The world of librarianship can welcome yet another library blog. Of course we need another library blog like I need a third...oh, never mind. Anyway, someone called John Berry, who apparently has something to do with a library magazine of some sort but is now "mostly retired," has decided to spend his time out in the pasture dropping bits of wisdom for us all to sniff admiringly at, so he started a blog. Isn't that exciting!
And what have we gotten so far from this wizened editor? Clever commentary on the profession? Insightful arguments about libraries and librarianship? Something that raises the moral and intellectual level of library discourse? Nope. What we've gotten so far is a gratuitous insult of yours truly. Apparently he wasn't brought up not to be rude to a lady, but with the deplorable state both of manners and intellectual discourse these days unsubstantiated insults are hardly surprising. I would gladly welcome a little substantive criticism, but instead I just get irrational insults. The obtuse old editor has called the AL (et al.) a nut, specifically a far "right wingnut." "Right wingnut," what a clever and original metaphor. Never heard that one before. As you can see, you won't be reading this new blog because of its pithy wit. I mean, really, if you're just going to insult people, you should at least do it with some wit and style and exhibit some intellectual flair.
It's not specified exactly how the AL is a "right wingnut." Perhaps it's my assertion that the ALA should concern itself with American libraries and librarians and not make partisan political statements about issues that have nothing to do with libraries. Perhaps it's my claim that Marxists are ridiculous. We'll probably never know. And I certainly didn't expect any specifics, because that would have taken actual thought.
But so far this isn't a thinking blog. In my own library blog taxonomy, I'm not sure where I would place it. It's definitely not "Library Blog as Informative Library Analysis," at least not so far. It could be "Library Blog as Pathetic Cry for Attention," but it's probably more "Library Blog as Personal Diary," since so far there's no thought or analysis but merely the revelation of tidbits about the author's personality.
For example, we find out how emotional this Berry person is. When he reads something he disagrees with like SHUSH, he goes away "sputtering in anger." My, we certainly are emotional, aren't we? And I thought you boys were supposed to be so logical and analytical. At least, that's what I used to hear from a college boyfriend until I got those three 800s on the GRE and he couldn't even get into Michigan Law and I had to dump him for being such a loser. The AL's certainly not a personal diary, but I will note one difference between this highly emotional Berry person and me--I don't sputter in anger. Ever. When I read something I disagree with, my critical faculties leap into high gear. I start thinking--Why do I disagree with this person? What are the arguments here? Are they valid? But this Berry person prefers to sputter angrily and generate ad hominem insults. Oh well, I guess some of us sputter, and some of us think. Hard to do both. But it takes all kinds to make a world, as my old gran used to say. All part of librarianship's rich pageant.
We also get to find out about the childishly simplistic worldview of this Berry person. He divides the world of library bloggers, for example, into "good guys" and "bad guys." Guess which side the AL is on! This is another great way to avoid any actual thought, because if someone is a "bad guy," then you don't have to think, you can just gratuitously insult them and move on. Everything's very black and white for this Berry person. It must be very comforting to have such a trite worldview and be able to slacken your mind completely. Complexity and criticism are difficult things to contend with if you're not up to them mentally. Best to just say, "you're a bad guy so I don't like you!" And I certainly can't blame him. Thinking is hard. Well, not for me, but for lots of people. And why tax yourself with critical engagement when it's easier just to throw out a puerile insult?
This time he was writing about the "bad guys." Later he promises to tell us more about the "good guys." I'm sure that will be a fascinating post! Probably no thought involved there either, though, because no doubt the good guys will receive effusive, fawning praise rather than any critical engagement. He likes the "good guys" because he relies "on them for a steady supply of new arguments for the battles ahead in librarianship." I guess that's another difference between this Berry person and the AL, besides the fact that I never sputter angrily--I don't need someone else to do my thinking for me. I don't have to rely on others for arguments. If I want to make an argument, I just make it.
So let's give a hearty welcome to yet another uncritical and emotional voice entering the library blogosphere. And in the same spirit of generosity he's shown towards me, I would like to offer him some advice, one blogger to another. This blogging thing isn't easy, what with trying to come up with something worth reading week after week. You already admit you let other people do your thinking for you. Maybe if all you have to offer are insults and irrational sniping you should just let other people do your writing for you as well.