The Kernel continues to milk Amazon hysteria: This time it’s Holocaust denial

Clearly knowing when it’s on to a good thing, recently relaunched rabble-rousing website The Kernel is back to bring the hurt to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the wider ebook community a second time, after their surprise hit on extreme porn. And yes, dear readers, this time it’s Holocaust denial.

“A Kernel investigation has revealed that Amazon is selling books that defend Holocaust denial, even in countries where Holocaust denial is against the law,” thunders the article from The Kernel Managing Editor Edna Crowley (actually a man). “Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble stock Holocaust denial literature.”

The Kernel indulges in a little self-congratulatory chest-beating about the success of its self-appointed crusade against extreme porn ebooks: “Amazon silently removed scores of incest, child rape and bestiality e-books from its store when we reported last week the depraved books the online retailer was profiting from. Other retailers took their entire websites offline following our reporting and a front-page story in the Mail on Sunday, with whom we worked closely last week to bring our reporting to a wider audience.”

The London Nude Tech Calendar – a previous contribution to British public morality from The Kernel’s founders

So that’s good to know. The Mail on Sunday and The Kernel are hand in glove on this. And now, “A Kernel investigation into the extreme literature for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble has revealed a number of alarming publications that question the veracity the Holocaust for sale openly, prompting further questions about Amazon’s filtering policies [and Barnes & Noble’s, presumably].”

And yes, your dauntless TeleRead correspondent can confirm, the Holocaust denial titles are available on Amazon.co.uk and even Amazon.de Kindle Stores with just a mouse click. And yes, every bit as objectionable as they are described. But the issue of free speech, however visibly stretched and abused by the Holocaust deniers on show here, is hardly even raised by The Kernel. And there are enough issues around The Kernel‘s own coverage, and motives, to give anyone pause around this story.

The Kernel describes its content as “tech, media and politics for enquiring minds.” To judge from the tone of their reports, those minds can’t be especially enlightened ones. Particularly as, for no apparent reason, The Kernel then complains that “Anti-semitism is also being more widely observed in mainstream commentators and Left-wing public intellectuals,” and links to a website “monitoring and combating antisemitism, and the assault on Israel and its legitimacy, at The Guardian.” This makes excellent sense in the context of The Mail on Sunday‘s notorious and virulent right-wing attitudes, and The Kernel‘s private vendetta against The Guardian, subject of a running feud with its founder Milo Yiannopoulos. This is the same Milo Yiannopoulos who declared that “Men perform better in many technology jobs. Must we apologise for that?” and perpetrated a whole slew of other, worse offenses detailed at the end of his Wikipedia profile.  Great qualifications for a guardian of moral rectitude, I think we’ll all agree. And sure enough, The Kernel is also currently carrying a story entitled “How The Guardian helps terrorists.”

So it seems that someone has an agenda going on. And Amazon’s Holocaust denial bookshelf is being swept into the mix, with the help of the Mail on Sunday. There’s no cover like a witchhunt for a hidden agenda, after all. Oh, and just in case I really need to say this, I’m no advocate of Holocaust denial. But the sight of the likes of The Kernel leading a right-wing crusade against it is the true disgrace.

 

6 Comments on The Kernel continues to milk Amazon hysteria: This time it’s Holocaust denial

  1. Keep in mind that democracy and free speech are ideas like any others. To win wide acceptance, they must prove that they work in the real world. If they’re seen as failures, particularly as cruel ones, they won’t long endure, scream though you may.

    During the Great Depression, all too many people came to believe that democracies were too weak to deal with the crisis and that free enterprise had failed so badly that government must step in and dictate what could and could not be done in the economy. That wasn’t just in the Stalinist USSR and Nazi Germany. FDR’s borrowed many ideas from fascist Italy, attempting to dictate prices, wages and conditions of sale. Only a ‘reactionary’ Supreme Court saved us from schemes that today seem utterly mad.

    Whether you like it or not, the fact that Amazon was covertly selling and had to remove “scores of incest, child rape and bestiality e-books from its store” is a problem that, if not solved, means that millions of people, particularly the parents of children, will become skeptical about ‘your’ definition of free speech–and it is your definition. They want an answer that means their daughter isn’t more likely to be molested or raped. If you can’t offer them that, then they’ll quite rightly decide that you have nothing to say that they want to hear.

    One solution is what The Kernel is doing–exposing the evils and driving them from the mainstream. Nothing is going to keep books about “incest, child rape and bestiality” from existing. But they can be driven so deeply into the dark and smelly recesses of our society that social disapproval of them is obvious even to the most perverted. That’s not just good, that’s great.

    And that worthy goal isn’t helped by articles that sneer about a “witchhunt” and a “right wing crusade.” Teleread ought to be praising those who expose mainstream retailers who were profiting, I say it again, from books about “incest, child rape and bestiality.” In fact, Teleread ought to be doing similar investigations and eposes. Why isn’t it?

    Good societies set limits. Speech that promotes “incest, child rape and bestiality” is no more protected by free speech than free enterprise protects someone who wanted to sell crack cocaine to elementary school children. Note that in both cases the victims are vulnerable children.

