Saturday, October 1, 2016

"Ten things I hate about you, Henry Bemis!"


Kat Stratford: You're not as vile as I thought you were.

10 Things I Hate About You (Touchstone Pictures, 1999)

Thomas Bowdler’s ghost turns up at Henry Bemis Books at the end of every month, grimacing and handing out Negative Feedback (Aa Facebook euphemism) for our seemingly endless, contumacious, even bragadocious, transgressions against decency and conventional thinking, and he was in fine fettle the end of September!

As we’re reported in previous installments, the things Bowdler hates about Henry Bemis Books falls into come invariant categories: Books and authors with respect to which the terms “woman”, “black,” “gay” and “Jewish” apply, singly or plurally; and and anything that would irk Tami Fitzgerald, director of the Keep NC Safe Coalition.

Bowdler made a few early-month feints: a post on bookmakers’ odds for the Nobel Prize in Literature (9/2- gambling; that’s the date of the post, not the spread); and one on why so many big name writers are also runners (9/3- trendy stuff liberals do).

Then he rushed off to visit nightmares on author E.L. James, I reckon. Good luck with that.

Returning September 8, Bowdler ixnayed an obituary for the author (Hiding My Candy) and entertainer Lady Chablis, the day after her death. This was a head-popper: gay, black, and a drag queen who was in a hit movie and beloved by the citizens of Savannah, Georgia. BIG HONKIN’ ‘HIDE’ ON THAT!

He was back the 9th, exing out Henry’s ad combining news of the Baseball Hall of fame’s release of digital images from the collection of Christie Walsh, Babe Ruth’ manager, with flogging an autographed copy of Walsh’s book on the greatest baseball lineup ever.  I’m not sure into which cauldron of vileness this one falls, but, happily, it reached 1091 others who didn’t bat an eye.

Or maybe it was just a whiff, an unforced error. I dunno.

September 14, an easy layup for Team Bowdler: a bio of the artist-writer-AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, loathed by Jesse Helms just a smidgen less than Robert Mapplethorpe.

We unclenched a bit as month’s end neared.


4 Hides surged in on September 29: one over a nifty graphic novel presentation of how scholars are closing in on deciphering the Mayan language (was it too flip to title it, “Hiya, Maya”? Or was it the pagan thing?); two posts on Banned Books week- one on the ten most-challenged books in the US last year (a threat to privilege?); the other, a New York Public Library quiz to help you find out just how subversive your reading tastes are (res ipsa loquitur).

The last offender was a long piece I actually wrote, rather than just cut-and-pasted with an arch comment at the top. It’s an analysis of AB 1570, a new California that could subject dealers to severe penalties and record-keeping burdens for selling autographed books.

That one was out of left field. Maybe it reflects a view that onerous compliance rules will make booksellers think twice about trading in swill, just as Section 2277 (28 C.F.R. Part 75, based on 18 U.S.C. 2257, you legal voyeurs) has so totally not driven porn producers out of business since Edwin Meese declared the last GOP war but one on the stuff.

Maybe it was a protest “Hide”- Bowdler a situational libertarian, maybe.

Or maybe it was too long. Anyway, WHAM! BOOM! as Batman would say: four hides in a single day!

We like to think Old Tom’s ghost is chilling out a bit. After all, September's negative feedback rate was 5.74% on our posts.That’s down from 7.55% in August; 10.58% in September; and our Everest- 19.4% in June. That was when thirty profiles of LGBT authors- one a day- got a black mark. But relaxing would be a mug’s game.

After all, October is LGBT History Month.

See y’all after Halloween!

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