Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company

12 10 2011

I don’t know why I do it to myself, I really don’t. For some reason, I just can’t leave well enough alone, and succumb repeatedly to the urge to engage stupid people in conversation. Experience has taught me that there are certain forums that are unsuitable to such a discussion (YouTube being the very top of the list), but I am also learning that there are certain people who are likewise unsuitable. Based on the conviction that there is a silent majority who reads threads without engaging in them, and that those are the people to whom I may be addressing my remarks, I have long contributed to online “discussions” that concern the historicity of the Holocaust.

In a nutshell (and I’ve every reason to suppose that, here, I’m preaching to the choir), the following are the characteristics that typify the “historical revisionist”:

• You take all of the evidence that testifies to the nature and scope of Hitler’s war against the Jews: the reams of archival footage, the written documentation, and the sworn testimony of survivors, “bystanders” and perpetrators, and you put it to one side;

• Remove carefully any material that pertains not to the Jews, but to the Third Reich’s malicious genocide of the Romani, or of their murderous treatment of homosexuals, political dissidents and general “undesirables”. You’ll want to keep this material for later;

• Indicate the teetering pile of evidence that confirms in both substance and extent the Shoah and declare it all a forgery. All of it. Some was invented by the Russians, who were eager to make the Germans look cruel. Some was invented by the Allied forces, who needed to make it seem as though Hitler was insane. Most of it, however, was made up by the Jews, who started the war in the first place, who have been funding wars around the globe both before and since, who have utilised this fabricated “Holohoax” to colonise Palestine, and who are disseminating these lies to the world via Hollywood, which they control;

• Next, what you’re going to want to do is get your hands on some material that contradicts the traditional narrative. A favourite in this regard (and something to form the basis of David Irving’s defence) is an obscure piece of evidence known as the Müller Document. Named for a general who is otherwise unknown (the Journal of Historical Review suggests that he was “perhaps a veteran of the International Brigades in Spain”), the document in question purports to be a letter that was sent to a number of different individuals, claiming that the Nazis never used poison gas for the purposes of extermination, and that any testimony to the contrary was obtained under torture. The original missive no longer exists, but don’t worry. Despite bearing all of the hallmarks of an actual forgery, this sort of material is the real evidence;

• In line with the preceding point, what you are now going to want to do is make what real historians call “an argument from silence”. Since you have dismissed all of the actual evidence as forgery, the fact that no evidence for the Shoah exists means that there was no Shoah. If any Jews died, it was due to their having been rounded up for being political dissidents (they did, after all, fund an international war), at which point some of them died from typhus, and others died when the Allied powers bombed the towns in which they were living;

• Are you with me so far? This is where it gets fun! The global Jewish confederacy of scoundrels (the Learned Elders of Zion, as we prefer to be known) is smart enough to be able to hoodwink the entire Western world, but too stupid to fool a small group of fringe academics with links to neo-Nazi movements. In order to silence such people, the Jews have engaged in a global smear campaign, the result of which is that it is actually illegal to deny the Holocaust, and good men like Ernst Zündel have to sit in prison while criminals like Elie Wiesel get to walk free;

• We’re almost done, but to deliver the final coup de grace we’re going to have to be a little bit inconsistent. You don’t mind being inconsistent do you? Excellent news. All of the documentation that we put aside before, testifying to the genocide of Romani (the “Porajmos”) and the murder of other “undesirables”, is going to be useful. Depending on your own personal taste, and how far you’d like to go with it, this material is all more-or-less true. You can refer to it freely now, in the context of lamenting Hollywood’s single-minded fetishisation of the Jewish Holocaust and the media’s unequivocal support for the State of Israel (!?).

They’re a delightful bunch, these “historical revisionists”, and the only reason that I enclose the term in quotation marks is because that’s merely what they claim to be. In actual fact, historical revisionism is the practise of returning to the original sources in order to reassess what they teach us about history, despite whatever popular traditions may have developed. Historical revisionism can be a useful tool. Holocaust denialism, on the other hand, is conducted by abrogating the original sources in an effort to promote a racist agenda. It’s an enterprise conducted by pseudo-historians whose only methodology (if it can be termed a methodology) is to write their conclusions before they have conducted their research.

I know that I am not going to convince anybody of this, and I’ve the ulcers to prove it, but I’ll be damned if I won’t at least try. Which brings me, of course, to the point of this post.

