Bookstore employee frets at selling un-PC book

From Tom Knighton at PJ Media:

When my wife and I first started dating, I worked as a retail drone at a chain bookstore. One of the things I had to do at the time was help people find books that I didn’t care for. From what I’d grown up referring to as “cheap, trashy romance novels” to political books that simply annoyed me, I helped my customers find them all and never really thought much about it. After all, I wasn’t paid for my opinions on most of those books unless a customer asked me, and then I’d reply that I hadn’t read it so I couldn’t tell them anything. However, at least one person who is currently in that position doesn’t seem to understand this. More.

The “Banned in Boston” shelf censor to whom he refers wrote:

Working at an independent bookstore in the Greater Boston area, I find myself having some variation of this conversation a few times a week. To be fair, bookselling, like any retail or service job, comes with its fair share of repetitions. For example, the sales pitch for our loyalty program is so ingrained in me that it comes pouring out in a breathless flurry of words. Such things are largely innocuous, a necessary (if not occasionally tedious) part of the job. But when it comes to the above conversation concerning J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir, there is something a bit more personal at stake, viz. my moral objection to the book that has become, for conservatives and liberals alike, a means of understanding the rise of “Trumpism.” And while it’s easy enough to take this moral high ground, it comes into direct conflict with that old chestnut about the customer always being right, to which even the most fiercely independent of bookstores largely adhere.

I don’t intend to review Elegy here. More capable pieces have already been written about the book’s “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” message, its condemnation of a supposed culture of poverty, its dismissal of the working class’s material reality as a determining factor in their lives, and its callous claim that the welfare state only reinforces a cycle of dependency. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because these are the same rightwing talking points that have been leveled at the working class and poor for decades. As if that weren’t enough, the book also boasts glowing blurbs from the likes of…

Reality check: What “Banned in Boston” mainly doesn’t understand is that he is one of the reasons Trump got elected. Americans feel they need their freedom more than they need his opinion. But if the world was as he’d like, it would be impossible to have an honest discussion of causes of poverty in a once-free society.

See also: Trump forcing people to choose

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