This decision does not come easily, as we realize that the festival opposes the policies of the State of Israel, and we have no wish to punish progressives who deplore the state-sponsored violence committed in their name.
I saw this news item on Jeffrey St. Claire’s Facebook just as I returned from one of my (at least) twice weekly visits to an old bookshop (with a haul that includes works by Adam Smith, Gramsci, Fromm, Koestler, Steinbeck, C. Wright Mills, Albert Hourani and Eric Hobsbawm–all for a mere £10!). I like browsing for books and I am always heartened when I hear about other kindred spirits since the book reading culture appears to be on fast decline. I didn’t expect Michael Jackson to be one, but Carolyn Kellogg’s piece in the Los Angeles Times suggests otherwise. “Owners of local bookstores, including Dutton’s, recall encountering the late pop star perusing their shelves”, she writes. (Also see Democracy Now’s excellent coverage on Michael Jackson’s life and work).
When news broke in early 2009 of Michael Jackson’s return to Los Angeles, it was not via reports of him being spotted dining at the Ivy or dancing at the hottest new Hollywood club but book-shopping in Santa Monica.
“He was a longtime and valued customer,” a store representative of art and architecture bookstore Hennessey + Ingalls said Thursday. “We’ll miss him.”
If Jackson’s bookstore appearance surprised his pop fans, it was nothing new for booksellers. A few years ago, Doug Dutton, proprietor of then-popular Dutton’s Books in Brentwood, was at a dinner with people from Book Soup, Skylight and other area bookstores.
“Someone mentioned that Michael Jackson had been in their store,” Dutton said by phone Thursday, “And everybody said he’d shopped in their store too.”