Thursday, March 30, 2006
Hey Borders, while you're erring on the side of caution, why not drop the other stuff that might possibly offend the Islamokazis? Here's a starter list, but if you put your head to it you can come up with a bizillion more: Salman Rushdie novels, The Wall Street Journal, Winnie the Pooh books, National Review magazine, the Bible, anything saying anything nice about Jews, anything showing any of the fun parts of a woman, books meant to educate and enlighten girls, the gay studies section, the sex section, the romance novel and science fiction and religion (except for the koran) sections, the cooking section, etc., etc. And definitely cut off that wireless internet access at the in-house Starbucks. Lots of provocative stuff out there.
Or might it occur that caving in just says that blowing up stuff works, making us precious customers and everyone else that much less safe?
Borders jumped the shark at least a couple of years before I stopped working there in 2000, after ten years with the company. Back in the old days, Banned Books Week (late September) was a big thing -- we even had BBW t-shirts and in-store displays of the "Dirty Thirty" most banned books -- and we had no problem carrying The Satanic Verses when it was re-released by an independent publisher. When our store opened, the higher-ups told us that Borders would either carry or order anything currently in print in the United States, with the exception of The Anarchist's Cookbook.
But Borders is no longer a privately owned chain that specializes in books and supports free expression. About eight years ago, I told a co-worker that we might as well be selling guns & ammo or nails & hammers, given the direction of the company at the time. He applauded me and said "Congratulations, you've got it figured out".
Everything now is about the bottom line. I expect them to cave on just about any problem like this that arises.
I couldn't agree more. When did corp. America become so damn anemic? In the old days, there'd be goons on the payroll to deal with troublemakers. Goons! Where are the titans, the Carnegies, the Rockefellers of today?