I should warn you, you are about to be the victim of a "violent incident." If you go beyond this point, it's on you.
You've been warned. Here it comes.
How are you feeling? Okay? Do I need to call 9-1-1 for you, or can we just hit up an urgent care?
Before we go further I should probably remind readers that "ABA" stands for the "American Booksellers Association." This is the umbrella organization representing the retailers responsible for selling books and in so doing forming a bulwark against censorship as their very existence rests on the timeless principles of free expression and the diversity of thought.
Unfortunately they accidentally permitted diversity of thought to escape from an ABA lab located in a secure area of White Plains, New York, thereby inflicting unimaginable harm. (Note these are screen captures, the original tweet, like many others, has been buried.)
Here were the typically hysterical replies, in fact, these were the first three, still available at this writing.
Naturally, rather than stand up for freedom of thought, the ABA went into full industrial-strength apology mode. (More screen caps, as the ABA has "protected" their tweets, available only to the select few who won't disagree with them which makes sense if they truly believe words = violence. And yes, these are booksellers.)
(1/3) An anti-trans book was included in our July mailing to members. This is a serious, violent incident that goes against ABA's ends policies, values, and everything we believe and support. It is inexcusable.
I feel the need to clarify for those whose minds may have wandered for a moment, the "serious, violent incident" they are referring to was incidental contact with an idea.
(2/3) We apologize to our trans members and to the trans community for this terrible incident and the pain we caused them. We also apologize to the LGBTQIA+ community at large, and to our bookselling community.
Could they possibly be more obsequious?
Why yes, yes they could.
(3/3) Apologies are not enough. We've begun addressing this today and are committed to engaging in the critical dialogue needed to inform concrete steps to address the harm we caused. Those steps will be shared in the next three weeks.
Publisher's Weekly, which also exists only because their unalienable right to freely express ideas is enshrined in the Constitution, also weighed in.
Oops, there's that image again. My apologies.
A spokesperson for the publisher of Schrier's book, Regnery, had this to say:
"The only explanation I can think of for the ABA's statement that credits them with a rational (though dishonorable) motive is that they're trying to drum up publicity for their annual Banned Books Week promotion, coming in September (this year's slogan: 'Censorship Divides Us'). Perhaps finding books that have been 'banned,' in any meaningful sense, is so difficult that they have been forced to do the dirty work themselves."
As it turns out, the ABA is not having a great month on the woke front.
In an email late Wednesday, ABA CEO Allison Hill issued an additional statement to booksellers. She apologized, not only for the promotion of Shrier's book, but also for a racist incident last week in which the organization featured Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon on its Indie Next bestseller list, but included an incorrect cover image. Instead of using the actual cover, the ABA used a book cover by an author who Hill described as "a different Black author, a right-wing extremist."
While they don't say it, they are of course referring to Candace Owens and her book, "Blackout, How black America can make its second escape from the Democratic plantation."
Oh, and yes, the CEO of the American Booksellers Association just referred to a successful black author of a book she doesn't like, as a "right-wing extremist."
"We traumatized and endangered members of the trans community. We erased Black authors, conflated Black authors, and put the authors in danger through a forced association.
They put authors in danger through an association with someone who shares a different ideology, that ideology also being shared by roughly half the country.
"We further marginalized communities we want to support," Hill wrote.
Your business is not to support marginalized communities. Your business is to sell books, and in so doing, further the dissemination of ideas so that they may be subject to public scrutiny and be accepted or rejected based on their merits.
That's your business, ABA.
The people and institutions that we were supposed to be able to rely on to provide a firewall against an over-intrusive government are failing us right and left. Nearly all of them are of a hive mind. The mere mention of a book that argues against permitting minors to make irreversible life-altering decisions is condemned as "violent," and the casual condemnation of ideas disapproved of by the party in charge and their corporate, entertainment, media, and academic allies are passed off with a casual insouciance.
Reminder: Things can fall apart very quickly. Much more quickly than anyone can imagine. Our recent history, a blip on even the human scale, is an outlier, an odd and uncommon time of relatively broad peace and stability in which a sense of broad cohesion and voluntary cooperation has been the rule rather than the exception.
And it can all go away in the blink of an eye.