Sunday, July 19, 2009

Silly Shelf Sensitivities

I love religion. Not one particular religion in general, but I love religions. I love paths to the divine, how different they are, and how alike. They're some of the most beautiful and interesting things to study. I get confused, however, when a particular religious group starts decrying some major business or industry, because they feel they're being treated unfairly. Now, I could understand completely if the store were, say, a Christian store that refused to carry other holy texts. I could not understand why a Muslim or Wiccan would walk into said store and get upset that they did not carry pertinent religious materials for their respective religion. A bookstore, however, is a totally different story - especially the large-scale, big box store that I work at.

I came in to work a few days ago and noticed that very nearly all of the eastern religions' sections were gone, including their signs. I was curious, so I asked the employee doing the unshelving the reason. She said that all Barnes and Nobles have to reformat the eastern religions' sections, because the books on Islam were too close to the floor and there have been complaints. Go ahead, check your local B&N. It's the same there. All B&N stores are having to do this, as retail establishments are notorious for rolling over so as to avoid problems. Mind you, the eastern religions section was on the second floor. From what I recall of Islam, it is considered deplorable for you to hit somebody with your shoe or sandal, as it is the lowest item to hit someone with - it touches the ground. I've never heard anything about books on the subject, nor have I heard what constitutes the "ground." Even then, the books are held off the ground by the shelves. It's not like we stack books on the floor!

Isn't this kind of thing silly? Am I wrong? I mean, they stick the Wicca books in the New Age section, when the two are totally different things. That's ok; that just means I know where to look for them. I'm not mad about it. I certainly am not going to petition some big name store to give a whole section to a number of books that they may not even sell enough of to warrant such a display. Modern times are strange. We're desensitized to sex, violence, and drugs through the media to the point where we actually slow down to watch horrible crashes and don't even wince at images of mutilated victims on the news. Porn is downloaded in nearly incalculable amounts by our prepubescent youth, and drugs...well...we all know how the war on drugs is going. We're in an age where the stuff that's supposed to affect us on a very deep, personal, shocking level doesn't. Yet, should the books at our local book/movie/music superstore be put on the wrong shelf? This we raise hell over.

Something's wrong here. Or, maybe it's just me.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

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