Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Report to Readers: How Henry Bemis Books failed you in June 2017.

We had another record-breaking month of irking people on Facebook, Henry Bemis did.

Though the month got off to a blazing start, with 3 Hides on June 1. Athough a surge mid-month pushed the negative feedback rate to over 40%, the Comstockians got lazy as the month went on, letting stuff slide they'd have been all over in months past.

We got off to an odd start: June 1 was the English diarist Samuel Pepys' birthday, and he got a Hide. His tendency to whore about the alleys of Restoration London, I'll hazard.

Same day, an easier call: after celebrity Kathy Griffin- who is well known for being well-known- got hammered for paying Salome to Donald the Presbyterian's head, I offered an autographed copy of her memoir, Main Book Club Selection.

Once a year or so, I have to go all tabloid, and see what happens. So when Charlotte had three nights of race riots, I offered an autographed copy of Thomas Hanchett's Sorting The New South City, a history of how Charlotte segregated itself in the 20th century (it reached over 3000).

When the dentist Dr Walter Palmer had to lie doggo for weeks after wounding, then stalking and killing, a beloved African lion, I put up all Henry's gun books in the Walter Palmer Holiday Sale. It was a big hit.

So much so, in fact, that on January 21 this year I reoffered them in the See? Obama's Gone and He Never Came For Your Guns, Did He? Sale.

On a lesser scale of reach, but in the same vein, the 90th anniverary of the death of alleged ax murderess and book donor Lizzie Borden got X'd out by one reader, as did a 70s satire, "Fun With Nukes."

June was Gay Pride Month, so- naturally, some viewers were just jonesin' to start Hiding stuff. Six Essential LGBT Authors got the crook, as did poet Allen Ginsberg's birthday; Cole Porter; James Baldwin, an infographic on activist gay and lesbian writers; and a reappraisal of the closeted gay English cleric and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. He got 2 Hides, but also the biggest single-post reach of the month.

Oddly, the morals police let slide the ostentatiously gay poet Frank O'Hara's birthday, along with an article each on lesbian and gay book clubs. The former did, however, generate a daft question from a man I actually know, asking if lesbian book clubs really should be allowed to meet in public libraries.

It's interesting to note Henry got more negative feedback during Gay Pride Month this year, with just a handful of topical posts, than last year, when a gay or lesbian author was featured every day. The times have changed, and political correctness is dead, we are told.

The 75th anniversary of Anne Frank beginning her famous diary got two strikes. After gays, posts about black and Jewish authors get the most negative feedback from Henry's readers, month in and month out (though poets in general got hammered earlier this year during National Poetry Month).

An autographed copy of Colleen McCullough's Caesar's Women got a Hide, as did the death of North Carolina's first woman poet laureate. After gays, blacks and Jews, women come next in the steady roster of Hides on this store's page.

The memoirs of Basil Rathbone, who played Sherlock Holmes in the 1940s, got a strike (a Benedict Cumberbatch partisan?), as did the birthday bio of George Orwell (maybe titling it "The Man Who Invented #AltFacts" was leading a bit with our chin).

And Henry's 20th fumble of June was the promo for the July 1 episode of Rare Book Cafe. Since that was billed, with no irony whatever, as The Patriotic Show, I take the Hide as a personal slap.

So, at month's end, 20 of 72 posts were disfavored: 27.7%. With two Unlikes over June, the end total of stuff people didn't like was 30.5%.

On the other hand, as a percentage of the number of people reached during June, by all Henry's 72 posts, the malcontents amounted to one tenth of one percent.

Onward, then, to the hustings for July! We made it to the 4th before we blotted our copybook: a McSweeney's birthday satire called Kafka's Joke Book.

And I didn't include the cartoon of the cockroach on Freud's couch telling the Doctor, "I think I'm Franz Kafka," either.

Sheesh. Buncha snowflakes.

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