Dave Walker, Cartoonist of Lambeth: Injustice Is Not Funny

Dave Walker, Cartoonist of Lambeth, received a “cease and desist” letter from a current owner of the British SPCK chain of Christian bookshops. He has removed all content from his blog pertaining to the odd and ongoing story of how an Anglican bookstore chain got turned over to a group of Texans of the Orthodox faith for a song. And how a lot of people lost their jobs over the last year or so, and how one young man was driven to despair and committed suicide, all because this strangely fundamentalist Orthodox group decided to gut the bookshops, fire the staff, and behave in a very anti-businesslike way. Almost as if they deliberately wanted to drive the bookshops into the ground and somehow leverage that failure.

If you read this post at Metacatholic, and then read all the excerpted comments and trackbacks to the bottom, you’ll get a pretty good idea of just how bizarre the story is and how the timeline ran, and it gets weirder the more you look into it. Ending, sadly, with an apparent suicide.

The current owners of the former SPCK bookshops threatened to sue our Dave for libel, under British laws I suppose, and as Dave can’t possibly afford to defend himself from a lawsuit, he has taken down all his SPCK-related content. Thus leaving his readers without an intriguing ongoing story that had yet to finish playing itself out.

This is unjust, and it’s not funny.

But Googlecache to the rescue! As a sympathetic commenter at Thinking Anglicans notes, Google will keep those posts readable for a good long while yet.

site:www.cartoonchurch.com/blog spck – Google Search
www.cartoonchurch.com/blog

It’s all there. Probably the most poignant shall be quoted here. Since the internal links now point to the removed content, I”ll try to change them to Googlecache ones instead:

I’ve been aware that this has been a sad week for many readers of the Cartoon Blog. Many of those visiting have been mourning the death of Steve Jeynes, the Worcester bookseller, who, judging from the comments posted on this site was loved by many. In the circumstances the usual nonsense that I write on this site has not seemed appropriate, hence my silence.

The memorial service for Steve Jeynes took place yesterday. The Worcester News has a report: Tributes paid to exceptional man. Doug Chaplain was there and has written about it. See also on the SPCK/SSG blog: Steve Jeynes: A Life Remembered.

This will be one of the last former-SPCK-related posts that I expect to do until September as I am away doing one thing and another. I have one more bookshop-related thing that I need to post about which has arisen as a result of a comment (not yet visible) on this site on Sunday morning. I will hopefully do that post today (Tuesday) or tomorrow (Wednesday).

The place to go for former-SPCK-related posts for the next month or two is SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info. [Aside to Phil: hopefully you will post Plans Coming Together for New Christian Bookshop in Cardiff on the SSG/SPCK site when the time is right – a post well worth sharing.]

I hope to post a bit more on this blog this week, including an announcement about my new book and plans for Lambeth.

And I hope that Dave thinks better of his decision to remove all of his SPCK category content – much of it was completely factual and based on news stories, although some was anecdotal, and he probably had some rather intemperate commenters from time to time. That’s not worth suing him over, though.

It looks like there are a couple more websites that might be receiving a C&D from the current owners of the Anglican Christian book chain formerly known as SPCK. But will they take on Google and its rather unlimited resources? I think not. I think the litigious parties will confine themselves to badgering the small fry of the Anglican blogosphere, who run their operations on bags of crisps, sweater lint, and bottomless pots of tea. Perhaps the gentlemen threatening legal action have identified a revenue stream in there somewhere, but I can’t see it.

As it happens, I’ll be in England next month on vacation, and we’ll be in York for a couple of days after puttering around London and the Cotswolds – just a couple of stops down the line from Worcester, and the cathedral where Steve Jeynes’ funeral was held. I’ll have to go back and read that article now with more attention. Because attention must be paid.

I’m curious to see where the York shop is or was, based on a quick re-read of some cached posts that I had only scanned briefly before. Now, of course, they’re interesting again. That’s kind of the opposite of what the Texans intended, so sucks boo to them!

Who else will the Texan brothers sue? Network Norwich? The BBC? The Intarwebs? It remains to be seen.

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