Yup, Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has his say on the Yale University Press brouhaha. This Christ I quite agree with, at least as far as this matter is concerned.

It’s a curious feeling: I want to read the book, but at the same time I’m angry with the publisher for giving out only a truncated, mutilated version because they are cowards with misplaced guilt. Maybe I should buy two copies and mail the second back to the YUP, mutilated and pissed-on and with the word “coward” smeared on it with a suitably demented shade of lipstick.

Or maybe that would be overdoing it.

Okay, that would definitely be overdoing it.

A picture of that could be in a dictionary next to the definition of “overdone”.

Except that a wide panel of dictionary experts would unanimously advise against the inclusion of such a picture, since the like can easily be found on the Internet.


After all, publishers may be pissants but books are holy because they store the wisdom and mistakes of people who will eventually and inevitably be no more. In a way there’s nothing more heartbreaking than a list of lost books. It’s not just the lost knowledge of things that were; books and similar things are the only form of immortality currently available (in addition to procreation, of course), and when the last copy burns, that author is so much more dead and gone forever.

And what relation this mock-poetic drawl has to the YUP case? None, except it illustrates (I hope) the half-baked philosophical reason I’m touchy about things like these.

(Footnote: I am especially angry that Suetonius’s Lives of Famous Whores is lost. Now that would be some classic to plonk at the schoolchildren. “Worth learning Latin now, boys?”)

3 Responses to “Yup, Hitchens”

  1. Iason Ouabache Says:

    I’ve got a better idea! We need to make up stickers that have the Muhammad cartoons on them. Then we go to bookstores selling the books and put the stickers on the cover of all of their display copies.

    Ok, that would probably be illegal and they would probably arrest us and/or make us buy all of the books that we “deface”. It would so be worth it though.

  2. masksoferis Says:

    “Honey, why’s there a sticker of a turbaned man on my cookbook?”

    “Dunno. One of those anti-theft thingies maybe?”

    “Must be. Do you think anyone would mind if I, uh, peeled it off and put it in the trash?”

  3. Iason Ouabache Says:

    I meant the display copies of the Yale books but that would be even funnier. :D

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