Posted by BE on June 30th, 2011
Thanks to The Culture Vulture.
No one is banning or burning the book, imbecile. A handful of stores have chosen not to stock it.
a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
– John F. Kennedy
All this manufactured outrage. Did no one think how truly powerful it might have been to release the book on the open market and simply have no one buy it?
Freedom of speech is a Right. But it is a special sort of right. It is a liberty right, not a claim right.
A liberty right is just the freedom to do something. A claim right places a duty on someone else. I have the liberty right to take a parking space. I don’t have the claim right to order you to vacate it so I can park.
Similarly, Ms King has a liberty right to freedom of expression. What she does not have, is a claim right compelling others to publish or sell her words. The others enjoy the liberty to refrain from involvement.
She’s a Witch! Burn!
@Danyl; Someone once asked Carl Sagan, what was his Gut Feeling about the likelihood of extra-terrestrial life, and he said; I try not to think with my gut.
If you can’t see the difference between a deliberate, orchestrated attemp by the state to eradicate ‘dangerous’ opinions and intimidate those who wish to express or read them, and a shop making a commercial decision (albeit maybe a spineless one)not to stock a book that is offensive to its customers then god help you.
This type of childish comparison belittles the plight of those who are on the wrong end of the real thing.
let the book be read and make absolutely all monies from it be given to the new zealand child abuse prevention service.
no person, especially those complicit to the subjects’ cruei, drawn out deaths should receive a cent.
and neither should anyone pimping to make money- yep – wish-he-had-a-heart.
was it king who went to mac donalds rather than straight to hospital with her critically injured babies? was that what played out?
murder, she wrote.
As I understood it, none of the profits from the book go to Mrs King or Mr. Wishhart.
She has a right to freely express her views, and we have a right not to buy it. We do not have a right to demand that it not be stocked, or threaten people who choose to stock it.
There is a further point that the vast majority of people are making their judgments on the basis of very little actual knowledge. I am not entirely sure when making assertions about another persons character or culpability based on little or no information became such a national sport in this country. (Or in fact the guiding principle for some of our major newspapers)
By making such a fuss, the book is getting a stunning amount of free publicity.
Although I sense Hyperbole by BE the sentiment is spot on.
You’re getting rather uptight there, Danyl. Try to play the ball and not the man in future. When you have to resort to name-calling – and there’s been an awful lot of that over the Alisdair Thompson fiasco – you know you’ve lost the argument.
The picture is a statement in exaggeration, to the point of being hyperbolic and satirical. I think, it’s supposed to be a statement against those Facebook people, threatening a boycott of the stores who stock the book, rather than the bookshops.
Paper Plus — and others — don’t want to sell the book, not because their moral imperative triumphs over commercial considerations; it’s because they don’t want it befouling the air in the stores. And, I’m betting, that the libraries won’t stock it, either.
Without — and even, with — the guilty party being convicted, the idea of a Tell-All book is tasteless as it is crass and downright ugly. Almost like: “You heard it here, first, folks”.
Ian Wishart does his — shaky –reputation, no favours; coming across as a shameless two-bit opportunistic huckster, out to mint some coin for himself. Have a listen to his promo spiel; it sounds just like the voice-over in an infomercial, touting miracle ‘get-quick’ 6-pack abs.
The despised Macsyna King — prompted by a craven Ian Wishart — plumbs new depths in her Sea of Moral Depravity. I wouldn’t grace Wishart’s book by a quick flick through the pages; not even a cursory glance at the dust cover. Wouldn’t touch it, even wearing latex gloves.
I was pleased to see the reaction from libraries was on the side of freedom of expression. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10735543
I wont be buying or reading it
Sam. Agree with you @10:07.
Wonder if BE will connect the Alisdair Thompson outrage with “Breaking Silence: The Kahui Case.” “I am not entirely sure when making assertions about another persons character or culpability based on little or no information became such a national sport in this country.-Sam”
And Mark well spotted. Good on ‘em.
Perhaps if people let the cops do their job in the first place without breaking out the burning crosses, nooses and white sheets we wouldnt be having this discussion…
Merv, a right of free speech protecting citizens must, by definition, also shelter the right to express inconvenient and even offensive speech. Wishart’s tortured, tabloid writing style and King may be enough to put most people off buying the book. That’s surely the point: booksellers should do their job and offer it for sale, provided it passes their normal commercial criteria. I want them to let me decide whether to buy, rather make moral judgements on my behalf.
I agree, John. Booksellers haven’t made a commercial decision, they’ve made a moral one. I’m quite capable of making my own moral decisions without assistance from booksellers.
