Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: That Book, The Ban That Isn't, Farcebook And Outsourced Hypocrisy

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  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Personally, I see no value in this book, and I have no problem with Carole or any other bookseller choosing not to stock it. And I’m really not sure it’s a story any of us need to hear – at least not in this way.

    Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but I’d like someone to ask Carole WTF she bothered opening a feminist bookstore in the first place. After all, who needed to hear women drivelling on about stupid lady-crap? Or why Unity Books founder Alan Preston made a point of making contentious, unfashionable or downright unpopular books available – and put his time, money and reputation where his mouth was standing up to Customs harassment and the Indecent Publications Tribunal.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Every bookstore does not need to sell every book. The Women's Bookstore has always been a shining example of that.

    If 'Christian' booksellers want to peddle Wishart's wares, for instance, they're welcome to.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but I’d like someone to ask Carole WTF she bothered opening a feminist bookstore in the first place.

    Sorry, when did Ian Wishart, or any of his subject matter become feminist? I must have missed a press release somewhere...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It's just an unprincipled world, innit.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’d be more comfortable if they’d just made a commercial decision and owned that. Shifting responsibility to the tiny proportion of their user base that bothers to vote is hardly a brave move.

    The indolence of the majority de facto validates the retention of power by an elite? Errrrr.... I think not (he says in his most harrumphing tone).

    If the dozy majority don't like the decisions made by those of their fellows who are engaged and involved, then they'd damn well better get off their asses, inform themselves and vote. If they're happy to leave the decision making to those of us who are already informed and involved well, that's not as good but it's still better than leaving it to a handful of people who think they know best.

    That applies as much to Trade Me as to Parliament. So good on a commercial enterprise putting a decision affecting a tiny bit of revenue into the hands of those it's meant to serve. Now if only some truly important decisions would be divested by other institutions who cling to their belief in their innate superiority.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    Sorry, when did Ian Wishart, or any of his subject matter become feminist? I must have missed a press release somewhere…

    Carole Beu's public statements are well on the record and linked to in the post. I find it rather ironic that she's talking about "sensitive subjects" that should never be discussed when feminist bookstores (and publishers like Virago and The Women's Press and the Spiral Collective that originally published a novel by a certain PASer) because all that feminist shit was kind of icky to the "mainstream" booktrade.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    Every bookstore does not need to sell every book.

    No, but I rather every bookseller 1) avoided outsourcing their moral compass to Facebook and/or 2) actually made their decisions with a grain of intellectual rigour.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    You sure you're not just applying a different ranking; elevating freedom, consistency or suchlike above other considerations? I trust Carole Beu knows by now what product best fits her store's market and principles.

    And the assumption that retailers are reacting primarily and directly to this Facebook protest group seems a bit dubious.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    And the assumption that retailers are reacting primarily and directly to this Facebook protest group seems a bit dubious.

    I've e-mailed The Warehouse and Paper Plus, inviting them to clarify exactly what was the level and nature of "significant" objection that lead to them declining to stock the book. They have declined. So, as long as the claimed 30,000+ strong Boycott The Book group keeps being cited, and it's rather unusual I think you'd grant, I don't think I'm exactly making an unreasonable call.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I've e-mailed The Warehouse and Paper Plus, inviting them to clarify exactly what was the level and nature of "significant" objection that lead to them declining to stock the book.

    From your Beu link above, both chains make clear enough statements about that.

    Paper Plus CEO Rob Smith said the company had received a lot of feedback from customers about the book.

    "We have also been in close consultation with our franchise holders and staff to understand their position on this subject," Smith said

    "The prevailing opinion is that our stores do not feel comfortable selling this book and our customers do not want to buy it.

    "This is certainly not about censorship or Paper Plus taking the moral high ground. We are simply listening to our most important stakeholders and acting in accordance with their feelings."

    The Warehouse general manager of merchandise Nick Tuck said the chain had also had a lot of feedback from customers asking it not to stock the book.

    "We have listened to its customers and The Warehouse has chosen not to stock the book."

    You might therefore want to revisit your firm declaration:

    ...The Warehouse and Paper Plus in bowing to pressure from the Boycott the Macsyna King Book group on Facebook...

    And Beu in that story seems primarily concerned about the potential position of booksellers with the matter still before a coronial court.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rex Widerstrom,

    The indolence of the majority de facto validates the retention of power by an elite? Errrrr…. I think not (he says in his most harrumphing tone).

    If the dozy majority don’t like the decisions made by those of their fellows who are engaged and involved, then they’d damn well better get off their asses, inform themselves and vote. If they’re happy to leave the decision making to those of us who are already informed and involved well, that’s not as good but it’s still better than leaving it to a handful of people who think they know best.

    The TradeMe rep seemed to think that they were due praise for staging the vote – which, will, like every TV phone-in poll – be full of angry people who want something banned (even though, in this case, they haven’t read the book they want banned).

