That is the question.
While I have boycotted various things in my life, I am a firm believer of the ‘time out’ technique you are recommended to use with tantrumming toddlers. It also works well in many other circumstances.
Currently 127 authors are boycotting the Gothenburg Book Fair in September, because the organisers are allowing the right extremist Nya Tider to exhibit again. There was a furore last year, but they had a contract which had to be honoured.
This year I understand the organisers are allowing them back on the basis of freedom of expression. I feel they are correct in doing so. I only wish they had kept quiet about it, because this way all sides are shouting too loudly and there is attention given to what would have been better ignored.
I understand where the boycotting authors are coming from, too, but ignoring the bully is the better method. The alarming electoral results all over the world are in part due to this kind of educated middle class rage towards what they [we] feel to be wrong.
I wrote this seven months ago, soon after my visit to the Book Fair. Whenever I think back to this woman now, I feel vaguely dirty. I’ve wished I’d known when we spoke. But what could I have said? This way I learned what she believes in, and I didn’t appear as a raving opposer of what she supports. We even shook hands.