John, I’m not against Wishart writing the book; I just find it very off-putting as to how he goes about selling it. On NewstalkZB, yesterday, he sounded teasing and cloying; offering little tidbits of “never before revealed information” to whet the appetite, so to speak. As if I — and others — care as to how Macsyna King goes about telling her self-justificatory narrative. I care not one whit about what she has to say, and care even less about her as a person. And despite what Wishart has to say about Macsyna not receiving payment, I bet, there were some very attractive inducements in the offing. The book is not one of collaboration to edify as it is about collusion to enrich. Not likely to tug at your heartstrings as it is likely to make you roll your eyes in cynicism.
I don’t see the bookshops who don’t want to sell this book as imposing a standard of propriety on its customers to dovetail with their own. They don’t function as the arbiters of good taste, nor should they be criticised for exercising a prerogative in refusing to sell a book they find to be unsavoury, once in a while.
Paper Plus, in choosing to draw a line in the sand, has become both respected and scorned. The whipping-up of threats to boycott the stores that stock the book, is an unfortunate by-product of their stance; but Paper Plus et al will also feel the wrath of those who feel their “freedom of choice” has been impinged upon.
I don’t need to read this book to know it’s not the Holy Grail when it comes to the killing of the Kahui twins, even if Ian Wishart would have us believe that it is.
@ John Spavin and Ross
“booksellers should do their job and offer it for sale, provided it passes their normal commercial criteria. I want them to let me decide whether to buy, rather make moral judgements on my behalf”.
No, I disagree with your use of “should”.
Personally, I have no issue with the book, other than, like most of Wishart’s offerings, it promises to be an affront to good writing. However, the threat of a prospective sales boycott against any chanin who does stock it highlights that this is no ordinary book. There are commercially sensible reasons not to stock it.
Booksellers have an economic need (but not obligation) to stock “books”, but not this book, or any other, be it the “Bible”, “Koran”, “Protocols of Zion”, or “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”.
No, they are not making moral judgements on your behalf – they are making a commercial, and possibly moral decisions on their own behalf.
You can still buy the book directly from Wishart. And if that option wasn’t available, and you really wanted to read it, you can always do what others have done in the face of economic boycott – take the principled stand of buying the rights, and publish it yourself.
I thought we were protesting another book by Ian Wishart? lol
“Without — and even, with — the guilty party being convicted, the idea of a Tell-All book is tasteless as it is crass and downright ugly. Almost like: “You heard it here, first, folks””.
OK. Maybe you are right, but tell me Merv (and anyone else for that matter), why not a similar furore over the books Joe Karam wrote on David Bain’s behalf?
Is it because Bain was a ‘sympathetic’ figure, especially for those with a maternal instinct, whereas Macsyna King, probably rightly, and irrespective of her guilt or innocence for the twins’ death, is the most hated woman in the country?
Possibly similar to the opprobrium that Mark (and Mandy!) Hotchin have earned, whereas Alan Hubbard is still nearly every one’s favourite grand uncle!
Style beats substance nearly every time in the court of public opinion!
The Nazis had a policy of cleansing the state of Entartete Kunst; art that the leaders and the unsavoury mob that followed on their coat tails felt was unsuitable for good Germans.
Booksellers have bowed to the pressure of a similar mob on Facebook. The owners of these bookstores are at best poltroons at worst little better than the hordes who would burn books of which they disapprove.
Danyl, I do not know what camp you fall into, but your abusive reaction to an opinion with which you disagree is disturbing. You should possibly seek some form of counselling.
Merv: The picture may well be a hyperbole but it is a perfectly legitimate device to make the point. It is a short step from booksellers banning books of which they disapprove to burning those books.
Given your sometimes exaggerated and offensive opinions that BE permits to be aired in this blog, you of all people should cherish the right to freedom of speech.
did i read you right sam? wishart gets no money out of this book?
also, kimbo. karam’s published book, considering the situation, was pretty awkward for some- to say the least.
This book has been judged before it has been read.
This says a lot for Danyl Mclauchlan’s lack of imbecility.
the stupid comparison implied by your blog post does you no credit whatever BE!
@Kimbo: could it be a classic case of MWWS?
The likes of Paperplus and the Warehouse want to avoid a boycott of their stores and their decisions are based on commerce not morals.
Brian, have you ever burnt a book? It’s much more liberating than burning a bra.
The German poet, Heinrich Heine said, “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”
I have no doubt that when Heine said that there were those such as Merv, Mike Moller and Danyl, who desctibed his words as imbecilic, hyperbolic and stupid. Reading blogs and listening to talkback it is clear that there are many in this country who would like to burn books and probably not a few who would like to burn people as well.
Merv, Mike and Danyl, take note of another Heine quote: “There are more fools in the world than there are people.”
Kay Dee, You say that the “likes of Paperplus and the Warehouse want to avoid a boycott of their stores and their decisions are based on commerce not morals.”
