopic crustaceans all the way.

As for the O.J. book...

Personally, it sickens me. If you had a family member killed, and the person on trial for it got judged innocent and then came out with a book telling how he would've committed the deed (but of course, he's still innocent..the courts said so)...wouldn't that wound you in the deepest way? This book doesn't deserve to see the light of day purely because of the sensationalistic, voyeuristic and exploitive principles that are behind it being published.

And it saddens me to think that people will actually buy this book and enjoy it in the same way they do those ridiculous dramas on television where we get our kicks over people destroying themselves and others for entertainment.

H'okay. That was a bit of a spew, but, hey, I'm speaking my mind, and sometimes it says things that aren't part of the script.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything Josh said, yet I still argue that no one should ban its being published. In the United States we have this thing called freedom of speech. As a free man, OJ has this right just as John Updike does.

Who gets to decide that OJ's bok ought to be banned?

Josh and anyone else who is offended by it can not only choose not to buy it, but they can also try to encourage boycotting it, or speak or blog against it.

Yay freedom of speech!

Anonymous said...

By the way, if public outcry were once again to prevent its being published, there's nothing stopping OJ from self-publishing. But I'm all for public outcry.

Anyway, I think publishers should be able to decide what they want to publish. If they think it'll make money and they don't care about degrading their reputation, it's their right.

It's also your and my right to choose not to buy any of their books ever again, and to tell them so.

Marti said...

I am against censorship. I wouldn't buy the OJ book, I think it is appalling. It'd be grand if not a single soul on this planet bought it, but that's a bit Utopian...I suspect it WILL sell - maybe very well.

As for the children's books, again, I dislike the idea of censorship, but a school isn't the same as a free market. I think it should be up to the individual districts to determine what is "appropriate" for the students in their schools to be exposed to. But most importantly, it is up to the parents to teach their children about all aspects of life, the good the bad and the ugly. (Sorry for speaking in such cliches - it's ungodly hot here and my brain is fried - lol)

Thank you (as always) for an insightful post!

jessie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Anti-Wife said...

A much as I loathe the premise of this book, I love the fact that in our country it can be published. The only way to prevent these things from being published is to not buy them. Money talks.

Will people buy it? Absolutely! They buy tabloids all the time and most of what's published in them is borderline factual and distorted. I don't understand it, but then I don't buy them and won't buy this book.

jessie said...

I don't have anything to add about OJ, but as a librarian I have to comment about school library censorship. It is so unfortunate that people feel they have a duty to "protect" everyone's children by banning books they personally dislike. Each parent should be responsible for their OWN child's reading material. Of course I don't think every child should be allowed to read everything ever published. But what is right for one family might not be right for another. The truth is, you see this sort of thing happening frequently in the bible belt and usually to books that have something to do with sexuality. I find it very sad.

Anonymous said...

Do you know who is selling that book to Beaufort?

Ron Goldman's family. They are the ones who will make money off it, not OJ. Make of it what you will.

Other Lisa said...

I'm sick as a dog today so if this is less than coherent, apologies.

I agree that we should err on the side of free speech, that the onus is really on us as readers and consumers not to buy material we find distasteful.

However...look at the way news is presented in the larger media outlets. We can complain about the ubiquity of Paris Hilton coverage to the exclusion of real news. The argument is, this is what the news consumers want. But is it, really? Are ratings systems really so well-developed that we know this is what a majority of people want to see?

When news about celebrities and car chases drowns out more serious stories, is this actually a reflection of consumers' choices?

I know all the important news is out there, you just have to take a little more time and effort to find it. And that's the problem - a lot of people don't have the time to seek things out and don't necessarily know that it's out there or even why they should care. The dumbing down of the public discourse reinforces itself.

Look at it this way - we have huge problems with obesity in poor communities in this country. A lot of this is traced to food choices in poor neighborhoods - it's all fast food, crappy grocery stores that don't offer a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, etc.

So I dunno, maybe I'm kind of an elitist, but I know if I ran a publishing company, somebody else could publish that book, I wouldn't touch it.

I have an "on the other hand" I could go to next, but I think that was enough rambling for now...others more equipped than I can address the jellyfish issue.

Scott said...

