Even kings and people in public positions are entitled to decide who, if anyone, is going to write books about them and authorise what is or is not published.
In a monarchy maybe, yes, but as a citizen living in a civilized democracy, hardly! If that were the case, then why not arrest every author who ever wrote anything about anyone?
If a student writes a paper about the King of Thailand, should he/she be arrested too??
If a blogger writes an article about the King and posts it on his/her blog, should he/she be arrested too???
At what point does it end???
The book was banned in Thailand even before it was published, for goodness sake!
The very arbitrariness of this reveals the true nature of the Thai government's reaction: It is censorship of the highest order, plain and simple. But then, I guess, that's Thailand for you...They live by their own rules...
From the article "The King and Yale University Press" on the Inside Higher Ed Web site about the book(http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/03/thai):
The Yale University Press released a statement Thursday in which it said that "the author stands behind this book 100 percent, as does the press." The statement described the book as "dispassionate in tone and temperament" and said that it had been "thoroughly vetted both by leading scholars in the field and by the Yale University Press Faculty Committee."
The book is significant, the statement said, because it "recasts post-1932 Thai political history to include the monarchy's role (which has been skirted and omitted by every other modern history of the country)."
The title of the book, about the king not smiling "refers, simply, to the Buddhist concept of uppeka, or equanimity, in the projection of the king's image."
John Kulka, senior editor at the press, said that the Thai government had not contacted Yale about the biography and that he did not think it was possible that anyone in the Thai government could have seen a draft of the book. Kulka said Yale did not have any plans to try to get the Thais to change their minds. "Thailand has its own laws," he said. "Who is Yale University Press to dictate to the Thai government? We're about publishing books."
Best quote from that article:
(An official at the Thai Embassy in Washington) said it would be impossible for him to respond to any question involving a book with criticism of the king. "All Thais revere the king and there is a law that he may not be criticized," he said. "You can't criticize the king because there is nothing to criticize him about."
'Nothing to criticize'...sure, and the emperor is wearing such very nice clothes too!...