I doubt that…unless of course they have evidence that selling the book will actually cost them money.
For God’s sake, Ross; to a company like the Warehouse everything is profit driven. The cost of bowing to the lynch mob is less than the cost of taking a principled stand. If morality had anything to do with their business they would not be importing vast quantities of stock from a country whose record on human rights is appalling.
If you think for one minute that these booksellers are driven by morality read what the owner of Unity Books Wellington has to say in today’s dompost. She state quite clearly that UB does not have the resources to withstand a boycott or picketing of the shop.
These people would have been right at home in Germany in the 1930s when Jewish shops were boycotted and the vast majority of the population did nothing. Clearly humanity, and booksellers in particular, have not advanced in that time.
Ben: As of late, you’ve been rabbiting on about me, a fair bit. Someone, not serve you a lettuce leaf with your carrot?
In my context, “hyperbolic”, is an illustrative literary device. That photo is BE’s own pictorial figure of speech; not too unlike a metaphor. I could be wrong, but I don’t think he meant to draw a literal parallel between the Nazis’ book-burning reinforcement of Aryan purity and the Facebook brigade’s rallying cry to boycott bookshops. The implied comparison is supposed to be asymmetric and obtuse. One of deliberate overstatement to provoke a response. It had to be that: because you can’t conflate the unbridled coercive power of the Nazis (to censor and suppress information) with that of a vocal interest group’s lobbying to keep a book off the shelves.
Kimbo: There is a big difference between a prime suspect penning an account to that of a suspect’s supporter-advocate doing the same thing.
“also, kimbo. karam’s published book, considering the situation, was pretty awkward for some- to say the least”.
Sorry, slap me over the head and label me ‘obtuse’, but I don’t know what you mean by ‘considering the situation’. Thought the situation between the 2 cases was analagous – police were certain they charged the one who did it, and despite the 2 juries’ respective verdicts, they still hold to the same opinion. As do I.
I know we are all sailing carefully to avoid defamation laws, but I don’t know what you mean. Would have thought, IMHO, on the balance of probabilities, that the police charged the right person in both cases.
“There is a big difference between a prime suspect penning an account to that of a suspect’s supporter-advocate doing the same thing”.
Same as above: slap me with a stupid stick, but I don’t see the difference! Why? And how do you possibly tell what is the ‘suspect’s’ words, and the supporter-advocate’s dynamic interpretation? Is ultimatley the same source.
I will be buying this book, and reading it. Not simply because I have found Ian Wishart to be someone very much worth listening to even if I don’t always agree with him, but also because so many people are so irrationally opposed to it. I applaud the opposition to child abuse, however demonising a woman never charged with a crime for revealing her side of the story, an apparently very frank and unflattering depiction, is ridiculous. This is especially the case when she won’t benefit from it at all. Neither monetarily nor in good press.
kimbo-do you think these books influence public opinion- that in turn influence court outcomes?
can talents/persuaders effect guilty or not guilty verdicts?can they damage genuine police findings or create brilliant red herrings?
in highly publicised cases, where interest has already been roundly generated -by the nature of the crime and the intense, extended media coverage -the connections of the book have certainly saved big time on premium advertising.
The Kahui twins were let down by their whanau, and particularly by their parents, ill-equipped as they were. Posthumously,they were let down by the Justice system and by the media.
Some people believe that justice does not necessarily stop when the institutions of state have exhausted their efforts, but rather is taken up by the people in lieu. If persons unknown have the right to brutalise and murder children and then get off scott free (and they do have that right – and they have exercised it to great success in this case) then other people have the right to legally make sure that society ultimately hold those villains to account by whatever means available, and being nasty to Macsyna is one way od exercising that right.
“kimbo-do you think these books influence public opinion- that in turn influence court outcomes?…etc.”
Again, sorry, you are too subtle for me. I think you are asking a set of rhetorical questions, to which I would answer “yes”, or perhaps “maybe”. Is that the effect you were seeking? Was interesting speaking to folks in the general public before the 2nd Bain trial who thought it was a cast iron proven ‘fact’ that Robin Bain was molesting his daughter, Laniette. Well done, Joe Karam!
If so, so what? Bain was a sympathetic character, with a group of articulate, middle class, earnest student friends pleading his case, even before Karam got involved.
Macsyna King is the complete opposite in every way. Whether she murdered the twins, as seems unlikely, she bears the primary responsibility as the mother for the environment in which they met their demise. Which is why, no matter what Wishart’s efforts, this kite isn’t going to fly!
However, the woman is allowed her say. Just as we all get a choice whether to read the book, or pour scorn upon the idea.
‘wishart gets no money out of this book?’