1. I think the OJ book should be published, and I hope nobody buys it and it loses tons of money. Any money it makes for OJ, if people actually want to buy the thing, should be immediately intercepted by the courts and put toward the civil judgment against Mr. Simpson.

2. School libraries probably have the right to determine which of the many books they buy and which they don't, but it's too bad (and not right) that they always seem to ban books that talk about the real issues that interest teens.

3. Phytoplankton would possibly produce better-tasting jellyfish (although I really don't know this for a fact), but if you deplete the phytoplankton population too much, we might end up with an oxygen shortage, which I think might qualify as a Bad Thing. On the other hand, if you don't plan on eating the jellyfish, microscopic crustaceans could possibly give the jellyfish better coloring, the way shrimp give color to some other invertebrates that eat them. But again, I don't know if jellyfish work that way.

Speaking of jellyfish, don't you find Turritopsis nutricula, the "immortal jellyfish," interesting?

Liz said...

Let the OJ book be published. It is up to the book buying public to either read or shun at that point.

School library censorship...interesting topic to me as a former YA librarian. Our local county school district does prohibit certain books from being on the shelves. However, the school librarians are free to order the AR tests for said books. The Sisterhood series is a prime example of this in my daughters' middle school. I had a lengthy conversation with their school librarian over the hypocrisy of the whole thing.

In the public library, I had only two books challenged during my two year stint. One was challenged for 8th grade boys dropping the F-bomb in a locker room scene. The other book was challenged because it dissed Bush. Both books stayed on the shelf. I had a supportive Director.

Yes, I live in the buckle of the bible belt.

Anonymous said...

OJ will get no money from sales of this book. Ron Goldman's family will. A judge awarded them all rights to it, including the use of OJ's name and likeness in connection to it. The Goldmans are the ones who dealt with Beaufort Books in the sale, not OJ.

So, you could argue they are exploiting themselves, but likely they don't view it that way.

Scott said...

You could also argue that the Goldman family is trying to collect some of the 32 million OJ owes them. I'd rather see them get it that Simpson.

But it would be even better to see the book totally tank.

Anonymous said...

Or better still would be if everyone just donated Ron Goldman's family $24 instead of buying the book.

Scott said...

We're getting away from what's important: Turritopsis nutricula.

That jellyfish cheats death. It reaches sexual maturity, then reverts to the polyp stage and starts allover again.

That's just plain amazing. Just like certain humans, especially certain men, this jellyfish finds a mate and then turns back into a baby.

By the way, I don't condone pirating books online. I really don't.

But *if I did it*, if I did condone it, I'd point out that you can find Simpson's book online, where you can skip all the boring crap and read the only three or four pages that anybody's going to read anyway.

That's what I'd say if I condoned it. But I don't.

Anonymous said...

It's OJ's freedom of press to write and have this book published, even if it seems horribly wrong (I would personally burn any copy I saw, but that's my choice). The only way he might be denied is if someone can claim and prove it's libel.

I am against censorship in any kind and I feel that its intolerable, no matter who its aimed at. Some teens might not be able to deal with certain maturity-levels in books, and other will be able to. Besides, when you're dealing with teens, banning a book will just make them all find a way to get around the rules and read it. Kids are able to self-censor, and parents could talk to them about that.

As for the F-word, which liz mentioned, I have yet to hear anyone challenging Holly Black's book Tithe, which literally is full of the word. Most libraries just don't buy the book, but it's still accessable to teens.

Stephen Parrish said...

O.J. isn't going to receive any money for this book.

It's supposed to be a confession in disguise, so I say let's welcome its publication. Psychologists who study killers, sociopaths, and other bottom dwellers are anxious to read it.

I don't think wannabe readers are sick, as has been suggested. I think they're curious about the inner workings of a monster's brain and comfortable knowing the proceeds of their purchase will contribute to the judgement against said monster.

JamesB said...

In a capitalistic society it's hard to blame anyone for publishing such a book. Yes, it's in extremely poor taste, but someone out there is going to publish it because it's going to make money. Or at least generate publicity.

I think they should change the name to HOW I DID IT, though. I mean, come on. It's all speculation? Right, OJ.

jjdebenedictis said...

We can complain about the ubiquity of Paris Hilton coverage to the exclusion of real news. The argument is, this is what the news consumers want. But is it, really?

