An Inclusive Litany

11/21/01

With spectacularly bad timing, the New York Times ran a sympathetic profile on September 11 of Bill Ayers, a former leader of the terrorist Weather Underground and now author of his exculpatory memoirs, Fugitive Days. Justifying his past actions, Ayers told the Times, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."

After the September 11 attacks, the Barnes & Noble book chain, which regularly hosts book signings, received numerous complaints from people who thought appearances by unrepentant terrorists should be canceled. But the company's Vice President, Mary Ellen Keating, denounced these complaints as "censorship" and said that to drop Ayers "would be to give in to our fears, and ultimately to validate the position of our enemies."

[Ed.: Ayers's book starts with the words, "Memory is a motherf***er," which, as Slate's Timothy Noah observes, "establish[es] the book's literary tone and unreliability in one compact sentence."]

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