Friday, June 15, 2007

Helping Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn has the time and patience to write this generations version of the Turner Diaries, but can't be bothered to type the word "bookstore" into Google.
Twerpwatch update! [Mark Steyn]

Re my observations on Judge Reggie yesterday, a reader writes:
The Libby judge is a "whiney twerp" for complaining about harassing letters?

This from the blog where conservative pundits habitually whine about the nasty looks they get from the nose-pierced clerk at Barnes & Noble when they buy the Collector's Edition of "Why Reagan is God, Part XXXVIII" - hyperventilating as if they're one step away from the gulag.
Er, you wouldn't happen to have a reference for that post, would you? Can't seem to find it in the archives.
Well, since Steyn isn't smart enough to find the reference, I thought I would help:
John Derbyshire: I must say that, joking aside, I think this is pretty awful. As a book-lover & lifelong patron of bookstores, I am depressed & mildly outraged to learn that this noble business (Samuel Johnson's father was a bookseller) has fallen into the hands of puritanical lefties.

From a Corner reader, posted by Jonah Goldberg: Your comment reminds me of the time I was in a bookstore, waiting in line to purchase a book. The cashier, a smug young man, wore a button that said "I read banned books." I said, "So do I - the Bible." He exchanged his smug look for one of horror!

John Derbyshire: Practically all the people who work in bookstores are granola-eating, mountain-bike-riding, Nation-reading, NPR-listening, Dean-voting, nail-biting, bedwetting L-E-F-T-I-E-S, who scratch one side of their head with the opposite hand, collect old Peter, Paul & Mary LPs, and think that Bill O'Reilly is a beastly bully. They HIDE books by any author to the right of Al Franken. This is a well-known fact. Thank God for Amazon!

Warren Bell: I went yesterday to my local superchain bookstore to buy Party of Death. I rehearsed rhetorical feint-and-jab combos on the way, expecting to have to harangue some assistant manager into keeping the book on display instead of buried in the storeroom somewhere. I was a bit disappointed, I must admit, to find it right up front on the "New Non-Fiction" table, next to all the Bush-basher books and the stunning array of DaVinci Code spinoffs. I had a last-ditch hope for a sneer from the checkout clerk, but all he did was offer extra savings by signing up for a superchain bookstore frequent buyer super credit card - a consumer culture trend which needs to stop, by the way.

John Derbyshire posts: A reader in upstate New York: "Dear Mr. Derbyshire--Just a quick FYI, I was browsing at Barnes & Nobles on Wednesday night and had the urge to take a look at your book Prime Obsession (I am a bit of a freeloader, I like to read the books in the bookstore, since I graduated from college last May the first job does not pay all that well). I had trouble locating it in the math section so I asked one of the helpful Marxist clerks if he could help me find it. He looked around and could not seem to find it, and then he consulted the computer and said that the computer records indicate that they should have seventeen copies in the store. We went back to the math section and then the science section but to no avail. The clerk said that the last name Derbyshire sounded familiar and I mentioned you write for National Review and NRO and he kind of chuckled. In closing, I think either your books are being shoplifted at an alarming rate OR your books are stowed away in the History of Feminism section."

General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, used to ask: "Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?" Looks like Old Nick has all the bookstore clerks, too. Grrrrr.
As James Wolcott has pointed out, the bookstore is "already a derivative setting in the nascent field of blog drama." The brave uprising against the bookstore clerk/librarian/emo record store guy/[insert stock character here] and the foundational mythos of have been already done to death. Conservatives love to tell "war stories" about their brave trips into "hostile territory," as Jay Nordlinger pointed out in the pages of National Review itself.

Considering the way Steyn distilled all of Islam into a stereotype worthy of the finest propaganda posters, one would think he would have been saving these references for his next book, Steyn Alone: How I bravely bought a sandwich, a book and rode a bus with my ethics intact. Since he has been letting them slip through his fingers, however, I'm glad that I can assist with his research.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Happenstance said...

I laughed so hard at that last paragraph, I'm gonna file it away as thoughtporn. Kudos!

12:16 AM  
Anonymous jp said...

This is the best catch:

"I rehearsed rhetorical feint-and-jab combos on the way, expecting to have to harangue some assistant manager into keeping the book on display instead of buried in the storeroom somewhere. I was a bit disappointed, I must admit, to find it right up front on the "New Non-Fiction" table, next to all the Bush-basher books and the stunning array of DaVinci Code spinoffs. I had a last-ditch hope for a sneer from the checkout clerk..."

Damn those bookstore clerks! How DARE they not live up to my preconceived notions! How can I play the victim when they won't even sneer?

What an asshat.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good lord, the victimization and paranoia evident in those passages is both revealing and disturbing. it's like we exist in different worlds. and i'm sure jonah reads the Bible in his spare time. way to stand up to the man, dude.

12:24 PM  
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