    TradeMe’s not an electoral system – the huge, overwhelming majority of its four million users won’t even know this is happening. What TradeMe is saying is that it won’t protect any speech that a mob can be raised against. I’d rather they had a policy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    And Beu in that story seems primarily concerned about the potential position of booksellers with the matter still before a coronial court.

    And that is a very valid objection to carrying the book. Wishart's conduct in seeking to hawk a version of the "truth" by exploiting the formal truth-seeking process is ... typical.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    And Beu in that story seems primarily concerned about the potential position of booksellers with the matter still before a coronial court.

    As others have pointed out, Paper Plus has had no problems selling rankly speculative titles on open cases like this. I also understand Paper Plus and The Warehouse just ignored objections from the public (and staff members) to their selling Paul Henry’s fatuous twatcockery and so they should.

    So, yeah, pardon my scepticism about how closely, and consistently, they “listen to their stakeholders”. Or not, as the case may be. As Russell said, if they’d just said “who needs the fucking bother, we can’t afford to have tens of thousands of people boycotting our stores in the middle of a recession” at least that would be clear, and honest.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    As others have pointed out, Paper Plus has had no problems selling rankly speculative titles on open cases like this.

    Hmmm ... not quite the same. Kate McCann hasn't tried to gazump an inquest into her daughter's death by releasing her version of events during it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Wishart’s conduct in seeking to hawk a version of the “truth” by exploiting the formal truth-seeking process is … typical.

    Hey, as I’m getting sick of saying I’m not defending Ian Wishart’s journalistic ethics or morals – that truly would be defending the indefensible. But this is a serious question: Should these same booksellers decline to carry any titles touching on the (open) rape charges against Julian Assange? I think it’s depressingly obvious that the Julian Assange Fan Club is large, wired and not slow to express its displeasure.

    Hmmm … not quite the same. Kate McCann hasn’t tried to gazump an inquest into her daughter’s death by releasing her version of events during it.

    That’s a fair point, but would it also be fair to say that Kate McCann’s version of the events surrounding her daughter’s disappearance is (shall we say) contested? I’m also not entirely sure how King and Wishart are “gazumping” an ongoing coronial inquiry. The legal issues involved are wayyy above my pay grade, but I'm not sure how Breaking Silence is prejudicial as opposed to being in exceedingly poor taste.

    Folks who don’t like the idea of the right to silence and believe Macynsa King must be guilty of something worthy of the Shit Parenting Hall of Infamy, are pointing their ire in the wrong direction.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    To be honest, I don't think I can improve on what I tweeted on Friday:

    It occurs to me that if Ian Wishart's book was set on fire I'd feel obliged to piss on it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ironic side-note: Wishart is publishing press releases announcing that "free speech died in new Zealand today" on his blog -- but turning off comments to prevent anyone responding ;-0

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ironic side-note: Wishart is publishing press releases announcing that “free speech died in new Zealand today” on his blog – but turning off comments to prevent anyone responding ;-0

    Heh... Karma's a bitch. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I read a phrase in that as:

    Big Brother had a secret agenda. Helen Clark is watching us

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Big Brother had a secret agenda. Helen Clark is watching us

    If she is, I'm going to have to spend more time walking around the house naked. That should put her off in short order.

    Paul Little’s HoS column on the matter is pretty bloody good.

    Indeed - and an atypically sensible (if not entirely helpful, tonally) editorial here.

    Money quote:

    To condemn someone for what we imagine they will say - indeed to seek to stop them saying it - is to take public discourse to a new low. Macsyna King has not, let it be remembered, been charged with a crime.

    Those who sneer at the idea that she is still tarred by association with the twins' sickening deaths might care to ask themselves what degree of separation from a crime they would seek before allowing someone's gag to be removed. At this stage, and still unread, King's story is not, of itself, offensive. In a civilised country, public odium is not sufficient reason to deprive someone of human rights, including freedom of speech.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    He also says this:

    On the King book, he promises "answers". It remains to be seen whether he will supply any - but based on his previous works, that might be the best reason to boycott the opportunity to find out.

    It's about Wishart in my book.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Cecelia,

    It’s about Wishart in my book.

    Well, Celia, you can impute all the bad faith and ethical squalor in the world to Wishart and I’m not going to argue. But, perhaps, this isn’t really about Wishart. The problem with standing up for free speech is that often lands you far too close to unpleasant people.

    (And, personally, I’d warn the Herald on Sunday against getting too high on its editorial high horse over Wishart’s ethical probity. That paper has too much form for *cough* not letting facts get in the way of a good story and downright sleaze for that halo to sit comfortably. Helen Clark, Peter Davies and David Parker may also have a few things to say about APN’s two faces when it comes to spreading and enabling Wishart’s muck.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Cecelia,

    It's about Wishart in my book.

    Indeed.

    King had received only three slices of pizza over lunch for contributing to the book and would not receive a share of the royalties, Wishart said.

    “free speech died in new Zealand today” on his blog – but turning off comments to prevent anyone responding ;-0

    NFR? He's fallen on his pen.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Wishart makes his bed, so too should he lie in it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

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