Monday, June 11, 2007

Indigo and Israel

Canadian writers can't ever get it right, can they? They protest the Harper government for its arts policy and its potential damage to the publishing industry--and now they're saying don't shop at Indigo--because of its owners' political affiliations and support of a foreign regime's military. Sometimes I wonder if I've gone through the looking glass.

There's a big fuss on the go over Heather Reisman's support of the Israeli army. I'm astonished that people are surprised about this. This is the same person, after all, who banned Mein Kampf from her stores. And that people are using this latest manifestation of her overall ickiness as a reason not to buy books at her stores! Even before the Mein Kampf episode, I started boycotting Chindigo and I tell anyone who cares to listen why. Back in 2001, if I recall correctly, is the last time I bought a book in one of their stores. I go in occasionally to browse and use the lieu--a symbolic gesture--but that's about it. It's a terrible fucking business with awful practices owned and operated by people who don't really give a shit about books. These are the reasons not to shop there, not because Heather supports the Israeli fucking army. That's just another reason to despise Reisman.

There's been some back-n-forth over this at Bookninja and a couple of good points have been made, not least among them the fact that the most vociferous protestors are hardly disinterested parties. But mostly it's of the "I'm shocked and appalled by this" variety. But like I said, this is hardly earth-shattering news. I'm stunned by how many writers I know who don't seem to have a problem patronizing Chindigo. The general public's ignorance I can understand, but anyone with a modicum of inside knowledge about publishing and bookselling should be ashamed. And I think anyone who jumps on a bandwagon slamming a private citizen for her private spending whilst saying nothing about their government's foreign policy is behaving like cattle.

A little perspective. Each and every taxpaying Canadian is supporting a military that is involved in a dubious war in Afghanistan that has led to the pointless death of several dozen Canadians and Christ-knows-how-many Afghanis. We're none of us innocent. But what are Canadian writers protesting? Cuts to arts funding--which at this point don't seem to actually exist, but everyone's afraid they will. Natch. Keep fightin' the good fight, Yann!

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