69 million page views

On the used-book flap caused by a self-promoting opportunist

Reader comment on item: Amazon.com's Koran Desecration Problem

Submitted by Marion D S Dreyfus (United States), May 20, 2005 at 12:22

To Amazon.com,

As a pluralistic American (of foreign birth), I am grateful for America's
freedoms and privileges.

I read with interest and dismay of the recent, regrettable instance of a
[presumed] purchaser of a used Koran complaining about its possible
defacement and the hoops through which you were forced to jump at the
behest of a pumped-up partisan constituency that has proved itself time and
again irresponsibly self-promoting.

I say 'possible' because it seems to me, after seeing the deplorable
commotion, apologetics and expense to which you and Amazon and Bellwether
Books have been put through, for absolutely no fault of yours or
Bellwether's or any employee's of either place, this entire episode reminds
me of nothing so much as that disreputable customer of the national chain
eatery where a fingertip was supposedly found in the chili. The story
smelled of self-promotion and extortion, and was soon proven false, as it
rightly should have been. Unfortunately, the food chain suffered enormous
loss of business before the hoax was publicized. Similarly, Amazon and
Bellwether are being put through their unneeded paces by the same sort of
extortionistic performer.

Here, the extortion is artificial breast-beating and bloviation over some
'offense' that was nobody's responsibility and was, indeed, not really any
offense. A scribble in a book is a scribble in a book. No one need know of
it or be aware of it beyond the owner. Amazon and Bellwether ought not
suffer. Nor should there be the unneeded expense of lessons in 'tolerance.'
All employees have common sense enough to know that fanatics don't like
their buttons pushed.

Such extremists deserve to be responsibly ignored or quietly shut up, as
they want nothing but trouble for the United States, in at least one
observer's opinion. Any lessons in tolerance ought to be, instead, visited
upon the perpetrators of this rubbishy excuse for a press conference. Such
perpetrators, instead, ought to be instructed in the need for gratitude at
America's provenance, and the vicissitudes of living in a free society,
which is apparently an unknown to their way of thinking.

That some rabble-rousing customer of a used book finds a scribble of any
sort in any book is of no moment whatsoever. You are not responsible. A
responsible customer would have erased or whited-out the offending words.
Or given away the book. It is a mark of her true intent to disable and
discomfort American industry that she chose to make it the magna carta of
used-book inconsequential consequentialities.

I advise you and your good offices to go on the offensive if such a thing
ever again recurs (I hope it does not) and instead ask why anyone, on any
level, is responsible for a graffito that one might somewhat expect to find
in the purchase of a used book--which is why the costs are so
proportionately diminutive in the purchase thereof.


Marion DS Dreyfus
New York, NY

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)