The thing is, it takes a lot of competence on the part of a reporter/interviewer to make a news story gripping. If the story is scandalous or salacious, that fact allows the reporter/interviewer to be half-rate or lazy and still keep their audience.

I think the prevalence of gossip in the media is half due to the public being interested in it and half due to the media taking the easy road.

A meatier story can be just as gripping as trash, but only if handled by a reporter/interviewer who has talent.

I think the book disgusting, but I don't think it should be banned. I do think everyone should just stop talking about it, however. All the furor will only generate sales.

Banning books in school libraries
The parents who try to do this seem to believe if you never expose a child to a certain concept, the child will then never engage in certain behaviours because the child is clearly too stupid to come up with the idea on his/her own.

How misguided. If you banned every book on the planet, I'm pretty sure kids would still figure out how to have sex, bully one another and take drugs.

And they would probably do more of all of it, because they wouldn't have the benefit of any point of view but their own or any warning about the possible dangers.

Or even anything better to do, given what society would be reduced to.

Other Lisa said...

Re: banning books in libraries - here's an interesting list of "most-challenged" books.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I recommend Crabby Patties for the jellyfish, myself.

As for books, let them publish whatever they want (so long as it's not a felony, like Amazon and the dog fighting books). I don't have to buy it. Hopefully, this little publisher will lose money on it -- money that could have been better spent on any number of authors and promotion, publicity, and other things that would help make their careers. 'Cause let's face it: Karl Rove and OJ aren't going to write more books. They're not writers.

Let's support those who are.

As for school libraries, I think that controversial books come with the burden of teaching the students who are interested why this is controversial. Like Huck Finn. Or scrotums. Problem is, schools aren't equipped for that sort of thing, no matter how monied and highly ranked they are. But letting our kids float and make unguided decisions... I'm a mom. I see daily how dangerous kids are when their decisions ARE guided.

But giving up is giving in to the people who let fear rule their lives, and that's every bit as bad.

Stephen Parrish said...

Thank you, "Other Lisa," for the list. I can't help noticing the Bible isn't on the list, even though it contains the following passage:

And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

Other Lisa said...

Actually, Stephen, the Bible made OCLC's list for 2005, as did the Koran. So there you go...

Isak said...

(sorry if this posted twice)

Anonymous is right.

O.J. needs to publish the book because he needs to pay the Goldmans and he can't generate an income any other way. Sure, he was acquitted, but no one wants to work with him and his football career is over. I'm sure the Goldman family wants him to earn the money the honest way, you know, without sensationalistic pandering--but hey, this is America! That's what we do here. In regards to that, some books should not be published, not so much as a matter of taste, but of principle. The looser interpretations of freedom of speech and press allow room for dreck like this to flow freely because there is the sick belief that this sort of thing generates money. (So, really, it's the consumers fault.)

There was a place for the kind of stuff that wasn't fit for the general public at one time...I believe it was called the underground. Many weird, interesting, and even great things came from there, and some still do, but a lot of it was garbage not everyone should or needs to be exposed to. (So, if O.J. published the book himself and there was no marketing behind it, I might have less of a problem with it.)

Jellyfish need a balanced diet. Mix it up with the phytoplankton and crustceans.

Robbie H said...

Why do I have this uncontrollable urge to re-query you with the following hook:

"I didn't query you a few months ago, but if I did, here's how I SHOULD have done it..."

Liz Wolfe said...

Should IF I DID IT be published? Probably not. It'll be a waste of good paper and ink.
Do publishers have a responsibility to the public to publish books that in in the public interest? Obviously not. And I don't think they should. Giving publishers that responsibility also gives them the ability to determine what we read. I'd like to reserve that choice for myself.
Should we place limits on what children see? I didn't censor my daughter's reading material and she read a LOT of books that I read. She's grown now and she'd doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs, rarely drinks and didn't get pregnant in high school or rob convenience stores. I guess it worked out okay.
Should jellyfish be fed a steady diet of -- HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? I just saw a special on jellyfish that are so damn tiny you can't see the little f*ckers and if they sting you, you're likely to die. Don't feed the insidious vermin anything.

Spartezda said...

Phytoplankton or zooplankton? Nah, if you're going to get a jelly, get a species big enough to eat fish. Way cooler.

Or even better, get one large enough to eat the neighbors' yappy rat-dogs. The chihuahua finally has a purpose in life.

