Saturday, January 30, 2010
Erotica at Barnes and Noble
How did it get to be the weekend already? There are any number of things I could blog about today, but I realized that my vacation photo of the Capitol might be a good illustration for an injustice I noticed at my local Barnes & Noble this afternoon.
The Capitol is a beautiful building, especially on a sunny August day, but I'm not at all happy with what's going on inside there these days. Why indeed are the shrill and negative Tea Baggers so powerful at stopping positive change (maybe their bad breath)? What about the voices of Americans who want decent health care, safe food and drugs, the end of Wall Street corruption and so many other reasonable and worthy causes that will make the world a better place for those of us who aren't super-rich?
Can our voices make a difference? Last year at this time it seemed they could. I still have hope, but it's hard to listen to the news these days.
But common wisdom also has it that when you pledge to change the things you can control, like shopping wisely to reward organic farmers (my son tells me bovine growth hormone is basically dead due to consumer resistance), it does make a difference. This afternoon, I was at a Barnes & Noble with my family and I happened to walk by the "Love and Sex" section. There were all kinds of how-to books about sexual techniques and how men and women can understand each other better. And then there was a whole shelf of Penthouse Letters in pocket paperback form. I scanned the display for other erotica anthologies, but I knew I wouldn't find any. According to Barnes & Noble corporate policy, the anthologies are way back in the fiction section. A browser would need to be interested in fiction first, then decide to pick up The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica instead of Best American Short Stories or whatever. I think the store is missing a huge opportunity to sell to browsers who are interested in spicing up their love lives with some juicy, well-written erotica. Okay, I could see the argument that this is nonfiction, but then how did Penthouse get the space? I have a soft spot in my heart for that publication, but come on, what's in those books is pure fiction!
I know, I know, this isn't on the level of health care reform, but do you think there is a way to bring this to the attention of Barnes & Noble? A write-in campaign or something that wouldn't be too demanding, but might make a difference? Because you see, I think writing erotica is all about making a small difference that can become a big difference in our society.
If you have any ideas, please let me know!