Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Flux: Appealing to "prurient interests" ever since 2006

Some of you may have been following the news of the law in Indiana requiring sellers of "sexually explicit material" to register and pay a licensing fee. Publishers Weekly did an article on it, and suggested that sexually explicit meant "any product that is 'harmful to minors' under existing law." As is almost always the case with laws of this sort, its framers intend for it to target a fairly narrow group of retailers, but of course the language is frighteningly vague. As PW blogger Alison Morris points out in a recent post, this has implications for all sorts of children's booksellers. She writes:

"If you were (or are) an general or children's bookseller in Indiana, what do you do under this new law? Do you register with the state and see your store's name listed alongside self-professed peddlers of pornography? Or do you make the decision NOT to register, and run the risk of facing charges or being fined? You tell me."

Indeed. Everyone should have a look at the Alison's post.

This is especially amusing to me since next month we'll be releasing the first paperback edition of Indiana-author Barbara Shoup's excellent Wish You Were Here. When I was talking about the book with her, she mentioned that Hyperion, the publisher of the first edition, asked her to tone down some of the language. I asked her tone it the hell back up for the paperback. I wonder if she'll get in trouble. . .

1 comment:

Barbara Shoup said...

I hope so. The book actually made it to the 100 Most Censored Books in America list in about 1996--and that was without the F#@$'s.

My favorite bookseller, Elizabeth Barden at Big Hat Books in Indianapolis, had the best response to this idiotic proposal. Seems ironic that we're fighting to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis for democracy, yet are trying to censor ourselves, she observed.

I swear. Sometimes it's hard to be a Hoosier.