Friday, September 24, 2010

Old, White Books

I freaking love Costco. Not everything on the shelves is a steal, but their books always are. Actually, the books are priced so low I feel guilty buying them. What, Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory for $9.84?!? I couldn't pass that up. I felt like I was stealing it for that price. Thanks, Jon. If you leave me your address I will send you a few more bucks in the mail. The guilt I feel from buying a book for that cheap does do its job. I have only bought three books at Costco since I became a lifelong member a couple of years ago.

It doesn’t matter whether I am going to Costco for two two-liter jugs of olive oil or for an 8 lb. bag of frozen strawberries, I will always peruse through the limited and seemingly illegally priced books. Today, I noticed with glee that Jon Stewart’s Earth (currently #1 on was prominently featured at the end of the book display. I didn’t buy it, not for $15.94, or something like that. All I know is that it was marked at least ten dollars below the MSRP. Anyway, I walk over to the display and lay my hands on Earth. I stand there and flip through the book for a good ten minutes, reading paragraphs here and there and even eyeing a picture of a three-breasted woman (as seen in Total Recall) and deciding, once and for all, I much prefer two.

While I am looking through the book, I notice the two other books placed at the end of the table, Bill O’Reilly’s Pinheads and Patriots (currently #40 on and David Limbaugh’s (yes, that Limbaugh’s brother) laughably titled Crimes Against Liberty (currently #35 on Seriously, all I can do when seeing a book like Crimes Against Liberty is laugh. I can’t even open it up. That would be giving it an honor it doesn’t deserve.

When I first ventured into Costco as a member, I noticed right away, without surprise, that the majority of their political books are from conservative authors. So, it was, also without surprise, that when I stood there, looking at Earth, only one other person picked up the book to look at it while a number of Pinheads and Patriots were thrown into shopping carts and one copy of Crimes Against Liberty was toted off. As I watched pinhead, err shopper after shopper step up to the mountain of right-wing books I couldn’t help but notice a stereotype being strongly reinforced. The buyers were all older, white males who looked grumpy and gazed upon O’Reilly’s latest like it was the Bible…every single one of them. Were they also looking at me and feeling like a stereotype was being strongly reinforced? Young, white male in shorts and flip-flops who is jobless and who is probably going to go smoke a bowl after this and then maybe come back a couple hours from now for some free samples because he has got the munchies.

Will I become like them? I hope not. And as O’Reilly’s book continued to find its way into the shopping carts of octogenarians, I walked out of Costco empty-handed, went home, made lunch and special brownies…I kid, I kid…and readied for work tomorrow.

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