|Apparently superior to all else|
The Valentine's Day story goes as follows: I was perusing the children's Valentine's Day books on a table placed low enough so that children could pick up the books and look at them, when I looked at the table next to the children's table. All books on the second table, also low enough so that children could pick them up and thumb through looking at pictures, were pornography books of adults having sex. Being horrified at the possibility of a child looking at porn, I called the sales person over, then asked that the store manager join us.
Pointing to the children's table next to the porn table I asked whose idea it was to place the two tables together. Was BAM promoting pornography to children? The answer was that they were adult Valentine's Day "art" books and "book placement comes from corporate" so there was nothing they could do.
I decided to do something, though. After they walked away, I stood by the children's table holding a porn "art" picture book. When people entered the store I said, "Do you want to see this? Here's the children's Valentine's Day book table and here, placed directly next to it, is a table of pornography which BAM calls art." Then I'd show them the porn book. People were shocked. This lasted only a few minutes because the manager bolted over yelling, "You can't do that!" Me: "Why not? That's what you want, isn't it? BAM wants people, especially small children, to see pornography, right? If it's art why are you so upset?" (I was careful that no children saw what I was holding, but did have to shoo a little boy away from the porn table, calling his mother over to let her know what was going on.)
As soon as I got home I called BAM's corporate office to complain; you know how much heed BAM paid the problem - the "problem" being me, not their pornography. Zip. I didn't go back into BAM for ages, but the next Valentine's Day did go in to check the book placement that year. I did not see any porn next to the children's Valentine table.
Eventually I began to peruse the aisles of BAM again. They did have a "Catholicism" section with books from Ignatius Press and every now and then I'd buy something. BAM has an enormous three or four aisle evangelical section with a large "CHRISTIANITY" sign. The section with small signs denoting "Catholicism", "Jewish" and "Other Religions" was on one bookcase within the "Christianity" aisles, as if Catholicism were an offshoot of evangelical Christianity, and not the fullness truth itself. (David Horowitz wrote in his book Radical Son that he, before his conversion to conservatism, used to go into bookstores to see where books on socialism were placed and would be dismayed that it would be so difficult for people to find "the truth of socialism and communism" buried among all the other philosophical books.) Catholic books were placed on the top three shelves, Jewish books in the middle on only part of one shelf, and "Other Religions" on the bottom shelf, which is where the Quran copies were placed. (Meanwhile there is now a large "Witchcraft" section on the wall at the end of the Christianity section.)
I used to rearrange the Catholic shelves, covering up heretical books by liberal Catholics or moving them to the protestant section. Over the past few years I noticed that the "Catholicism" sign moved down one shelf. Suddenly the "Other Religions" and the Quran moved up to the second from the bottom shelf. "Jewish" was still in the middle.
I was in BAM this past week. The only sign for any religion not being evangelical was a tiny "Catholicism" sign now placed on the third shelf of that one bookcase. Gone were the "Jewish" and "Other Religions" signs. I looked at the bottom two shelves. No Quran. My eyes moved up, up and up until, sure enough, there were the Qurans on the top shelf, ruling over Catholicism, the subliminal message being that Islam is higher, loftier and better than all else. Also gone were Ignatius Press' books, replaced by Richard Rohr, Francis and other leftist Catholics. I dutifully moved Rohr's material and the Qurans down to the bottom shelf where they belonged.
In the future I fully expect to see all current BAM religious section signs gone, replaced by a large ABRAHAMIC FAITHS sign, with Islam and its idea of Islamic exceptionalism being superior to all other religions, because after all, Islam appeared last in historical time, therefore must be first. Correct? Plus it has more money. And will spend it to buy book placement.