Sunday, September 30, 2018

Try the Waterstone's Game!

You go into Waterstone's book store where all the new publications are displayed and the game should you wish to play it is Spot a Book on Politics and Current Affairs Not Written from a Left wing Perspective. It took me 10 minutes going through scores of titles before I came up with: One! Stephen Pinkers latest work whose title escapes me but is broadly pro reason and positive about technology etc. He us mixed in his politics so may be I should call it half a book. And that was it.

Now Waterstone's has every right to be a left wing bookstore but that undoubtedly is what it is.

I go upstairs and get a new copy of the Fountainhead. I ask the staff member serving me if they have any non fictional Rand. He walks over to a shelf containing political works and says we did have one, I think, on philosophy -I didn't know she wrote any on that subject. I mentioned maybe it was philosophy who needs he and he responded, well you are clearly a Rand nut and know more about it than me.'

I must admit I was a bit taken aback by that and did not quite know how to respond and muttered some lame comment and he replied that perhaps it was an unfortunate turn of phrase and we sort of joked about it and I went off with my purchase. Then I remembered that about 15 years ago I had a similar experience with a Waterstones member of staff when I inquired into Rand's non fiction and what they had. One staffer asked what sort of books Rand wrote and when I said philosophy etc the other staffer who was also present immediately interjected and said in a tone of matter of fact finality 'Rand was coupled with the above mentioned has given me pause for thought re Rand and how anyone who expresses interest let alone admiration for her writing is seen as suspect and worthy of contempt - even by members of staff in a bookshop!

I guess people know the enemy when they see it. Had I gone in inquiring about Hitler's Meine Kampf I would have been treated with more respect and Waterstone's have had that on its shelves in the fairly recent past.

No, when it is Rand even the normal customer staff protocols go out the window.I guess fair is fair. If a writer threatens the whole culture and philosophy of the day and excoriates collectivism its adherents will be unnerved and act accordingly. Still, it's fun going into such a bookstore and reminding people that Rand existed and her philosophy will not be ignored, however much  they wish otherwise.

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