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April 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

From the CEO of Borders to the bloggers who've been pillorying his chain for not stocking a magazine with reprints of the Muhammad cartoons:

I run a bookstore. A book store. I run a big bookstore. I've got 34,000 people, real people, working for me every day in lots of places around the US and in other countries too. Those people owe Borders, every day, one good day's work. Borders owes the people who work for it a safe day's work. I've got stockholders too, but let's leave them aside for now, because as much as you may think so, this is not about money. (And yes I caught that business about the fact that we're trying to open stores in Arab and Muslim countries, but as you may have noticed every country these days contains an Arab and Muslim country.)

My bookstore is in a lot of places and it has, in employment and other matters, an open door policy. It advertises its address. It's not hard to find. You can Mapquest it. If you are lucky you can park your fully-loaded van or truck right next to it and set the timer. During business hours, all our employees are "home." Call me paranoid, but you don't get to be the CEO of a big corporation and not think about these things.

Like the United States itself, we're into "Open Borders." Like the United States, Borders lets anybody in. But we're not running some sort of NSA airport check-in deal at the door. You open our door and you walk in and somebody says "Welcome to Borders." You can come as you are and wear whatever you choose under that long and suspiciously large coat. We've no dress code when it comes to our customers. You can be locked and loaded in more ways than one because, hey, its a free country with a strong Second Amendment as well as a First.

Yes, we have security, but you may have noticed that they are not wearing body armor, carrying automatic weapons and patrolling the cookbook section in an up-armored Humvee. It's just not the Borders Way, bloggers. If you ever stopped filling up your cart with clicks at Amazon.com and visited a store, that's what you'd find.

Don't get me wrong. At Borders we make a "business" out of Free Speech and Free Expression. It's a core value. Three other not-so-obvious and possibly competing core values at Borders are 1) Make a profit, 2) No riots in the store, ever, especially not in the Children's section, and 3) All employees and patrons get to home at the end of the day without a side trip to a hospital.

Now you and the other bloggers who are sitting around safe in your undisclosed locations may feel that I have a duty to carry the 46 copies of Free Inquiry magazine I'm going to sell chain-wide in the next month. You know, the one with those drawings of the Prophet (Peace be upon his raggedy ass.). You might feel I should do this in the name of being the last, best bastion of Free Speech in America. I feel your pain, but after due consideration I must respectfully instruct you all to just pound sand.

April 3, 2006 | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 7, 2006 9:29:38 AM


Either this is a fake, or said CEO has gone off his nut.

Posted by: David W. | Apr 3, 2006 10:25:50 AM

How could he say "raggety ass" and be trying to fulfill the intent of the letter. I thought it was legit until then.

Posted by: LowLife | Apr 3, 2006 10:42:37 AM

The rest of that link is pretty contemptible. There's a lot of gibberish of the Those People Are Just Crazy nature, and the notion that a Borders in America would actually see riots and terrorist attacks over carrying a few issues of this magazine is both ignorant and paranoid. The obsessive focus on the cartoons has obscured the fact that the riots didn't break out until months after they were published, and after an organized, protracted campaign that exploited everything from widespread poverty and dissatisfaction among unassimilated Danish Muslims to Israel and the Iraq War. There's a reason why the riots have all been in places with large populations of dissaffected, alienated or disaffected Mulsims: because the cartoons (and the campaign to turn the cartoons into a riot) were a tipping point that set off populations already outraged over a host of other, larger issues. Whatever else can be said about America, it actually has a much healthier relationship with its own Muslim population - despite its government's recent foreign policy - than most of Europe does, and as long as we continue to ignore idiots like Charles Johnson and the CEO of Borders, we should hopefully be able to keep saying that.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Apr 3, 2006 10:43:36 AM

Still more of allowing fear to rule your life. You are more than welcome to tremble with such cowardice, but as for me, 'No thank you.'

Posted by: stumpy | Apr 3, 2006 11:00:41 AM

the commenters at LGF seem to think it's a hoax. and although this excerpt is relatively coherent, the rest of the letter isn't.

the april fool's scourge continues...

