malapropsShelf Awareness is carrying an open letter from the general manager of a bookstore in North Carolina to authors planning to boycott the state over a discriminatory piece of legislation the state just passed.

The law, HB2, effectively nullifies local ordnances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s referred to as “the bathroom bill” because it also prevents people from using the restroom of the gender with which they identify if they haven’t taken surgical and legal steps to have it corrected.

As a result, a number of individuals and organizations have announced plans to boycott North Carolina. PayPal canceled plans to open a call center in Charlotte that would have brought 400 new jobs to the state. Bruce Springsteen has canceled an upcoming show there. 269 children’s book authors have posted an open letter (PDF) pledging to boycott the state except for its schools and libraries.

It’s that letter that the general manager of Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café is addressing in Shelf Awareness. Linda-Marie Barrett writes that Malaprop’s has long done all it can to promote free speech, human rights, and tolerance, and it hurts them that authors such as Sherman Alexie have decided to cancel events there. She also complains that the authors’ open letter made exceptions for schools and libraries but left independent bookstores out.

We, as an independent bookstore, share those guiding principles and fundamental beliefs of equality, inclusion and fair treatment. We work hard every day to make sure that books are available to readers and to guard against censorship and intolerance in whatever form it appears.

Boycotting bookstores, she insists, would “directly [hurt] their fiercest allies.”

This puts me in mind of the similar controversy that sprung up in my home state of Indiana last year, when our state legislature passed a religious protection bill that could also have restricted GLBT customers’ freedom. Various businesses including Gen Con and SalesForce announced plans to boycott if it wasn’t repealed. Fortunately for all concerned, within just a few weeks the legislature amended the bill to make it much less obnoxious. It remains to be seen if something similar will happen in North Carolina.

This may not be a popular point of view, given how difficult life has gotten for independent bookstores lately, but bookstores don’t really have as good a case to make for skirting a boycott as nonprofit institutions like schools and libraries. An event at a bookstore will bring in more money, including some from out of state, which will in turn help to support the state via taxes.

If you want to force a change with a public boycott, it’s always going to hurt friends and allies who have the misfortune to be invested in that state—but if everyone made those exceptions for their own allies, the boycott would have a lot fewer teeth. Bruce Springsteen knows he’s going to disappoint a whole lot of fans who’ve been wanting to see him—but if he did the show anyway “for the fans,” it would nonetheless bring more money to the state.

I hope North Carolina comes around as Indiana eventually did. In the meanwhile, businesses who don’t want to be affected by boycotts will have that much more incentive to work to get the law changed. Asking people not to boycott you because you’re one of the good guys isn’t going to help—even if you demonstrably are one of the good guys.


  1. This is quite insane. The same “blue” states and business billionaires who’re making shrill cries about this are also eager to have cooperative trade and business with (mostly Islamic) government that routinely execute homosexuals and even prosecute raped women for letting it happen to them. When money overrides “principles” that easily, you don’t have any principles.

    Note too the contrast between two “blue” culture outrages:

    1. Feminists who scream that science offers a hostile environment to women, screaming bloody murder when the lead scientist working on the European comet probe wore a fantsy-fiction t-shirt (designed by a woman) featuring a less than fully clad woman action figure. Ditto all the “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” and speaker bans on college campuses.

    2. Liberals who want teen boys and men (with all the usual male parts) using girl’s showers and women’s restrooms in high schools and public facilities. Teen girls and women who protest and claim they’re upset will, of course, be demonized. That is if the media even lets them speak out, which is unlikely.

    Those are hardly the only examples of insane levels of hypocrisy. To take but two illustrations:

    1. Hillary Clinton has spent almost her entire adult life attacking and demonizing women who accuse her sexual predator husband of being a sexual predator. Yet feminists and the press portray her as a champion of women’s rights.

    2. The European elite claim that sealing their borders to mass immigration out of the Middle East would signal a return to Nazism. Yet who are those millions of mostly young men? They’re the most rabidly anti-semitic and violent-inclined population on the planet and show absolutely no willingness to change. And that’s not getting into their nasty behavior toward European women, behavior that the European press has been desperately trying to cover up while, of course, claiming to be championing women’s rights. And in comparison the heavily covered up horrors of Rotherham, Cologne’s New Year pales into insignificance. Most of the 600 women in the square that night were merely gropped. The young girls in state custody in the UK’s Rotherham were forced into prostitution. Read about it.


    Much of this is taking place because the mainstream press in the U.S. tilts heavily blue as well as illustrating perhaps the defining characteristic of most journalists. That’s quite simply that most journalists aren’t merely not thinking in this case or that, but they’re incapable of thinking all. Their worldview is a series of stories tha operate in airtight compartments. Certain people and ideas to be promoted no matter how evil, while others are to be put down no matter how good. All those stories operate in airtight compartments. There’s no attempt at consistency. There’s no attempt to import the standards from one story into another.

    To take but one example, Supreme Court Justice Thomas was demonized by one woman claiming (feign gasp of outrage) who accused him of telling the sort of off-color joke that fills evening television. A host of women, many of the active Democrats, have made accusations of rape or gropping against Bill Clinton and yet they get no attention.

    That’s not sane. That’s not rational. That’s a complete and utter inability to think or connect the dots between one set of people or ideas and another. If Bill Clinton can rape and grope, then so can any other political figure. If a guy can force himself into a shower with 10th-grade girls, with full legal protection, then pretty much any sexual harrassment at work on on college campuses is permissible. Keep in mind that, in the case of those teen girls, their feelings not only don’t matter, they’re treated with contempt.