Amazon.com is presently selling a number of different books that can only be described as “hate literature”. They are written by people like Michael Hoffman, who brag of having spent years studying the Babylonian Talmud, but who utilised none of that time in an attempt to master the original languages of its composition. I can only imagine what sort of person spends years studying something that makes him angry, but cannot imagine why a reputable company like Amazon wishes to sell the fruits of his labour. Having grown tired of arguing with people on their actual site, I decided to write them a letter and issue a formal complaint. The following is what I wrote to them a fortnight ago:

To whom it may concern,

After browsing through your catalogue of books, I was struck by the fact that you don’t seem to selling anything that accuses Protestants of drinking the blood of children. Not only that, but I can’t find any literature to substantiate the fact that Catholics are running all of the world governments, that Romanian gypsies are flea-ridden vermin, that Hindu immigration is corrupting this country, or that the Armenians fabricated their genocide. And I thought I’d ask why this is so, for I know that such revolting material does exist. It surely cannot be that you find it offensive, for you have a large number of books here that make these very sorts of claims about Jews and Muslims.

In some instances (as with Luther’s “On the Jews and Their Lies”, Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, or even “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”), these works have an historical value – slight, in some cases, as it may be – and that value may even persist despite the timbre of their reviews and the discussions that they have generated. In other instances, however (as with Marrs’ “The Conspiracy of the Six-Pointed Star”, Hoffman’s “Judaism Discovered” and Hitchcock’s “The Synagogue of Satan”), no such value exists.

Unless the definition of literature has been extended to include absolutely everything, irrespective of whether it is cogent or informative (or, in the case of Hoffman’s work, even correctly spelled), then I am forced to wonder what such material is doing here in the first place. I have purchased a great many products from Amazon in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. You are providing an excellent service with a fantastic range, and while I applaud the absence of malicious and inciteful hate literature when it comes to certain other groups, I would that this same courtesy were extended to all.

Considering the very real danger that underscores the viciously antisemitic and anti-Muslim material that you are selling, and given the acerbic nature of the discussions that they have engendered, I respectfully suggest that you encourage the uninformed and the mentally ill to purchase their propaganda from a lesser vendor.

With many thanks, and sincerely,
Simon Holloway

After a delay of only one day, the following is the response that I received. As I have not heard back from them since, I will assume that this response is to be considered final. I have emphasised a line in it, for the purpose of drawing attention to the fact that the sloppiness exhibited by Amazon’s customer service representative extended well beyond an inability to read my letter, and that she seems to be struggling with the English language in general:

Hello,

Thanks for your suggestion about other types of books to be available in amazon.com. I know this may be disappointing that all books is not available in our website, I hope you understand our supply for the books depends with our publishers.

We appreciate the time you have taken to bring this to our attention. Customer feedback like yours is very important in helping us continue to improve our services.

Thanks again for your feedback. We hope to see you again soon.

Best regards,

Melody G.
Amazon.com

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7 responses

12 10 2011
Daniel Lipman Lowbeer

LOL! Thanks “Melody”, if that is indeed your real name. Seriously though, resend your letter as a letter (like, on paper) to the CEO, copying Chairman of the Board, Head of whatever departments are relevant, etc. I suspect you sent it as an email to customer service, which is always a mistake.

13 10 2011
Sean Cohen

I generally agree, although I am inclined to consider the thought experiment where there is no editorial control at all, much like the genealogy Internet. If I may draw a technology parallel, this may be thought of as the difference between the Apple and Android app stores. Cathedral and Bazaar, as it were.

Also, not to nitpick, but you didn’t actually italicise anything here:

“They’re a delightful bunch, these “historical revisionists”, and the only reason that I italicise the term is because that’s merely what they claim to be.”

13 10 2011
thnidu

Eh, maybe he originally wrote it as a wiki post.

14 10 2011
Q. Pheevr

Wow. I guess the moral of the story is that subtlety and irony will go unheeded, as will non-initial paragraphs. (Maybe even non-initial sentences?)

14 10 2011
Simon Holloway

Corrected. You are a nitpicker, Sean.

Thanks for the advice, Daniel, but I don’t think I’m that interested in taking my complaint further. In future, however, I’ll know that if I have a real problem with something, customer service may not the department to whom it should be addressed! I would make the assumption that this was an automated response, but I imagine that automated responses get written by people with a reasonable command of the language in which they are writing them. As a result, I suspect that Q. Pheevr is right, and will perhaps blame the fact that mine was another in a long list of irritating messages that “Melody G.” had to deal with.

17 10 2011
Annelise

I agree about the long list of long emails. She possibly only read (or scanned) the email up to “And I thought I’d ask why this is so”, figuring out what kind of standard response to write. That only makes the exchange more absurd, though, because it’s hard to imagine a person who would request all those books in one sitting.

10 01 2012
Gabe

You purchase from Amazon UK right? Because it has free shipping to Australia with a sufficiently large purchase. I just heard this on my last trip to Sydney.

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