Today I ran across a several blogs that are asking people to boycott amazon.com for selling books written by Michael & Debi Pearl, a minister and his wife, that supposedly promote abusive child disciplining methods. According to these blogs the books are responsible for the killing of a young child last year. Read the article. I maintain the books are not responsible, but the mother who allowed herself to be misdirected by the books. I have not read the books, but the possibility exists that the mother may have been 'over zealous' or 'out of control' when implementing the discipline. I don't know.
This is from one blog:
Please consider boycotting Amazon yourself.
Some things you can do:
1. Stop buying from Amazon.
2. Privatize or remove your wishlist from Amazon.
3. Go to the pages for this book and this book and leave a negative review tagging the books “abuse” or “child abuse,” or at least click YES that the one-star reviews are helpful.
4. Sign the petition
5. Stop using Amazon links in your blog.
6. Write in your blog about why you’re boycotting Amazon.
7. I just found out that Powells no longer keeps books by Pearl in stock. They’ll come up on a search, but Powells responded to customer requests and stopped carrying the books. So shop there instead of Amazon if you want to join the boycott.
8. Write to Amazon: At the top of the Amazon main page, click Your Account. Scroll way down, and then at the bottom right, under Need Help? click Visit Our Help Department. On the right, you’ll see a Contact Us section, and a By Email button you can click. Do NOT put a subject heading where they ask for a number. Leaving it blank works, but putting in words does not.
I was almost on board, ready to sign the petition, but then I stopped. Why boycott just amazon? The blog said that Powell's no longer carries the books. That's not entirely true. You can get them on back order.
Another blog says this:
HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE PLEADING WITH AMAZON TO STOP SELLING THESE BOOKS.I checked Barnes and Noble and Borders - both still carry Pearl's books. As does Books a Million. Those are the only big chain bookstores that come to mind.
Sign The Petition asking Amazon to stop selling the Pearl's materials.
Other large booksellers have already stopped stocking the Pearl's materials.
So the question I have is this - If we are going to support a boycott, why not boycott ALL major bookstores, not just one? And, are there other books that purport some of the same techniques? What's to be done about them? What about the author's website and their magazine, shouldn't something be done about those? Lots of questions. Answers are harder to find.
The above mentioned article in the South Carolina newspaper includes a quote from Pearl that sounds sane enough. But it's just one quote - not enough for me to form a complete and intellegent decision about him or his books. Also from this same newspaper article is this passage, "The Pearls' teachings helped mobilize another group of Christian parents to speak out against such corporal punishment. The Web site Stoptherod.net rails against the Pearls' first book; the Web site's founders, Susan and Steve Lawrence of Virginia, say the book "reads like a child abuse manual." The Web site encourages parents to post critical reviews of the book on Amazon.com." I think posting negative reviews about this book is a much better idea than boycotting a bookstore.
I also thought speaking out against the books on their website was a good idea, until I visited the website. One good thing on this site is the petition asking congress to ban the advertising and sale of devises for the express purpose of whipping and beating babies and children. Believe it or not, there are devises sold for that purpose. The negative thing about this site is the amount of propaganda. There is a picture of a spanking stick with the caption, "Read how this type of "rod" killed a little girl." Give me a break, people! That stick could not have killed a girl unless it was used repeatedly and with great force. The person holding that stick killed the little girl!
Stoptherod.net is targeting the Pearl's dogma concerning discipline, devises for implementing discipline, as well as James Dodson's books dealing with disciplining. All that is fine with me, but why not present the arguments against such techniques in a rational, educational and critical manner. Instead Stop the rod is using emotionally charged propaganda techniques that are riddled with invaliditness. One such example - this emotionally charged animation of a father whipping his son with a belt. The site labels it thusly, "See and hear a brutal "Dodson-style" child-beating! Click here. The password is nospank". I've only read one book by James Dodson and it was years ago, but I suspect what that video is talking about is NOT "Dodson-style". Surely Dodson is not suggesting beating a child intermittently for an hour, reading scripture in between the beatings and telling the child God hates him. Obviously the parent in this video has a big problem. Sponsoring and advertising this video in this way is a lie.
How many things can you find WRONG with this picture? I mean the whole picture - banned books, books that may promote child abuse, boycotting one bookstore and not others doing the same thing, and websites that use propaganda to blacken other people's reputations.