Maybe then he could have provided it as a free pdf download…
I wonder if Borders and Whitcoulls stock ‘Mein Kampf’, or ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’?
“As I understand it, Macsyna gets nothing from the SALES of the book” .. As said by Ian Wishart on TV. That tells me she is not being paid a commission on sales. And that’s all it tells me.
It’s a pity that the obvious follow-up question was not asked.
Back about 1982 Ross Meurant wrote a book about the Red Squad which Whitcombe and Tombs chose to sell. I’ve boycotted them and their successors ever since – but I don’t think they have noticed.
yeah peter i find it difficult to believe he’d be doing it for no monetary recompense.
kimbo- i think we agree with core issues but all i’m saying is i feel uncomfortable when books have prominence because they’ve chased a current emotional issue – and then they sway peoples’ opinions when they may not be realistically qualified to do so. they may try to take the place of the police or fill a need for those who distrust the police- and they become a replacement court.
i don’t think this book is so much like that but i question wishart’s motives and i think king is an easy pony to ride and the national media put his parade into an undeserved limelight.i’m saying i don’t think the author deserves the attention and i feel it sucks like a parasite off those little babies. make chris and cru, delcelia or lillybing the feature -cos their daily treatment and bone splintering, hollow stomach, loveless suffering is the real rogue steed to tame.
“i’m saying i don’t think the author deserves the attention and i feel it sucks like a parasite off those little babies. make chris and cru, delcelia or lillybing the feature -cos their daily treatment and bone splintering, hollow stomach, loveless suffering is the real rogue steed to tame”.
Umm, yeah, but Wishart is not alone. The mainstream media is just as bad. Refer: continually running to Michael Choi’s poor mum every time Bailay Kurariki qualifies or violtates conditions of his parole. I know she has volunteered to be a spokesperson for the sensible sentencing trust, but nonetheless it is still exploitation.
@ Number Eleven
Curious. I despised the politics and nauseating self-righteous dailectic rhetoric of Geoff Chapple’s, “1981: The Tour” (1984), but I’m still glad I read it.
The bookstores have every right to not sell a product…as any other store does!
As for Ian WIshart and his fight for truth!! Please the guys an idiot, who has proven time and time again to write utter bullocks!
Sounds like the Paul Henry supporters who were all for freedom of speech…unless it was against their precious paul!
Burn the book….and the writers while you are at it!
“Whatever the reasons, there’s little doubt Macsyna was a negligent mother.”
Tapu Misa goes the extra mile to sugar coat the ugliness of it all with that comment.
this is one of those books I’d read in the bookstore (just the last page), not one I’d buy. I’m glad to hear Wishart is against censorship, disn’t he write something called “Eve’s bite?” Sounds kinky to me.
Meantime, would anyone care to comment on the implications of the so many visceral comments in the Facebook screenshots? What kind of ‘negligent’ mothers and fathers do they portend? Thank God for the anti-smacking legislation.
galeandra- haven’t seen them but i’m picking if those people stood witnessing a baby having their head bashed in, after perhaps sporadic hunger, long nights where their tiny shallow breath bodies lay in cots freezing/ or wet with sweat unattended and under a pile of blankets, inhaling smoke into their tiny lungs, shoved, ignored, used as pawns in relationshjps, despised, rejected – i’m picking they’d jump in to help. give the angry people a medal. give them a medal cos they care more than the people who think child abuse is all about one violent act causing death.don’t rubbish people for their honestly expressed passion – this is a deserving subject for passion.
Nobody really gives a damn about this book, they just want to know WHO KILLED THE BABIES.
WAKE UP – Actually I don’t really care who killed the babies, because I know who is responsible for their safety, and ergo who is responsible for their deaths. Society sometimes needs barricades for the politicians and lynching for the scum. Just occasionally, maybe every fifty years or so, to remind people what responsibility means.
I’ve never been much of a fan of censorship, nor of books being banned. Especially a book that no one has ever read.
I’m even less of a fan of witch-hunts, where a mob reverts to a collective mentality of righteous fury that knows no reasoning.
It’s similar to the moral panic that swept the Western World in the early ’90s. Hand’s up who remembers the “Satanic Child Abuse” hysteria?
And how it swept through New Zealand?
I remember even the usually staid, and forever-responsible National Radio being caught up in the hysteria.
And of course, the Christchurch Civic Creche, which was caught up in the hysteria, and which resulted in the conviction of a man which many deem as “unsafe”.
Mob mentality, witch-hunts, moral panic… the stuff of unreasoning, prejudice, and raw emotion.
It’s funny isn’t it; you never see a “Mob mentality, witch-hunt, moral panic” consisting of folk quietly reasoning through an issue. Why is that?
“undafe” = “unsafe”