Objection Overruled | Page 12 | Newberry

Objection Overruled

   “Uncle Blogsy!”

   “Gracious, young Bookhopper! I wish you wouldn’t come up behind me when I’m nailing wanted posters to the wall. I might drop the hammer on your foot.”

   “You dropped it on my head.”

   “Yes, but I can’t be that accurate every time unless I have fair warning that you’re coming around. What did you want, young Bookhopper?”

   “I wondered what you do when somebody gives you a book that’s really objectionable.”

   “Have you been poking through the books I set aside for coffee break reading again?”

   “I said objectionable, Uncle Blogsy, not necessarily obscene. What do you do when you get a really offensive book?”

   “I put it out so people can be offended by it. It’s the only pleasure some people get.”

   “You’d sell something that was thoroughly bad?”

   “I sell nothing, young Bookhopper. I put it out for sale and people decide whether or not to buy it. If they decide not to, it does not sell.”

   “It’s when you become profound, Uncle Blogsy, that you are at your most blogsitudinous.”

   “Keep making up words like that and you will one day be a fine blogger. I can’t set myself up to judge whether or not a book is too objectionable to sell, young Bookhopper, because I just don’t have time to read every book we get in. I might miss something really rank. So there’s no sense claiming that every book that’s put out on a table has the Blogsy Seal of Approval.”

   “But what if you get something that’s inaccurate, misleading, and downright nasty?”

   “You’ve just described half the books in the Political Science section.”

   “Which half?”

   “That, young Bookhopper, is in the eyes of the Beholder. It’s another reason I can’t use my personal standards to judge books for the sale. One person’s objectionable is another person’s sterling virtue. Did I not direct your eyes last year to that small press publication of children’s stories about the heroic Gestapo and its efforts to save the world from evil conspiracies?”

   “Isn’t that the one you put in Judaica so nobody would find it?”

   “”I put the books out for sale. Nobody says I have to make them easy to pick out. Now, take this little item. It’s a beautiful example of twenty-first century publish-on-demand literature.”

   “That’s not a flattering picture on the cover.”

   “Of course not. The lady was writing it about her ex-husband. If you examine the text, you will find that she explains that not only was he a greedy and abusive spouse, who took all her money and made her sleep in the garage if she burnt the toast, he was also a member of an underground terrorist group and only eluded arrest thanks to a crooked lawyer.”

   “That’s the man getting on the airplane with dollar bills sticking out of his pockets?”

   “No, that’s her picture of the judge. The lawyer is the one with the dollar signs in place of eyes. Her husband, of course, is the one sticking his tongue out so you can see the word ‘LIAR’ branded on it.”

   “And she got away with publishing that?”

   “Well, that I don’t know. This could be the only copy that escaped a court-ordered bonfire. But you can see the problem.”

   “Yes, I’d worry about putting that out for sale, too.”

   “Oh, it’s going out for sale, young Bookhopper. You need to pay attention. The problem is that I’m not sure whether to put it in Humor, Law, or Psychology.”

   “Psychology, Uncle Blogsy?”

   “Anybody who’d pay money to have a few hundred books printed when they could have put the same information out on the Internet for free where millions of people could have read it must be crazy.”

   “I’d say that makes sense, Uncle Blogsy, but I think it would be the concussion talking.”

   “Next time stay home and send the concussion over to chat.” 

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