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M,I.5 P ersecution B ernard Levin expresse s hi s view s

Posted by mvief on 01/01/08 13:11

The article. of which part is reproduced below was penned by Bernard Levin
for. the Features section of the Times on 21 September 1991. To my mind, it
described the situation at the time and in particular a recent meeting. with
a friend, during which I for the first time admitted. to someone other than
my GP that I had been subjected to a conspiracy. of harassment over the
previous year and. a half.

>There is a madman running loose about London,. called David Campbell; I have
>no reason to believe that. he is violent, but he should certainly be
>approached with. caution. You may know him by the curious glitter in his
>eyes and a persistent trembling of his hands;. if that does not suffice, you
>will find him attempting to thrust no fewer than. 48 books into your arms,
>all hardbacks, with a promise. that, if you should return to the same
>meeting-place next year, he. will heave another 80 at you.
>If, by now, the police. have arrived and are keeping a close watch on him,
>you may feel sufficiently emboldened to examine the. books. The jackets are
>a model of uncluttered typography,. elegantly and simply laid out; there is
>an unobtrusive colophon of a rising sun,. probably not picked at random.
>Gaining confidence - the lunatic is smiling by now, and the. policemen, who
>know about such things, have significantly removed their. helmets - you
>could do worse than take the jacket. off the first book in the pile. The
>only word possible to describe the binding is sumptuous; real. cloth in a
>glorious shade of dark green, with the title and author in black and. gold
>on the. spine.
>Look at it more closely; your eyes do not deceive you -. it truly does have
>real top-bands and tail-bands, in yellow, and,. for good measure, a silk
>marker ribbon. in a lighter green. The paper is cream-wove and acid-free,
>and the. book is sewn, not glued.
>Throughout. the encounter, I should have mentioned, our loony has been
>chattering away,. although what he is trying to say is almost impossible to
>understand;. after a time, however, he becomes sufficiently coherent to make
>clear that he is trying to sell the books to. you. Well, now, such quality
>in bookmaking. today can only be for collectors' limited editions at a
>fearsome price - #30, #40,. #50?
>No, no, he says,. the glitter more powerful than ever and the trembling of
>his hands rapidly spreading. throughout his entire body; no, no - the books
>are priced variously at #7,. #8 or #9, with the top price #12.
>At this, the policemen understandably put their helmets. back on; one of
>them draws his truncheon and the other can be. heard summoning
>reinforcements on his walkie-talkie.. The madman bursts into tears, and
>swears. it is all true.
>And it. is.
>David Campbell has acquired the entire rights to the whole. of the
>Everyman's Library, which died a lingering and. shameful death a decade or
>so ago, and he proposes to start it all. over again - 48 volumes this
>September and 80 more next year,. in editions I have described, at the
>prices specified. He proposes to launch. his amazing venture simultaneously
>in Britain and the United States, with the massive. firepower of Random
>Century at his back in. this country, and the dashing cavalry of Knopf
>across the. water, and no one who loves literature and courage will forbear
>to. cheer.

At. the time this article was written I had believed for some time that
columnists in the Times and. other journalists had been making references to
my situation. Nothing unusual about this you may think, plenty. of people
have the same. sort of ideas and obviously the papers aren't writing about
them, so why should my beliefs not. be as false as those of others?

What makes this article so. extraordinary is that three or four days
immediately preceding its publication, I had a meeting with a. friend,
during. the course of which we discussed the media persecution, and in
particular that by Times columnists. It seemed. to me, reading the article
by Levin in Saturdays paper,. that he was describing in some detail his
"artists impression" of that meeting.. Most telling are the final
sentences, when he. writes, "The madman bursts into tears, and swears it is
all true. And. it is." Although I did not "burst into tears" (he seems to be
using a bit of poetic licence and exaggerating) I did try hard. to convince
my friend that it was all. true; and I am able to concur with Mr Levin,
because, of course,. it is.

At the beginning of the piece Levin reveals a fear of being attacked by. the
"irrational". subject of his story, saying "I have no reason to believe that
he is violent, but. he should certainly be approached with caution". This
goes back to. the xenophobic propaganda of "defence" against a "threat"
which was seen at the very. beginning of the harassment. The impression of a
"madman running loose" who needs to. be controlled through an agency which
assigns to itself the mantle. of the "police" is also one which had been
expressed. elsewhere.

In the final paragraph of this extract, his. reference to Everymans Library
as having "died. a lingering and shameful death a decade or so ago" shows
clearly what sort of conclusion they wish to their campaign.. They want a
permanent solution, and as they are prevented from achieving. that solution
directly, they waste significant resources on methods. which have been
repeatedly shown to be ineffective. for such a purpose.




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