But seriously, diet would depend on the jelly species (they are not jellyfish, because cnidarians are in no way fish. Starfish are better called sea stars, because echinoderms, too, are in no way fish. /nomenclature rant). I'd probably recommend a mix of phyto and zooplankton, because that's what they'd encounter in the wild.

Tom Burchfield said...

Danger encountered by censoring "If I Did It": A lot.

Grief Suffered by Publisher for bothering to Publish "If I Did It": Endless and Deserved.

Likely Purchase Cost of "If I Did It": $35.00

Likely unit sales figures of "If I Did it": Probably in the tens of thousands.

Amount of money I likely save by NOT buying "If I Did It.": $38.00 (incl. sales tax)

The beer and shots of Macallans I get to drink by NOT buying "If I Did It": PRICELESS

A Paperback Writer said...

I didn't watch the OJ trial in spite of how much of the rest of the world seemed to be obsessed with it. I'm sure I can pass up on the book just fine and life will go on.
Of course it's tacky, but there's a whole lot of tacky stuff out there.
But I don't like the idea of censoring stuff, so let it be published and let people of small minds sicken themselves on it as they did with the trial itself.

It is very interesting that a couple of posts point out that the victim's family is doing this. In another high-profile crime case (although not of this magnitude) the family of Elizabeth Smart (kidnapped at age 14 by a self-proclaimed polygamist prophet and brainwashed by him) has kept themselves from publishing what would definitely be an incredibly tacky best seller about her experience.

Anonymous said...

. . . has kept themselves from publishing what would definitely be an incredibly tacky best seller about her experience.

Why would it be tacky?

Anonymous said...

Because it would be using her incredibly private and personal and unpleasant experience in the interest of gaining publicity?

Just a guess.

Anonymous said...

Primo Levi is a guy who used his incredibly private and personal and unpleasant experience to write a book that was the opposite of tacky and was not written to gain publicity. Of course the likelihood that any person would produce a work as profound as his is slim, because he is an unusually gifted writer. But plenty of people who have had horrible experiences write memoirs without profit or publicity as their goal.

2readornot said...

Although I'd have to say that there's a huge difference between OJ's so-called book and anything by Maureen Johnson (who's an amazing writer), really it all comes down to the readers. Let this company spend their money to publish this book -- I won't be buying it. I won't even pick it up to skim it. I have no interest in something like that...and if enough people keep their wallets in their pockets, the message will be loud enough.

Mystery Robin said...

I think that responsible people should self-censor. I agree that the government shouldn't censor, but yes, publishers should, agents should, and if it gets past them, the public should.

There shouldn't be any market for this book at any level.

Anonymous said...

Primo Levi is a guy who used his incredibly private and personal and unpleasant experience to write a book that was the opposite of tacky and was not written to gain publicity.

It would be one thing if Smart wrote it about herself, and another if her family wrote it about her.

Dave said...

OJ SImpson again.
As one of those glued to the OJ trial with strained ears and bloodshot eyes: that book is worth 30 pieces of silver, blood money.

LindaBudz said...

Last time I checked, "not right for our list" did not constitute censorship. If it did, I would have a couple of civil cases of my own to pursue!

Marva said...

Porn is porn. People who buy the book are doing it for prurient interest. If the royalties are attached to go to the families of the murder victims, then fine. If Simpson gets the money, it's disgusting.

Anonymous said...

. . . has kept themselves from publishing what would definitely be an incredibly tacky best seller about her experience.

I'm afraid I agree with the first anon who questions why this decision would necessarily be tacky. Judging a book by its cover is bad enough, but judging a book that hasn't even been written is definitive prejudice.

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with the publisher. I figure this publisher is using this book as a source of publicity. Imagine, a book so bad that Rupert Murdoch himself wouldn't publish it!

This is America. We should have the right to read anything. As someone else noted, taste need not apply.

As far as censorship for children's/YA books, it should be the parents' responsibility, not the school's or the government's. Unfortunately in this country, besides a general lack of good taste, we expect our government to see to all our needs and desires. If you don't want your kid reading what you feel is bad for them, handle it.

Other Lisa said...

The problem is, with the censorship of children/YA books, it's generally the parents who are trying to censor books that they don't want their kids - or anyone else's - to read.

