I really can't muster enough interest in Kim Dotcom or the Internet Party to form an opinion worth anyone's attention, but I do have a rather lively interest in a new parlour game called Guilt By Association Copy, cooked up by 3 News' Brook Sabin:
Internet millionaire and alleged cyber-pirate Kim Dotcom has admitted owning one of the rarest pieces of Nazi memorabilia in existence.
On the eve of the launch of his Internet Party, Dotcom has confirmed he purchased one of the first copies of Adolf Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, signed by the man who went on to establish the Third Reich.
Dotcom fronted up to 3 News to talk politics, not expecting questions about Nazi memorabilia.
"I'm a Call of Duty player right, so if you know the game Call of Duty it's all about World War II," says Dotcom. "I'm a big fan of that and I've bought material from Stalin, from Churchill and Hitler."
That "material" includes a very significant and contentious piece of Nazi history.
"I did buy a book at an auction, which Adolf Hitler wrote – Mein Kampf."
Mein Kampf, or My Struggle, is Hitler's fanatical autobiography, full of what would become Nazi ideology. Four years ago Dotcom bought quite possibly the rarest copy on earth.
"Adolf Hitler wrote that book in prison," says Dotcom. "He wrote it with a cellmate there. He signed that book out to that cellmate. So it was one of the first prints and probably the first book that he signed."
In the book trade an "association copy" is a book that has been inscribed and signed by the author to a person associated with them. I'd like to err on the side of generosity and assume Three News isn't implying that Dotcom (who happens to be German, you know) is a neo-Nazi, but, of course, WhaleOil went screaming over that top yesterday...
Here's a modest proposal for Sabin, who ended his report with this sanctimonious load of flannel:
It is confession time for Dotcom, clearing the decks ahead of his party launch tomorrow – another controversial chapter in the tale of Dotcom.
Perhaps Sabin and Three News should come clean themselves. Were they fed this story by Cameron Slater? What, if any, public interest test was passed here? Would this even have been a story if Kim Dotcom was a collector of high end Churchillania, or Soviet-era memorabilia?
Whatever you think of Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party, it's worth having a good hard think about how far this can go. After all, if mere possession of an expensive book means you must agree with its contents, should my own (second-hand) paperback copy of Mein Kampf put me byond the pale? How about the several Bibles I own -- rich in passages that exhort the faithful to commit acts that here and now would range from the merely offensive to the downright criminal. And don't even start on the fiction...