There was a time in our society where banning movies and burning books was not uncommon, though thankfully we’ve evolved past the point of thinking that art has the power to corrupt and infect young minds. But one story out of Australia this week will lead you to believe that not all that much has changed.
As reported by The Guardian, police raided Australian bookstore Imprints Booksellers this past weekend and demanded that the owner remove all copies of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel American Psycho from his shelves – the book that of course became the 2000 film, starring Christian Bale.
Per classification laws, all copies of American Psycho sold in Australia must be packaged inside of plastic wrappers, and the store’s copies were not. The owner says he received them without the shrink-wrap, and the raid came in the wake of a woman complaining about the lack of protection, so to speak.
“I had a phone call from a lady on Tuesday who was quite aggressive and questioned why we were selling this classified product out of its wrapper,” said the store’s co-owner, Jason Lake. “My defense was it came to us like this. There’s no way I would have removed the wrapping.”
“It was very gentle and polite,” the bookseller said of the police raid. “I just think it’s ludicrous that this person complained about the book.”
The book’s publisher, Pan Macmillan, says that a production error resulted in the books being sent out without the necessary shrink-wrap. Now that they’ve been made aware of the issue, they’re working on ensuring that all subsequent copies sent out to Australian bookstores are up to legal standards.
A satire of 80s consumerism, American Psycho centers on mass murderer Patrick Bateman, and it has been no stranger to controversy over the years. Lake jokes that the book should be banned for its poor quality of writing rather than its content, though he feels it’s absolutely absurd that it’s so controversial.
“In a liberal society people should be free to read what they want to read,” Lake opined.
Amen, sir. Amen.