So who should be the gatekeepers?

That's part of the librarians' job, IMO - to consider works based on their merit and on the needs of the community - not on whether some parents think Harry Potter is "anti-Christian" and don't want it available for kids.

A Paperback Writer said...

To the 2 anonymouses (anonymi? anonymous people)who question my description of a book detailing the kidnapping, rape, and brainwashing of a then-fourteen-year-old girl as "tacky" because it would keep her away from any kind of normalcy for the rest of her life: well, okay, sorry I assumed you would agree with me. She and her family announced they would not allow such a book to be published. Perhaps they'll change their minds later. At least they'll have 2 cutomers to buy it.
My apologies for trying to compare 2 crimes where victims might be violated over and over again by the public.
And there was plenty of news coverage on Elizabeth Smart, so you can go satiate yourselves on that,.
Look, I was just trying to make a comparison, not be holier-than-thou. If you want to read such stuff, go read it. I'm guessing you probably wouldn't like the things I read either.

A Paperback Writer said...

I apologize for the rant. Next time I'll save it all for my own blog.
(Also my apologies to anyone else who got offended by my ranting at the two nameless ones.)

Heidi the Hick said...

-I think it's great that a book like that can be published, because there are no laws about what you can say or write or print.

I think it's even better that we aren't forced to buy or read anything we don't choose to.

I won't go anywere near that book. I don't care.

-I'd hate to think that books are kept away from kids/ teenagers, since I read a few books myself at that age that I likely wasn't meant to read. Part of my confusing education of life.

I'd like to say that parents and libraries should guide young readers, but it doesn't always work out that way. I'd also like to think that if a kid reads something inappropriate, they'll find someone to talk to about what they found disturbing. Again, sadly, not always the case.

I still don't think books should be banned. I read Huck Finn to my kids recently and we cringed at every N word, but, they really learned a few things about the way things were and how different cultures and time periods affected attitudes and morals.

But I'm a hypocrite because if my book ever got banned (someday) I'd be thrilled. Bad publicity can be very good...

-feed that jellyfish a jelly donut. It makes so much sense, doncha think?

Anonymous said...

(Also my apologies to anyone else who got offended by my ranting at the two nameless ones.)

What's your name?

Stephen Parrish said...

Well, I for one have a name, and I don't hesitate to associate it with my opinions.

I can think of several reasons why the Smart family might (hypothetically) want to write and publish a book about their experiences. They might consider the exercise cathartic, for example. Or they might want to raise awareness of a child abduction problem plaguing the U.S. If they were less wealthy, they might need the proceeds to reimburse a variety of expenses incurred by their unwelcome circumstances. Maybe they would just want to celebrate the reunion with their daughter, an event that came as a wonderful surprise to the whole country. It's irrational to automatically assume their purpose in writing and publishing such a book would necessarily be inspired by greed for publicity.

As for the O.J. book, I wouldn't have represented it (if I were an agent), I wouldn't be publishing it (if I were a publisher), and I'm quite sure I won't read it---but that's just because of my personal tastes. Other readers have different tastes. As I commented earlier, psychologists from coast to coast can't wait to get their hands on this thing. I'm sure the same could be said of sociologists, historians, journalists, law enforcement officers, and God knows who else. If you don't understand the phenomenon, consider why Mein Kampf is still in print.

I live in a country that just a couple of generations ago made bonfires out of books. My daughter attends a school named after a former principal who lost her job because she denounced a book burning that took place on school grounds. It's nice to hear everyone in this comment stream stand up for free speech, but it's unnerving to hear people condemn a book as "sick," "appalling," "disgusting," "porn," etc. before they've even examined it.

Gem said...

Personally, I find the OJ book distasteful, but I see no reason why it shouldn't be published.

I don't think that children's books should be banned from any library (although it's hard to argue as at the end of the day the books have to be purchased by someone). Children self-censor and the fact remains that you cannot protect them from ideas, no matter how abhorent they may be to thier parents or thier school. I'm not sure witholding a book from all children because some children's parents object is the right way to go about things.

I was very lucky. By the time I was nine I had finished reading all the books in the children's section. Our local library gave me an adult card with the approval of my parents. To be honest, most adult books didn't interest me then, but it meant I could read Lord of the Rings and 1984, which were in the adult section.

