Ed Driscoll

"We Don't Carry Books By Fascists"

A friend of Cathy Seipp goes shopping for the latest book by Orianna Fallaci in San Francisco’s City Lights book store and gets rebuffed by their clerk:

Peter had taken his seven-year-old daughter to visit City Lights, his favorite bookstore when he was at Berkeley, and had carefully explained to her that one of the distinguished things about this store’s history is that it would carry authors no other store would — even (perhaps especially) authors whose ideas many people found offensive.

So he really had no complaint that there was an entire City Lights table devoted to the works of Ward Churchill — you know, the faux Indian and discredited professor who famously called the victims of Sept. 11 “little Eichmanns.”

However, it occured to Peter that September is the month the English translation of Orianna Fallaci’s new book, “The Force of Reason,” is supposed to be published. And he thought that since he was at City Lights, perhaps he would buy something. So he asked a clerk if they had the new Fallaci book in yet.

“No,” snapped the clerk. “We don’t carry books by fascists.”

Oh no he didn’t! Oh yes he did. Oh no he didn’t! Oh yes he did, and let’s just savor the absurd details of this for a minute: That a bookstore supposedly committed to selling suppressed books wouldn’t carry, of all people, Fallaci, who’s being sued in Italy for insulting religion in “The Force of Reason” but continues to fight the good fight against those who want to suppress books; that someone who fought against actual fascism in World War II should be deemed a fascist by some simpering San Francisco clerk; that this clerk, who was obviously gay, disapproves of an author who defends Western civilization and criticizes radical Islam — when one of the first things those poor persecuted Islamists would do if they ever (Allah forbid) came to power in the U.S. is crush people like that ridiculous clerk beneath walls.

“You’re welcome to buy her book elsewhere, though,” added the clerk helpfully. “Let’s just say we don’t have room for her here.”

The strange thing, Peter said when he told me about all this, is that once he wandered into a radical Islamist bookshop in London — so violently radical it’s apparently since been closed — and even they had a single copy of an anti-Islamist author (Bernard Lewis) in the back. Just for reference, presumably. But not City Lights. That would be too offensive and inflammatory.

Amazing how the origins of fascism–not to mention its definition–has gotten conviently tossed down the memory hole, over the years. Originally, it was a populist offshoot of Marxism.

Now it’s simply shorthand by the left to slander anyone whose ideas they don’t like.

(Via Roger L. Simon.)