Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Form of trespass upon ideas?

I was just at the local Wal-Mart, perusing the books available--you never know what cool on-sale item you can pick up--and while looking though the books there, each one I picked up had a little card/flyer in it about Jesus returning soon.

Every. Single. Book.

It didn't matter what the topic or style or genre. They were all equally "spammed" in this manner.

Here's the thing: as a would-be author, I was a bit put off by this, as I didn't expect it to be there, and what's more I thought "What if this was my book? How would I feel?"

Well, I came to the opinion that this sort of spamming is a form of literary trespassing. If you want to evangelicize your beliefs, don't foist a card on someone--rather invite them. I found this form of spam troubling. Needless to say, I didn't like it.

So I took all the cards I could find quickly to the customer service agent and complained a little--I wasn't a jerk about it--but made it clear that this sort of thing was not necessarily "cool."

Were I were to have found this sort of thing in my book--a book that deals with some occult concepts (hey, it is fantasy after all)--I think I would have been relatively incensed. Even though I write fiction, still my words aren't to be diluted by someone else's ideas. Nor should my reader, nor myself, be subjected to an undue interference with something even as passive as a card talking about Jesus' potential return.

I don't know, am I overacting? You tell me...


  1. It's the sort of thing I'd be annoyed about, but probably not angry. It's relatively harmless, but you're right - sticking pamphlets in books is an invasion and inappropriate. Also, from a religious standpoint, a bit lazy. I mean, really.

  2. And from a Christian POV, Matthew 6:6 tells people not to do things like this. But that's a digression for another discussion.

    You're right, it is lazy and inappropriate. I wonder how they'd feel if I printed a bunch of similar cards stating "Warning: this book contains fantasy elements not corroborated by science and should not be taken literally, or presented to impressionable youths," and put them in all the Christian literature in the store? They'd be a little miffed, I'd reckon.

    Same idea simply turned on that they leave that kind of jazz alone.