A minor post on a major offense.
I was browsing through various books during the ALA Midwinter exhibits–specifically (but not exclusively) books related to librarianship and my areas of interest.
At one booth, I ran into a book that I’d heard about when it was being written but hadn’t seen “in the binding.” It’s not new. The author and title aren’t terribly relevant; neither is the publisher.
I opened it to a discussion of a social topic that I do care about (involving the breadth of intellectual freedom and freedom of speech in the U.S.). And there, at the beginning of a paragraph, was a sentence that begin (possibly paraphrased):
“No sane person could believe X”
where “X” is something I firmly believe.
I closed the book, offered the author–who I’ve been acquainted with, knowing our opinions don’t always match but thinking he (of course it was a he) had interesting perspectives–a one-fingered salute in absentia, and walked away.
I did read just enough context to be sure the author wasn’t quoting someone else or setting up a strawman. Nope–the author called me insane. Not to my face, not by name, but the author explicitly called me insane.
Call me irritable if you wish, but I don’t see any reason to continue reading something like that. If the author was actually trying to change any minds through reasoned argument, he lost his chance. I suspect that sort of thing happens a fair amount. I find it puzzling, but what do I know? (I know that I now consider this person a former acquaintance.)