Friday, March 31, 2006

Borders' CEO barks back...

Before you get to the good part, do your homework.

Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries."

For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

More at the link.

Here is another link to the San Fancisco Gate, same story.

So a bunch of bloggers decided to pounce on Borders to teach them a lesson...
This post at Red State illustrates the point.

Can anyone surmise their reaction if Jerry Falwell came in and told them the Bible should be on the top shelf? They'd politely tell him no and show him the door and the press would ridicule the "Christian extreme right." Or the local Rabbi asked that the Torah be given pride of place on the shelf?

Well, Borders will get one thing from it. I've bought my last book from Borders.

There's more. Lots more, including a volley of righteous indignation from readers in the comments thread.
You get the idea.

Now go to Gerard Vanderleun's blog and read the reply letter from Borders.
No snip can do justice to the whole letter, so go read the whole thing. Really, this time, just do it. Then enjoy the comments. This is about the most satisfying piece of prose I have read all year.

At Borders we make a "business" out of Free Speech and Free Expression. It's a core value. Three other not-so-obvious and possibly competing core values at Borders are 1) Make a profit, 2) No riots in the store, ever, especially not in the Children's section, and 3) All employees and patrons get to home at the end of the day without a side trip to a hospital.

Now you and the other bloggers who are sitting around safe in your undisclosed locations may feel that I have a duty to carry the 46 copies of Free Inquiry magazine with those drawings of the Prophet (Peace be upon his raggedy ass.) in the name of being the last, best bastion of Free Speech in America. I feel your pain, but after due consideration I must respectfully instruct you all to just pound sand.

Who do you think we are up here in Ann Arbor, the 82nd Airborne?


Anonymous said...

I do believe that we are looking at a satire of an arrogant executive. If not, we are looking at sufficient evidence that Gregory P Josefowicz of Borders Group has gone right straight over the edge. If that letter is real, his tenure at Borders is surely somewhere very close to its end.

David L.

Hoots said...

We are looking at the weblog of one of the most gifted writers on the internet, Gerard Vanderleun. And now that the date has caught up with the letter, his entire, beautifully-timed project comes together on April First!

Performance art at its satirical best. That's why I like the internets. And especially why I look forward to whatever Gerard does next.