Gay is OK again
Amazon.com has backtracked after what it described as an "embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error" that led to tens of thousands of books being removed from the popular online retailer's sales rankings. At first, it was thought that gay-themed books such as Annie Proulx’s "Brokeback Mountain" were the main targets, but Amazon says the "error" involved more than 57,000 books "in a number of broad categories such as health; mind and body; reproductive and sexual medicine; and erotica." According to Agence France Presse, Mark Probst, author of a gay romance novel, said on his blog that he questioned Amazon about the deletion of his work and was told that the company was cutting "adult" materials from its Web searches and sales lists "in consideration of our entire customer base." It's a good thing that Amazon is rectifying the situation, but I'm not buying the explanation that this was an error. An error is dropping the cap from the toothpaste tube down the drain in the bathroom sink. This seems more likely to have been a deliberate act by someone trying to impose his or her own value judgments on literature. That worked in Hitler's Germany. It won't fly here. I hope.