Reply to M-I 5`Persecuti on . B ernard Levi n expresse s his vi ews

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Posted by ivmfmv on 01/01/08 13:12

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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