March 29, 2004

A Borders encounter with a Bush supporter. I was browsing at the front display table at Borders last night, when an old woman, for some reason, started talking to me about how bad it is that there are so many books attacking Bush. I told her not to worry, that no one who didn't already oppose Bush would read a book like that, so it didn't matter. Maybe I specialize in reassuring old ladies, because I also went so far as to assure her that Bush was going to win and he was going to win by a lot. Another basis for reassuring her occurred to me as I was driving home: the people who buy these Bush-attacking books imagine they are doing something for the anti-Bush cause by buying the book, but a more rational use of the same money would be to donate it to the Kerry campaign; she should feel reassured that money that ought rationally be donated to Kerry is just going to some writers.

UPDATE: I would note that the covers of the books do function as anti-Bush ads, so the books' presence on the display tables and racks in the bookstores does work as advertising that has some effect on the people who are undecided about Bush. If the books sell well enough, they will be prominently displayed, so buying the books helps maintain the display, so the covers (quasi-ads) are seen even by the people who won't buy the book. Thus, buying the anti-Bush book is indirectly buying an advertisement for Kerry.

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