Borders is one of the largest booksellers in the world. Their stores are multi-story libraries and reading rooms with nightly performances by authors and social agitators of all stripes. The first time I walked into a Borders it was amazing to be in a bookstore the size of my college library, a bookstore that advertised that it offered 25% of all the books in print. That was an awesome number. To a bibliophile Borders was like crack. To a non-bibliophile Borders was a reason to become one. Every single person who worked at Borders loved books. They were not working there for the money, for the money was not good. They worked at Borders to be among books, the look of the books lined up cover to cover on the shelves, the smell of coffee, the presence of other book lovers, the sound of reverent whispers in the stacks or college students discussing their latest assignments. And of course there were the newspapers stacked up on the shelves and the shelves after shelves of magazines, all the magazines covering feminist literature, and bikers, and videogames, golf, stereo systems, paganism, phrack and 2300, mass-market magazines, magazines about every possible religion or atheism, graphic novels, music, all the all the all the magazines.
Well, all the magazines except Free Inquiry. In its current issue, that magazine carries the cartoons from Jyllands-Posten in Denmark that have served as an excuse for crazed Islamists to kill each other and burn down embassies all over the world. Apparently, this has put the fear of God, or at least the fear of Allah, into Borders, and the chain has bowed its head in obeisance to the honeyed threats of Islamists and refused to carry the magazine. The chain that stands for freedom of the press has taken a stand against publication of innocuous jokes. The chain that believes in carrying books that speak truth to authority has refrained from carrying a magazine that pokes fun at the scare tactics of a society of bullies. The chain that has the largest self-help and pop-psychology sections I’ve ever seen will not carry a publication that might puncture the fragile ego of those who are immersed within a failed, outmoded society and help them air out their misconceptions and come to a more educated, cosmopolitan, complete understanding of reality.
Many people think
this is Borders’ actions are wrong. In a response to Roger L. Simon, “ECS” wrote the clearest reason yet why Borders should reverse their decision.
Borders main store in lower Manhattan is on Broadway near Wall Street – it wasn’t always there. I work five short blocks away from its original location. I would go in at lunch or on the way home to browze and buy.
I have to wonder now how many customers that morning passing through the mezzanine who stopped at Borders and grabbed a Times, a Post or a coffee and croissant before stepping into the elevator to their deaths that September morning.
Islamofacists literally destroyed our Borders that morning and now they have destroyed their corporate soul.
Doesn’t Borders owe something to the customers who made that last purchase?
It’s unedited, but could it be any clearer?