5 October 2011

Quote of the day, yay!

'... I come from the generation for whom, in the early nineteen-seventies, shoplifting became a positive virtue within the disaffected counterculture. Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book" contained handy shoplifting hints and was chained down in bookstores. Jerry Rubin, channelling Proudhon's dictum "Property is theft," declared in his book "Do It", "All money represents theft.... Shoplifting gets you high. Don't buy. Steal. If you act like it's yours no one will ask you to pay for it." I found this to be true. Running an alternative school with almost no money in the early seventies, I made trips to a large bookstore in London and piled up reference books and textbooks until the tower nestled under my raised chin. Then I confidently walked out of the shop. No one ever stopped me. I had no qualms. It was a corporate-owned shop, and the books I stole were for the educationally and socially deprived kids I was working with. Even better than acting like it's yours is righteously believing that it's yours ...'

-- Jenny Diski, 'The Secret Shopper: The history of shoplifting', The New Yorker, September 26, 2011

[To hear Diski speaking about shoplifting with Blake Eskin for The New Yorker's audio series, click here.]

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