Sunday, May 08, 2005

Laissez Faire Books - Hypocrites!

A few months back, I wrote a review on THE BLACK ARROW, the fantastic new novel by Vin Suprynowicz. I proclaimed it to be one of the best "freedom books" of our generation. I heard from Vin yesterday and he told me that Laissez Faire Books had requested a copy of his book and after reviewing it, had declined to carry it. Their reason was:

'We have decided not to carry THE BLACK ARROW. While we are confident that we could sell some and that we will have customers looking for it, we are concerned about offending our customers with what we see as the gratuitous vulgar sexual content. I couldn't see any good reason for including it, and I think it makes the book inappropriate for a significant segment of our market.

Thanks,
Kathleen

------------------
Kathleen Hiserodt
Laissez Faire Books
7123 Interstate 30, Suite 42
Little Rock, AR 72209
501-975-3650
http://LFB.com

I was astounded to hear this for several reasons. First of all, after reading the book, I fail to find anything to substantiate their reason. The following email from Amy Willard (a long time Colorado Republican and office holder in the local Republican party organization who's trying to arrange a book signing for Vin while he is visit there in early June.) puts a finer point on my understanding:

Vin,

The response from Laissez Faire Books just shows how far off center their moral compass has become. They have become so acclimatized to moral decay and gratuitous sexual content that they don't recognize when this type of content is used to make value statements.

Laissez Faire Books should get someone to actually read The Black Arrow instead of just looking at the picture and flipping the pages. My guess is that their current staff haven't actually read either The Black Arrow or Atlas Shrugged. They do carry Atlas Shrugged. I've seen it featured prominently in their catalogs.

Atlas Shrugged has quite a bit of "gratuitous vulgar sexual content", with an emphasis on "gratuitous". The sexual content in The Black Arrow was clearly there to make value statements and it was obvious to the reader, at least to this reader, the moral points that were being made. There was nothing gratuitous about it.

You are quite welcome to share my response with Laissez Faire Books.

Amy Willard


In fact, in "Atlas Shrugged," Dagney Taggart has sex with THREE men she's not married to! Despite that, LFB has chosen NOT to censor sale of that book to their customers.

Another had the following comment:

"...even if "Black Arrow" ISN'T the Next Great Freedom Novel, the chances that the Next Great Freedom Novel will read like a Franklin W. Dixon "Hardy Boys" adventure ("Gosh, chums, whatever shall we do?") is slim enough, that these folks have virtually guaranteed they WON'T stock the Next Great Freedom Novel, no matter WHO the hell writes it. And perhaps that IS something Libertarians and other freedom fighters need to know."


Indeed! Can you imagine a an organization whose parent company is The Center for Libertarian Thought censoring the libertarian books that their clients should read? If it weren't so disturbing, it would be comical.

"The primary focus of the Center for Libertarian Thought is to support libertarian scholarship and to distribute libertarian-oriented books worldwide. We also work to keep the "classics of liberty" in print and available. We strive to do this through the following CLT programs:

* Laissez Faire Books: This division promotes and distributes libertarian-oriented books worldwide."


Perhaps they should add "Except when the books contain love scenes," so that their customers know that despite all their talk about being libertarian, they choose to control what their customers should read.

Isn't it curious that the same company who chose the name LAISSEZ FAIRE would choose to act as a Nanny and suppress the best libertarian book of the year? The very term "LAISSEZ FAIRE", as defined by their own site means "leave the people alone, let them be, in their economic activities, in their religious affairs, in thought and culture, in the pursuit of fulfillment in their own lives".
Maybe a more appropriate name would be "LESS THAN FAIR".

Kathleen Hiserodt, the editor at LFB, has once again proven that fact IS stranger than fiction. Perhaps there are a few libertarian readers out there who would like to personally thank Ms. Hiserodt and LFB for protecting them from themselves. If so, you can phone them at 501-975-3650.

I asked Vin for a comment and all he had to say was, "As a private outfit, LFB of course has the right to stock or not stock any book they choose."
Yeah, I suppose that is true, but I think it is important for those interested in freedom, liberty, and libertarianism to know the kind of hypocrites they are dealing with at LFB. I know that if I were in Vin's shoes, I wouldn't ALLOW LFB the opportunity to sell ANY of my books - past, current or future!

As Amy said, the book does an excellent job of making a moral statement about sex - the opposite of vulgar gratuitous sex. In "The Black Arrow," it's the BAD GUYS who are after sex without commitment, while the HEROES consistently aim to get knocked up and get married.

After you have communicated your thanks to LFB for their consideration and censorship, you might want to go to http://www.endervidualism.com/salon/intvw/vinandscott.htm and read an interview by Sunni Maravillosa where Vin and Scott Bieser, the artist, spent some time discussing the sexuality in the novel.

