M.I 5-Persecuti on ` Berna rd Levin e xpresses h is views

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 Saturday’s paper, that he was describing in some detail his
"artist’s 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. Everyman’s 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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