    So, if your definition of speech includes no sensible ways to protect children from ebook-inspired molestation, then I’m afraid you have nothing to say to me. You fall in with those that George Orwell described as championing “smelly little orthodoxies.” Check the context. He said that as he praised those who “aways fighting against something” and who are “generously angry” at evils. I can imagine few things that are better to fight against and be angry about than Amazon selling “scores of incest, child rape and bestiality e-books.” And I can imagine few orthodoxies more smelly that to defend those sales and sneer at those who try to stop them.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer

  2. So what? What if someone is doing research?

    “assault on Israel and its legitimacy?” It’s nation, not an idea or a human being. People are entitled to object to a country’s policies, especially one that became a country by literally pushing 750,000 indigenous people in the sea in 1947-48, stealing their land and houses, and then proceeded to occupy the parts they couldn’t get for the last 65 years, depriving them of adequate food and water, and flaunt every UN sanction condemning their actions every since. Oh yeah, and just to teach them a lesson, Israel dropped white phosphorous on them in 2008-2009, which barbecued every child it fell on. And the world community is not allowed to object? You see the photo of the grieving father holding up his barbecued two-year-old missing half of both legs?

    The fable told Americans is that it’s because Palestinians refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, and wants to wipe them off the map or something. Well, I’ve got news for you, and it was published today by MJ Rosenberg.
    http://mjayrosenberg.com/2013/10/15/netanyahus-absurd-demand-that-israel-be-recognized-as-a-jewish-state/

    29 to 30 million Russians died to beat Hitler, because the USA certainly didn’t do it. Anyone honor them?It was General Zhukov who destroyed Hitler, and liberated Auschwitz, not us. Be sure to scroll down to get the whole thing.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jun/22/local/me-43656

  3. Who died and made The Kernel God over all of us? All of those books are available through the Library of Congress or any decent large library.

  4. @Michael, The problem isn’t that books about rape, incest and bestiality were removed. It’s that legitimate books (including plenty of non-erotica titles) were removed along with them. Shutting down an entire site (WH Smith) and pulling every book distributed by Draft2Digital was not a reasoned approach to this issue. I believe part of the reason for the extreme reaction was the extremity of the media coverage. The media does have a responsibility to not yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. The Kernel’s article was pretty darned close to that.

  5. @Michael

    They want an answer that means their daughter isn’t more likely to be molested or raped.

    Please show some proof that books about “incest, child rape and bestiality” have a causative effect in incidents of the forementioned activities. I certainly don’t know that they do or do not but before banning books of *any* type, I would like to see some clear evidence of their harm. Maybe they actually suppress such behavior in real life by providing a vicarious imaginary thrill to someone attracted to such things? Or maybe they really do turn some readers into ravenous beasts who act out their urges? I don’t know but show me the evidence before you start banning books.

    I love the thrill of reading a good murder mystery, spy thriller, or space opera. Afterward, I have no desire to enlist in the CIA or join NASA so I can be chased by assassins or find myself trapped on Planet Gorblox with enraged tentacle monsters. I know it may not be the same thing exactly, but where is the proof that people who indulge in the above mentioned distasteful literary fantasies later act them out in real life, spurred on by what they have read?

    Good societies set limits. Speech that promotes “incest, child rape and bestiality” is no more protected by free speech than free enterprise protects someone who wanted to sell crack cocaine to elementary school children.

    Again, where is the proof of this assertion? I don’t know about all three categories but I am certain that incest is not a theme which has yet been suppressed by courts or Congress. Chinatown, anyone? “My sister, my daughter, my sister!” Even if these topics were to be found as non-protected speech, where do you draw the line? So-called lurid stories? True stories told by survivors, presumably as informative and cautionary tales? Scientific studies with snippets of the actual events included?

    I have zero interest myself in reading such stuff, but I would much prefer that they be put into some kind of adult section, perhaps requiring registration on a site with a credit card as proof of age, rather than chipping away at the First Amendment by attempting to ban them.

    It’s the old slippery slope thing: “think of the children” protections today may seem good to you, but what about the next “think of the _____” campaign that might be persecutory toward any out-of-favor group, ideology, or behavior? I say good societies are open and act with extreme caution and deliberation before attempting to set limits on thoughts and speech.

  6. “FDR’s borrowed many ideas from fascist Italy, attempting to dictate prices, wages and conditions of sale. Only a ‘reactionary’ Supreme Court saved us from schemes that today seem utterly mad.”
    Wild statements. historically inaccurate The US went off the gold standard in 1933, implemented fully by 1934 which saved this country. Your colorings of “fascism” have no basis in the economic reality of what transpired.

    “Whether you like it or not, the fact that Amazon was covertly selling and had to remove “scores of incest, child rape and bestiality e-books from its store” is a problem that, if not solved, means that millions of people, particularly the parents of children, will become skeptical about ‘your’ definition of free speech–and it is your definition.”
    Put a sock on it. Juli Monroe’s definition of free speech is not on trial here, and you’re too hepped up on your own self-importance.

    “They want an answer that means their daughter isn’t more likely to be molested or raped.”
    Then parents better do their jobs.

    “In fact, Teleread ought to be doing similar investigations and eposes. Why isn’t it?”
    Teleread isn’t the Justice Dept, which is a better place for you to lodge your complaints.

    “So, if your definition of speech includes no sensible ways to protect children from ebook-inspired molestation, then I’m afraid you have nothing to say to me.”
    You cite no facts or data to support your wild impetuous declaration about “ebook-inspired molestation.”

    “You fall in with those that George Orwell described as championing ‘smelly little orthodoxies.’”
    And you are a cheesy ideologue. Who are you to accuse Monroe of this?

    “And I can imagine few orthodoxies more smelly that to defend those sales and sneer at those who try to stop them.”
    Speak to the market. Your protestations here are inappropriate. arch, and tiring. You have no business being here. Perhaps you’re trying to peddle your book?

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