How My Daughter Sabotaged a Books-a-Million “Fifty Shades of Grey” Display

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My fifteen year old daughter Camille was at Books-a-Million today in Spring Hill, Tennessee — yes, they still let us in — when she saw a display recommending books to read after the soft-pornographic book “After Fifty Shades of Grey.”   [Read more...]

News Flash: There’s a Middle Ground Between “Porn” and “Prude”

I’m always torn when confronted by the aggressive stupidity of many internet commenters.  On the one hand, when one “feeds the trolls,” they tend to respond with even more aggressive stupidity.  On the other hand, the prevalence of certain arguments is evidence of a troubling mindset and paints a misleading picture of public sentiment.  To some folks, literally any action by a conservative Christian must be opposed, and every form of sexuality must be displayed.  Don’t believe me?  Read the utter nonsense on display in the comments on the Tennessean’s story about Books A Million’s sexuality display – nonsense made all the more remarkable by the fact that the Tennessean’s comments aren’t anonymous.  (My favorite is from a person who identifies herself as employed by United Methodist Publishing who says, “[W]hy are these people so afraid of sex and educating their children about it?”)

Is this Nancy?

Let’s be clear about what happened here.  Nancy took our kids to a much-beloved local book store (something we do frequently), walked with my son to the military history section, and saw a large display that featured uncensored pornographic images.  The display was so large and the pictures so graphic that her first thought was that someone had “punked” the store, had played a prank.  Nancy did not ask the store to remove its sexuality section.  She did not ask the store to stop selling any of the relevant books.  She just asked that the pornographic images not be so easily viewable.

To some people, apparently, that’s the same thing as hating sex, repressing your children, and laying the cornerstone of theocracy.  Here’s one of my favorite comments:

“Because Gays and Lesbians are disgusting monsters that you have to hide from your children, right? [Note: the most offensive picture was definitely heterosexual] Not people that have their own experience to write about and cater to. Heterosexist swine. And what harm comes from your kid knowing that sex exists at a young age. It is a beautiful thing created by God, and this Victorian attempt to cover it up is exactly what has created our hyper-sexualized culture. We should bask in sex as the natural and essential element of human life and relationship and then it wouldn’t become something teenagers are driven to do at a young age and go through lengths to hide their lives from their parents.  It is attitudes like this that emulate the failed Prohibition, you are only fostering a mindset for your children to pursue sexual education without enlightened guidance from parents and other caring adults in clandestine environments like stolen porno rags and internet forums.”

Unbelievable.  Isn’t there a middle ground between porn and prude?  Are people so blinded by their hatred for Christians and love of sexual indulgence that they must defend even public displays of sex acts?  Remember, Nancy was not advocating that Books-A-Million remove a single product from its shelves.

I’m increasingly believing that when it comes to the malicious comments and inane reasoning that dominates much of the internet, (to quote the late Justice Louis Brandeis) “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”  Sometimes bad ideas have to be addressed, and small-minded hatred must be exposed.  Critically, Christians can and should respond to bad speech with better speech.  We simply can’t abandon the virtual public square to anyone, much less the most ill-informed, vicious, and vile members of the secular (or even religious) Left.

My Channel 2 News Segment: Books-a-Million Listens to Customer Complaints

Thank you, Channel 2 News here in Nashville for following this story! And thank you, Books-a-Million, for listening and changing that aisle!

 

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Books-A-Million Listens to Concerned Shoppers and Changes Its Sexuality Display!

How rarely do things in life work out this well?

As I mentioned, on Friday I was doing some pre-Mother’s Day shopping with the kids when I noticed a graphic photo of people having sex on the cover of a book.  Yes, the book was about various sexual positions, but it was right out there for the entire world to see.  The photo wasn’t suggestive, it was completely showing two naked people having sex.  I promptly turned over the book and told the staff that someone had apparently played a prank on them near the military history.

“The books in that section are exactly as we arranged them,” they explained to me.

After I called the corporate headquarters — right there in the store — I came home and did what any concerned parent in the modern age might do.  I blogged.

When the post went live, it immediately began getting traction in the blogosphere.  Then, I suggested to my Twitter followers to Tweet the corporate headquarters to raise awareness.  You guys did just that!  Thank you!

News of the public outcry reached The Tennessean.

When they  reported on the blog – which had gotten a few thousand hits – it put even more pressure on the store. But the store still refused to remove or camouflage the offensive book covers.  Today, Channel Two News called for an interview, so I met them at the store.  When I arrived, I checked my e-mail and found a note from corporate headquarters.  It read:

We appreciate your input on this matter and that you took the time to contact us with your concerns. 
It is not our intent to offend any of our customers with any product that is sold in the store. Books A Million offers a large selection of titles on various topics so that we may provide selections of interest to all ages. We value our customers and consider it a privilege to serve our stores communities. We wanted to let you know that we have taken action to respond positively to your concerns. We are removing the top shelf presentation and ensuring that no graphic covers are front-faced within the Personal Growth section.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance. 
Best regards,

Jeanne Nelson

I was elated at the news.  After my interview with Channel 2 News (which will air tonight at 10:00), we walked through the “Sexuality” aisle and found that they had, in fact, kept their word and removed the books from the sight of shoppers.

Thank you, Books-a-Million corporate headquarters and Books-a-Million Spring Hill for helping parents protect themselves – and their children – from seeing these inappropriate images.

We appreciate your concern for your shoppers and for the community!

 

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The Tennessean Investigates Books-a-Million over Their Pornographic Sexuality Display

 

I was delighted that The Tennessean saw my blog post and did a little investigation themselves.  Apparently, the store in Spring Hill is not following corporate policy when they display pornographic images in full sight of children. (Think I’m overreacting?  This is just one cover — warning, obviously! — that my kids almost saw.)  The Tennessean went to other stores in Nashville and uncovered the fact that other stores did not have such sexual displays:

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Author Nancy French had to do a little extra mothering on a pre-Mother’s Day shopping excursion to Books A Million in Spring Hill.

She was steering her children – ages 13, 11 and 4 – down the military history aisle when saw something that shocked her. She told them to freeze and turn around.

There, on a shelf labeled “Sexuality,” was the book 365 Sex Positions, complete with a cover photo featuring a nude couple demonstrating one.

Read the rest of Heidi Hall’s article here, and if you haven’t already called their corporate headquarters the number is 1-800-201-3550.

Also, here are some suggested Tweets:

@booksamillion ok with #porn near the kids’ section? The one in Spring Hill, Tennessee is! Please RT 2 fight indecency: ow.ly/aV4AM

Check out what sexual book covers @booksamillion believes is ok for kids to see: ow.ly/aV4AM #porn

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