So part of my job occasionally involves some light corporate espionage. I’m a guy who steals a lot of metadata, usually from Amazon.
So there I was, searching on the term “Parks” looking for covers of books about urban planning. Mostly, the site shot back urban planning textbooks, but as I scrolled down the page my eye hung on a an image of a backlit woman in a one piece. “Water Park Stepmom (A Pseudo Incest Erotica Short Story)” it was called, followed shortly thereafter by “Rough Ride – Taken by the Park Ranger (Crime & Punishment: Erotic Stories of Sexual Submission)” which is evidently about abs and their capacity to glisten.
Prior to this, I had been vaguely aware that it’s really easy to make your own e-books and people were putting self-published short stories on Amazon. I was vaguely aware (in a get-rich-quick-scheme kind of way) that this practice extended to erotica. But this development, with erotic short stories sneaking into my wholesome book uplooking, is terrible.
Now let me be clear: I’m not saying I have a problem with erotica because it’s offensive, or because I’m afraid the children will find it. I’m not even saying that erotica is a lesser art form that doesn’t deserve to share virtual shelf space with real books.
No, the problem I have with erotica comes from how it proliferates. For example, I don’t know the exact ratio of pornography to other film, but everyone knows that it’s really high. In large part, this is because it’s much easier to make pornography. There’s not a lot of deep writing. You can get pretty much everything done in one take. If something goes terribly, grotesquely wrong and you end up with a ruined shot, it’s not really a loss, because that’s probably somebody’s fetish.
It’s probably like 3, that ratio. Three frames of pornography for every one frame of real movie. That doesn’t sound bad, but keep in mind that Hollywood makes movies just to prove they can. Last year, they made two separate feature films about buddies fucking each other, which means there were over nine hours of pornography made just to catch up to Ashton Kutcher.
Now imagine if every time you wanted to find Buddies Doing Each Other, you had to search through not only the similar Buds Nail One Another, but also the search results for nine hours of pornography. It would suck. But wait! That nine hours isn’t made up of feature length pornographies, it’s made up of shorts and samples and hilarious outtakes for fetishists. If we assume a mean length of six minutes per pornographic thing, that’s thirty pornographies from these two films alone.
And that’s talking about movies. Movies take a lot of time and specialized equipment, but books? No sirree. There were some two-hundred feature films in English that saw major release last year. The United States alone published
two-hundred and eighty-eight thousand some unfathomable number of books.
Do you want to search through (let’s just go with) two-hundred and eighty-eight thousand books’ worth of compensatory pornography? No, of course not. So Amazon, blacklist that shit. Segregate the erotica into its own section, whence it shan’t leak out. Everyone who wants erotica will know where it is, and everyone else will find their book about government-funded lawn maintenance.
Now, I get the counterargument. I get that discoverability is a good thing: People might be inclined to buy something, but find themselves unable to because they don’t know that it exists. You sell more of something when it’s easy to stumble upon it.
But that’s not how buying pornography works (I have to assume; I, like everyone with the internet, have never purchased pornography). If I’m searching for a book on mother-daughter relations, it’s because I want a self-help book. And not that kind of self-help book. On the contrary, lesbian waterpark pseudo-incest is the opposite of what I want, because that’s probably not going to improve the underlying situation. And frankly in the reverse case, I’m sure my disappointment would be shared by the seeker of pornography.
I guess I can’t definitively say that I’m never going to buy impulse erotica. I’m probably never going to buy impulse erotica, but the real issue is that I’m never going to buy impulse fetish-specific erotica. Seeing “Water Park Stepmom,” I did not say to myself “now that you mention it, I guess I do want to have exhibitionist sex with my father’s concubine in direct contravention of Levitic law. I will smash that taboo.” No, I said “oh, I should complain on the internet about this.”
Now let’s not think about how much erotic fan fiction this blost just caused.