    There’s also the usual widespread ignorance that’s another trait of journalists, as I remarked earlier about the Google book settlement dispute. Sweden tried for years to deal in a similar fashion to our current madness about female-in-a-male body nonsense. They eventually concluded that such people were simply screwed up and pandering to their illusions did those people no good. In the end, it’s just another indentity psychosis much like anoxeria has people who’re starving but see themselves as fat.

    There is one more inconsistency that blue cultures in their madness, seem incapable of realizing. Which is it? Is male/female sexuality simply a social construct having no basis in reality as blue culture dogmaitically insists and tries to enforce. Or is male/femaleness something so deeply embedded in the human psyche that all must bow before it—so much so that a male with all the male parts must be allowed to shower with teen girls and prowl the women’s restrooms at airports? I’ll let you in on a little secret that, as a ‘blue’ journalist you may have trouble comprehending. One or the other may be true, but both can’t be true. Each refutes the other.

    Year ago, I was in counseling and had a client who informed me, quite seriously, that he was a son of Zeus and that, I tried to harm him, I’d be attacked with bolts of lightning. In contrast to the dogmas of blue culture, that guy was quite sane. I couldn’t, after all, prove that there’d not been a secret liason between his mother in Zeus. I can’t even prove that Zeus doesn’t exist. Negatives like that are hard to prove. No matter how much I might search the earth, I couldn’t prove there wasn’t some corner of it where Zeus lives.

    In contrast, these blue madness, mostly about sex, are incredibly easy to refute. If a sexual predator and enabler like Bill and Hillary Clinton are champions of women’s rights, then so are others who do the same.If forcing teen girls to shower with a guy who is merely saying that in his head he’s female is OK, then similar professions that are contrary to biology must also be accepted. Guys can view hardcore porn at work, for instance, and women fellow workers have no right to complain.

    That guy who thought he was a son of Zeus was eventually institutionalized and balancing out his medications did him a lot of good. I fear there’s no hope for this blue madness and indeed I suspect that behind it lies a bizarre arrogance that makes claiming a relation to a Greek god seem minor. The hostility that blue culture displays clearly isn’t grounded in logic, science, good sense or indeed any way of reaching the truth. It’s so mad, it cannot even be consistent with itself. And it’s driven by an elitist mindset and supported by journalists who, as I point out, seem incapable of even five seconds of sustained thinking, thinking that’s long enough to connect these obvious inconsistencies.

    That’s your mindset too, Chris, when you claim that you hope North Carolina will “come around.” Why, exactly, should anyone come around to a POV not only so perverse but so madly illogical and inconsistent. It’s not thinking badly, it’s not thinking at all.

    And that’s not getting into all the harm this madness done and wlll do in the future, particularly to women who must endure these prowling men and the danger that places them and their young daughters in. When everything is said and doen, this isn’t a problem with poor thinking. It’s a problem of not caring.

  2. Indiana didn’t come around very far. Let us not forget its feticide laws that recently resulted in the conviction of a young woman and the sentencing her to 20 years. It is interesting what how anxious white, male legislators are to chain women — make them sexual slaves — and even more interesting that it nearly only occurs in Republican states (the most recent example being Mississippi). Perhaps there is a caveman gene that still dominates the genetic makeup of those who align themselves Republican. Certainly, Republicans provide a cogent reason for supporting eugenics — think how much better off the United States would be in the absence of Republican attempts to take us back to pre-Renaissance days.

  3. “Most of the 600 women in the square that night were merely gropped. ”

    “merely groped” — how would you react if you were in a crowd and someone grabbed your testicles and squeezed hard, would you shrug it off as irrelevant/insufficiently offensive to be worth any outrage or attention?!
    “Supreme Court Justice Thomas was demonized by one woman”
    That’s wrong in so many ways, Anita Hill did not want to testify, she was subpoenas by Congress. There were other women who said Clarence Thomas acted the same way to them, but then were not called on to testify–at least one of them had been called to Washington and was ready to testify under oath, but she did not get called to give her testimony–see e.g. Blinded by the Right by David Brock. Brock’s a journalist who was the main attack dog mouthpiece against Anita Hill. Over time he gradually came to the realization that he had been a willing tool of people who despised him, a homosexual male, to use to push the misogynistic, greedy, intolerant theocratic, minority-hating, homophobic, abusive Republican agenda. His recanting included writing Blinded by the Right, in which he outright said his articles were highly abusive and full of deceit and lies about Anita Hill–and that she was not alone in being a victim of Clarence Thomas.
    I have not read your entire comment, but what I have read of it, is full of malice, deceit, lies, smears, and scorn–and deserves responding to as being full of viciousness, victim-blaming, nastiness, lies, promotes lies, spite, ill-will, spite, and promoting the spitefulness.

    I have old friends whose birth certificates say “male.” Some of the transitioned to female past the age of 50, or even at the age of 60. North Carolina and other places with such laws, are unsafe and inimical to them at the official state policy level. They can’t go to North Carolina in physical or emotional safety: I prefer to be a customer of businesses located in envirions which are not inimical to my old friends, and which do not treat women as chattel (by the way, I met a Saudi Arabian women who actually worked as an engineer -in- Saudi Arabia, the situation is a lot more complex than it looks from the outside. And there may be a higher proportion of women in math and science and engineering there, than there in the USA–there definitely is in Kuwait!)

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