Posted by: tom | Apr 3, 2006 11:12:18 AM

If this isn't a hoax that guy is off his nut. although parts of it are fun to read the very idea that the head of borders happilly reads any of those right wing lunatics is too scary to contemplate.


Posted by: aimai | Apr 3, 2006 11:17:39 AM

That "raggedy ass" comment launched that letter careening into Patrick Byrne Overstock.com "conspiracy to drive down the value of my company so hedge funds can scoop it up cheap" territory.

Until then, I (who never saw a free expression I didn't like) was ready to endorse his business decision. I was also ready to laugh all the way to the nearest B&N with that horrendous writing -- by the CEO of a bookstore! A big book store!

Yeah, hoax is looking pretty good right about now.

Posted by: diddy | Apr 3, 2006 11:18:42 AM

And if it's real, you can add the CEO of Borders to the "Jill Carroll is a traitor" club (letter is dated this past Friday):

"Press two to report publishers who offer less than two million dollars for the story of your 'kidnapping' by Iraqi extremists and your two month vacation in the Rachael Corrie Health Spa, Baghdad."

Note that there is at least one hoax associated with this letter at that "American Digest" blog, but that doesn't disprove the original letter. Interestingly, there are no Google news hits on this, although you'd think there would be by now.

Having said all of that, the odd thing is that the excerpted part here makes a good point, which that a lot of this is right-wing bloggers, from their not-easily-findable physical locations, loudly insisting that other people expose themselves to risk. (And yes, there were physical attacks on stores and publishers over The Satanic Verses, so that's not a foolish worry.)

Posted by: DonBoy | Apr 3, 2006 11:48:17 AM

Of course this is an April Fool's joke. The CEO of Borders is not going to be familiar with Instapundit's first name and the rest of the blogistan trivia he sprinkles throughout this open letter:

"Don't get me wrong. In my 26 minutes of free time every day, I read and love Glenn, and Roger, and Allahpundit and The American Thinker and all the rest of you down to the roots of my remaining hair. I respect their courage and their dedication to principle. And then, finally, Charles, we come to you....

"Now I like Little Green Footballs a lot, except for those Kos-o-vite trolls that keep spraying flecks of sputum all over your comments sections. But if you and your other blogomeisters think for one split nano-second that I'm going to stop being the CEO of Borders and take on the marching Muslim morons so that Western Civilization sleeps comfy in its free-speech security blanket, you've got one deflating green football on your hands. And I respectfully suggest you regroup."

Posted by: noswald | Apr 3, 2006 12:32:48 PM

If we were talking about a Borders in Baghdad, I might understand. But we're talking about all Borders. There were exactly zero violent incidents in the U.S. in regards to this. There is no evidence to suggest any would happen in the future on U.S. soil.

It may be the right-wing bloggers that are taking the issue front and center, but this doesn't seem to me to be an issue that divides along partisan lines. Free speech is something we all appreciate. I wouldn't go so far as to say they have an obligation to carry the book, it is afterall a private business, but their reasoning for doing so is just lame and without evidence to justify it. Therefore, I see no reason those of us who disagree with it shouldn't complain.

Posted by: Adrock | Apr 3, 2006 12:44:16 PM

Mark Kleiman (whose site I was visiting immediately before this one) seems to be in the "this is a hoax" camp.

Posted by: Mr Furious | Apr 3, 2006 3:04:22 PM

OK, I'm feeling dumber now for believing it...but assuming it's fake, I wonder how Mr. Josefowicz and the Borders legal team feel about it.

Posted by: DonBoy | Apr 3, 2006 3:44:46 PM

"I wonder how Mr. Josefowicz and the Borders legal team feel about it."

I imagine their Borders privileges have been revoked...

Posted by: David W. | Apr 3, 2006 4:14:40 PM

Gosh, that "CEO of Borders" writes exactly like Gerard van der Leun used to on the Well. How about that.

Posted by: Patrick Nielsen Hayden | Apr 3, 2006 10:31:07 PM

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