Monday, May 22, 2006

Anarchist Librarians and Library Porn

As my faithful readers know, sometimes the Annoyed Librarian wakes up nice, and sometimes she wakes up nasty. If you want to keep your image of the nice Annoyed Librarian, please stop reading this post now, because the Annoyed Librarian doesn't like anarchists or pornography (at least in the library), and they're the topic of the day.

Really, don't read any further.

Ok, so this is a dated response, but since the Anarchist Librarians and their defense of library porn occured before the birth of the Annoyed Librarian, I feel free to respond. It's hard not to chuckle, or perhaps even guffaw, at the phrase "anarchist librarian," considering that the very profession of librarianship usually depends on having governments, taxes, boards, etc.

The Anarchist Librarians try to make the case that information should be freely available. And as the hackers know, information wants to be free but is everywhere in chains! (Sorry, I've been reading Tomeboy's old skewering of the Hacker Manifesto.)

"Importance of access to information outweighs the drawbacks of open-Internet policy," they say. But is it really? Is all "information" important to access? And banning porn sites in public libraries is "the answer from the simple-solutions-for-complex-problems crowd." That's rich, considering it's from a group that takes Rousseau and Marx seriously. You want to hear a simple solution to a complex problem, listen to your average anarchist talk about economics. Ban capitalism! Stick it to the man! Throw a garbage can through a Starbucks window! What a bunch of simpletons. But I digress.

It seems to me difficult to defend library porn as "information" that should be free. It's pretty typical of the profession of librarianship as a whole, though, that librarians are required to leave their capacity for rational thought and moral reasoning at the door when they enter the library. We're all suppsed to collapse the complex world into pieces of "information." We're not supposed to be thoughtful citizens anymore, just neutral, amoral librarians.

"Everything is just information, man, don't you know! It's not poetry or philosophy or art or kiddie porn. It's all just information, dude, and it wants to be free. I want to let the information be free! Now pass me that joint and turn up the TV."

Well, you know what, smelly hippie person, it isn't just all "information." And none of it's free. Turns out people have to pay for it. And they don't even have a choice in publicly funded libraries. The taxman takes people's money and forces them to pay for the "information." I thought anarchists didn't like the taxman. Guess I was wrong. "Anarchists," like all their hippie friends, love government when it can be used against someone else, now don't they.

But of course the information is out there. Saying that because libraries block porn sites anyone's rights are being violated is just idiotic. It's like saying that because some hick library in Bumflap, Alabama removes Harry Potter books from the shelves then it's a "banned book" and we should all cry "Censorship!" Like you can't get it from Amazon.com. (Oh, I guess there are a lot of idiots in the ALA would say that very thing.)

Try to read this through the ganja-haze surrounding your head -- NOBODY IS KEEPING THESE PERVERTS FROM THEIR PORN! THE PORN IS ALL AROUND THEM! HELLO!!!

But why, oh why, should I be forced to support their habit? Why should the perverts surf their porn on my dime? Answer me that, if you can quit toking up long enough to mouth something besides marxist inanities.

It used to be public libraries stood for something. Sure, they provide information. But why? So that we can have an informed citizenry? So that people will be able to have access to the knowledge they need to they can be useful and fulfilled human beings? To elevate the souls and enrich the lives of people? To maybe read an improving book once in a while? Goals that might be inspiring to some. But is this what we've come to? A bunch of moral relativists who can't make any distinction between news or philosophy and porn? The "importance of access to information"? What sort of information? And who is going to die on the barricades for "access to information"?

"If libraries block access to legal information of interest to readers based on fear, we might as well lock the doors." If all librarians are as morally obtuse as you, then perhaps we should lock our doors.

There. I feel better.

4 comments:

Peter Stone said...

I came to this post in a very roundabout way, but I'm glad I found it. I've always thought the library community's response to filtering porn was a little simplistic. At the very least, why can't we filter out porn on certain computers designated for kids? We keep kids away from porn magazines. What's different about the Internet?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about when you are bashing Marxists and anarchist (which, by the way, are very different, and crazily don't always smoke pot). Maybe do some research.

Anonymous said...

Censorship is censorship no matter what it is, thats the whole point. Libraries can and do exist without goverment or goverment funding. Freedom of speech has been dead for a along time.

Anonymous said...

What kind of a librarian doesn't do their research before writing such erroneous drivel? Do a little reading of Bakunin, Labadie or Malatesta, or do a little research on the librarian Agnes Inglis before you go prattling on about Anarchism as it relates to library policy, let alone Anarchism in general.

Meanwhile, if I kid sees a naked chick with her legs spread eagle, he's (or she!) is not going to turn into a sex crazed maniac serial killer. For god sake its life, and putting filters on public computers for ANY REASON is SOMEONE ELSE deciding what is best for YOU.