In an effort to help my visitors fully grasp our appreciation for the mothering efforts of LFB, I welcome your feedback, not only on the topic of LFB and their nearly suicidal reluctance of some oh-so-correct "Junior Republican" Libertarians to embrace the "culture of freedom" when it involves sex or sexiness or drugs or tattooed bikers promoting legalized prostitution or whatever -- cutting themselves off from the cultural revolution and ALL KINDS or lively and energetic potential constituencies -- but also specifically on the topic of sexuality as used in "The Black Arrow," where one of the government's most serious crimes is DESTROYING families. Sex in "The Black Arrow" is represented as the furthest thing from James Bond boffing the stewardess in the galley, or characters in TV dramas conducting little government-approved reminder courses for us on "always using a condom," which have become the norm for "expressing sexuality" in statist, NON-Freedom fiction.

If for some bizarre reason you haven't yet ordered your own copy of THE BLACK ARROW, please go to http://www.libertybookshop.us/mall/The-Black-Arrow.htm and do so at once. Only when top authors can earn a great living promoting freedom, will we be able to truly spread the word.

"An absolutely wonderful read. ... 'The Black Arrow' is a fantastic book ... the 'Gone With the Wind' of our time. ... Good plot action, well rounded characters, the dialogue 'rings true' ... I am, frankly, blown away; I'd read it all over again tomorrow, but I want to get it
into others' hands. I am just SO tickled it's SO good!!!!"

-- South Carolina Libertarian Party activist Mary Lou Seymour


"Vin shoots a wild, bright spark of freedom into a dark, stylized, near-future America. The book's got it all: A freedom underground (literally), and plenty of sex and rock 'n roll. Think Tim Burton's treatment of Batman's Gotham City and you'll come close to the ambiance of 'The Black Arrow.' But for a freedom lover, Vin's hero beats Batman any day."

-- Claire Wolfe, author of "101 Things to do 'Til the Revolution" and "Don't Shoot the Bastards ... Yet"


PS - Sunni Marivillosa has posted an open letter to Ms. H. and also has several excellent comments on her site. Messages on her open letter just keep getting better and better -- especially those from Ms.Hiserodt:

http://www.sunnimaravillosa.com/archives/00000297.html#comments

And check this outstanding blog which also has a new posting on this subject:

http://waronguns.blogspot.com/2005/05/black-arrow-blues.html

Please post a comment
Go here to read comments - http://freewest.blogspot.com/2005/05/laissez-faire-books-hypocrites_08.html

8 comments:

Militant Libertarian said...

I've been wholly unimpressed with Laissez Faire Books for a while anyway. They reprint some libertarian classics, sure, but there are others who do the same.

This is like the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundations "battling gun control" when in reality they choose to support candidates based on their stance on abortion...

Hypocritical and probably fraudulent as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh give me a break. This is no more censorship than a local bookstore not stocking your favorite author.

I asked Vin for a comment and all he had to say was, "As a private outfit, LFB of course has the right to stock or not stock any book they choose." Yeah, I suppose that is true

You suppose? They don't want to sell the book. They have every right not to sell the book. Are they telling others not to read it? No. Are they using force or fraud to prevent others from reading it? NO.

Get over it. They're free to do whatever they want. You're free to take your business elsewhere, and suggest that others do the same. You're even free to lie and call it censorship, no matter how pathetic that is in the face of real censorship.

And, hell, it isn't even a very good book. Perhaps LFB can see the writing on the wall and realize that it isn't going to sell very well outside a hardcore audience.

fran tully said...

The following letter is published here with permission from the author:

From: "Marc Victor"

To: kathleen@lfb.com
Subject: FYI

Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 18:40:21 -0700

You lost me as a customer because you are unwilling to carry the Black Arrow. Are you kidding? Do you really think your customer base wants you to censor out "gratuitous vulgar sexual content" or anything else? We can decide for ourselves what is gratuitous. I mistakenly thought your organization was different from the paternalistic attitude others have. I'm glad to have discovered your true colors. I will send e-mail to everyone I know urging them to boycott Laissez Faire Books.

Marc J. Victor, Esq.

Lawfirm Website: www.attorneyforfreedom.com

Freedom Summit Website: www.freedomsummit.com

Don't Be Afraid of Your Freedom!

Jacq' said...

The links to LFB on my website and blog shall be removed forthwith. WTH, Amazon carries any book you wish to have and shipping is free if you wanna spend $25. Goodbye to the Laissez Faire frumps.

http://jacq.org

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Anonymous said...

It should be noted that LFB changed hands and that since then it has sold copies of the book in question. It is currently out of stock but it was sold for quite a long time under the new owners. Perhaps some mention of that should be made so the current owners don't get blamed for the antics of the previous owner.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that LFB changed hands and that since then it has sold copies of the book in question. It is currently out of stock but it was sold for quite a long time under the new owners. Perhaps some mention of that should be made so the current owners don't get blamed for the antics of the previous owner.