The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


It's indispensible, I know, but I just don't love the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW. Give me Christopher Lehmann-Haupt or Michiko Kakutani any day, but especially Sunday. Did anyone notice the following misleading sentence in David Carr's review of John Dicker's THE UNITED STATES OF WAL-MART in today's NYTBR? The following sentences irked me:

"Magazines that executives consider too racy end up banned or behind blinders. Wal-Mart refused to stock ''America (The Book),'' the best-selling political satire by the writers of ''The Daily Show,'' though it did, for a while, carry the notoriously anti-Semitic ''Protocols of the Elders of Zion.''"

I can't believe I'm actually defending Wal-Mart here, but Carr appears to be hinting that Wal-Mart wouldn't carry the book because of its (lefty) political slant. According to the company, that just ain't true; Wal-Mart's motivation was pure prudishness. Carr could have looked in his own newspaper's Oct. 22, 2004 article on the subject to discover the real reason:

"Wal-Mart, after ordering thousands of copies, decides not to sell America (the Book), by Jon Stewart and others from The Daily Show because picture of nine nude figures with heads of US Supreme Court Justices might be deemed offensive by its customers."


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