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Parent Freaks Out Over Asimov
Revolution News
© Joe Crowe
February 26, 2004

Asimov's science fiction magazine has been placed upon the hot seat -- or more accurately, the lukewarm seat, by a parent in Grandville, Michigan who spazzed when she saw adult stories in the magazine. Her daughter, age 13, had ordered Asimov's from a school book list.

WOODTV.com's news coverage of the incident is really over the top, casting Asimov's as purveyors of smut, and and WOOD TV as crusaders coming to the innocent child's rescue.

I knew this was coming. As soon as Janet Jackson popped out that boob, I thought, "Look out, Asimov's!"

Obviously, there was some breakdown in people actually reading the magazines that were available on school book fundraiser lists.

The story quotes the book company as saying they dropped Asimov's. Asimov's is quoted in the TV station's story as saying that they are not marketed toward kids, and they confirm that there is adult content. It also says that Asimov's reported they didn't know they were on a school magazine list. The story says that Asimov's said they would, from now on, note on every story whether it was age-appropriate.

So does this mean that Asimov's' paid subscribers now will have to look at warning signs on many stories, all of which they paid money to read, instructing them of the presence of the dirty parts?

That'd be like Playboy putting a note on every pictorial saying "LOOK OUT FOR BOOBIES!"

The TV station notes the specific dirty things the freaked-out mother (FOM) found, with quotes from the FOM about how she was "appalled" and "shaking."

Asimov's has issued a response to the report on their website, Asimovs.com. They say the news story doesn't mention that the book list does not contain only magazines for kids, but includes magazines for kids to sell to adults for fund-raising.

These magazines include Esquire, Vogue, and GQ. Asimov's is listed correctly -- not under Children's -- in the book company's catalog.

Asimov's refutes the claim by the TV station that the book company dumped them in response to the story. Asimov's says they had already left the book company months earlier, over the company's remit rates, not because of this situation.

So the reporter came to Asimov's, and for her report, said what she wanted, including the promise that they'd hound Asimov's until Asimov's stopped selling their dirty book to kids.

Election years are fun, aren't they? Know what else is fun? Explaining to your kids yourself about things you don't want them to read, instead of insisting the things they read do your job for you.

Joe Crowe is RevolutionSF news editor.

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