The book bannings in libraries that I've read about disturb me because for the most part they seem to be about trying to 'protect' children from a gay character or a character who isn't christian enough. I would almost be more comfortable with banning them for swear words than for containing real life.

Spartezda is right. You need a jellyfish big enough to eat fish!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I'd never vote for censureship, and a company only has to answer to itself and God.

That said, all the people who buy it are morons.

And THAT said, there a quite a few people who believed in his innocence. I had several friends at the time who did, though I've no idea what they think now.

Jenny said...

Here's another way to ask the same question.

Do you think a person who rapes children should be permitted to publish a how-to manual?

Or perhaps a book on how to kill a child very slowly?

Would the "how to snuff a kid" book be better if the proceeds went to a murdered child's family?

We already have laws that say that criminals cannot profit from describing their crimes. The situation here is a bit more complex since OJ was acquitted though most people believe he did it. The book feeds off that premise.

Obviously, no one who believes he hadn't done it would pay money to find out how he might have done it.

Free speech does not include yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

It doesn't extend to profiting from real crimes.

It could even be argued that it shouldn't extend to works of fiction that give detailed instructions on how to harm people in new and exciting ways.

Sadly, every time the media thinks up a horrific new crime with which to titillate a jaded movie audience some mentally ill person (or more than one, at times) goes out and does exactly what they saw on the screen.

I have occasionally read police procedurals that were so detailed in their descriptions revolting crimes of mayhem that I have worried that some warped individual after reading the book might put what they read into practice, too.

It's worth remembering that the freedom of speech written into our constitution was intended to cover Political Speech.

Kristen said...

Simpson (as I understand it) won't/can't profit from the book.

Not financially, that is.

But publicity is a sort of "profit," isn't it?

Bryan D. Catherman said...

Publishers work to make money, so they need to be looking at how many people will purchase the book. If people won't buy the book, why should the publisher be expected to print the it.

Generally, it's government organizations--federal or local--that are charged with the responsibility of the public good. It is here we need to fight against censorship. If a library won't carry IF I DID IT, then we have a problem.

Anonymous said...

Jenny, the fact is that a jury acquitted Mr. Simpson, whether people think he did it or not. Therefore no one has the right to take away his freedom of speech.

If you think our courts have interpreted the 1st amendment as guaranteeing only free political speech, you've been living under a rock. You may think that's the only type of speech which OUGHT to guaranteed, but that's not reality.

It's my opinion that political and artistic speech of all sorts ought to be protected, and, perhaps unfortunately in the minds of many, this includes a lot of unsavory stuff. What I'm frankly more concerned about is the protection consistently offered to commercial speech, often to the detriment of the political process and the citizens. But I digress.

Look, your first two examples would not be legal. OJ was acquitted, which is why it's legal for him to write this book. And, as has been repeatedly stated, he's not going to make a dime from it. Ron Goldman's family will.

Finally, you say: "Obviously, no one who believes he hadn't done it would pay money to find out how he might have done it." I have no idea why you'd consider this obvious. How can you know why other people would choose to read a book?

I won't read or buy it because I don't like this kind of stuff. If you don't either, then just say no.

mkcbunny said...

Goldman's family is giving all profits to charity.

It still strikes me as odd that they'd want to publish it, but maybe they believe it will reveal the truth. In other words, if they see it as a confession, then they might want the confession printed for everyone to see. And they want the inevitable profits to go to someone other than OJ.

Personally, I think the fact of its being written is pretty disgusting. But I don't think it shouldn't be published.

P.S. Thanks for the great subthread about jellyfish!

DMH said...

I agree with Jenny's and Josh's comments. In the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, I passed a display showing a jail shirt from Charles Manson--it was autographed with a flourish. Autographed, like this guy did something he is proud of.

writtenwyrdd said...

It sickens me, even though the monies from the sale would go to the family of one of the victims.

Disgusting that we would support the crime in the sense that we feel the need to read about it.

Anonymous said...

Reading about something doesn't necessarily constitute "supporting" it.

Anonymous said...

1. Capitalism. Whadaryagonnado?

2. In the old days, banning or restricting access to a book would as good as guarantee that kids would read it on the fly, but now there's free porn on the internet.

3. Just don't feed them Doritos.

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