Monday, August 16, 2004

I'm inclined to think half mankind thinks the other half is blind

Glenn Reynolds on the state of the book market: I hate to buy into a theory as seemingly simplistic and cynical as "if it makes Bush look good, it'll be buried" -- but I can't deny its explanatory power. I can't speak for anything but my own personal experience, but I think that's certainly interesting enough on the subject. As I've mentioned before, I worked at a bookstore for most of the last year. I was partially responsible for organizing and restocking the Politics section of the store. Sadly, our stock was just about the same as Lileks' anecdote of a Minneapolis Barnes & Noble last week: The store had many tables of Current Events and Politics, and if I can sum them all up: Bush Needs to Be Dismembered and Fed to Jackals Who Will Barf Up The Chunks For the Maggots To Consume, by Garrison Franken. I’ve never seen anything like it. I tried to rectify the situation, and requested to order in some conservative (or at least reasonably centrist) titles, just for the sake of balance. The best I was able to do was reorder sold-out David Frum, and then only because the manager recognized him as a newspaper columnist. Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rich Lowry – all turned down, because our head office buyer in Toronto thought they were “icky.” She favoured ordering crateloads of Michael Moore (which, unfortunately, sold - this is Ottawa, after all) and Noam Chomsky and Al Franken (which, thankfully, didn’t - much). Even worse, from the tone of her memos to the stores, it really seemed as if she thought she was providing a balance. Her token centre-right titles were Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations, Bernard Lewis’ several works on Islam and Shake Hands With the Devil (possibly not well-known in the American market; a local favourite, possibly because Gen. Dallaire often stopped by to sign copies). Those don't add up to much, compared to the front-and-centre display of Moore, Franken, Ivins, Corn, Huffington et al. My complaints tended to be gently humoured; often, my order suggestions were rebuffed at the store level, so as not to frighten the buyer too much. Imagine if she'd known there was someone in the store who noticed and resented her remarkable selection bias, someone who saw a pattern in the shipment after shipment of Bush-bashing bile that arrived every week like clockwork? Heavens! At least I got the satisfaction of moving the displays around to put these two side by side. I hope eventually someone noticed the irony in contrasting them – Democrat + War = Hero vs. Republican + War = Evil – but I doubt it. I really do. Update: Nifterrific - an Instalanche! I feel all special, n' stuff. Welcome, all.


Blogger Wile E Coyote said...

Glad to see folks out there who realize that the "literary" establishiment appears to consist largely of folks who could not pass Math 101. Logic does not exist, but what appears to be logic is held to the highest esteem.

Keep on rocking! Remember, if Kerry had any real accomplishments, he would not have to rely on the "bad" war to support his claim to fame.

Ever notice that he's admitted to "war crimes," but changes his story whenever confronted? Take it from an actual military guy (with a LOT more academic expertise than he'll ever have)...this guy is 1) a liar, 2) a looser, and 3) someone who ANYONE with true military experience would be most happy to be rid of (hence the Navy's rapid acceptance of his application to "chicken out" of Viet Nam). The Navy wasn't dumb. He is. ("A law degree does NOT necessarily constitute an education.")

8/16/2004 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rich Lowry – all turned down, because our head office buyer in Toronto thought they were “icky.”Ah, yes, another example of the storied "fairness" of the Left, where anyone with whom you disagree is denied a voice if at all possible. But this is not "censorship!" It's reasonableness.

It makes me want to strangle someone. And BTW, the local Barnes & Noble here in Tucson has a table set up as precisely described by Lileks. Conservatives need not apply.

8/16/2004 11:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that it's always Barnes & Noble people bring up.

Here in Nashua, NH, the local Borders has a wide & reasonably balanced selection of political books. In contrast, the local Barnes & Nobles looks like a front operation for the DNC.

8/18/2004 10:01:00 PM  

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