Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Homely Librarians

I wanted to write about the "homely librarian" fuss. Some sports writer in Boston named Ryan wrote about some sports guy named Brady and some librarians got upset over this line: "And you can be sure Brady will be seen in public with a homely librarian before he engages in any discussion about the difference between the receivers he was forced to work with last season and the ones he has now." You can get all the relevant links at LIS News. Librarians complaining about "stereotypes" again, naturally. It's all so pathetic.

A high school librarian wrote this in a letter to the editor of the newspaper: "It is time to stand up as a society and realize how important it is to break stereotypes and show respect to some of the most valuable community members we may be fortunate enough to 'be seen with.' As for Ryan, I would advise him to get to know his local librarians better."

There's not much commentary I can make about such a self-righteous, humorless response that doesn't involve swearing and calling people names. "Most valuable community members," indeed. I doubt Ryan would want "to get to know his local librarians better" if they were all like this. Besides, it should be obvious that Ryan wasn't ridiculing librarians so much as he was ridiculing homely people, but I didn't notice any homely people protesting.

As I said, I wanted to write about this, but I just don't have the strength. Why bother to make fools of foolish librarians when they do such a good job of it themselves? I know it seems like I'm writing about this, but considering the usual length of my posts, I don't think this should count as writing. Librarians can be such sad little creatures.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many librarians are sad little creatures.

Let's help them improve.

Anonymous said...

Every stereotype has a grain of truth in it. Librarians *are* homely. If they weren't, they'd be doing something more lucrative and productive, like modeling or the nightly news.

Anonymous said...

You can always look on the bright side: homely means cozy, warm, inviting, pleasant in Brit English. Maybe the writer wasn't American.

bacaorr said...

I'd be Brady's homely librarian anyday.

Anonymous said...

If you've ever suffered through Ryan's columns (I'm a recovering MA resident) or his mercifully few appearances on ESPN Sports Reporters then you'd know that the loud-mouthed, know-nothing, know-it-all deserves all the abuse he can get.

They should actually ship in scorn from other countries to lay it on him.

If even if he writes a column about how awesome puppies and fresh-baked cookies are ... heaps of scorn. He deserves no less than maximum scorn.

Anonymous said...

Sad little creatures indeed.
Personally, I wouldn't want to be seen in public with Tom Brady.

Anonymous said...

Why are people wasting their time kvetching about this tool? That time could be better spent making oneself less homely.

It seems to me the librarians who are most offended by these comments really derive most of their identity from this career. All that matters to me is the person I sleep with doesn't think I am homely.

Anonymous said...

I've often been accused of being good looking, I guess that's why I no longer work in a library.

Anonymous said...

Most librarians I work with wear little or no makeup, and plain clothing. For whatever reason, they put little stock in their appearance, seems to me.

Anonymous said...

I second the vote on being Tom Brady's homely librarian!

Anonymous said...

Ok I'm a good looking guy and nobody believes I'm 46 and I love that. But sterotype... hell just look around the vendor display area at your next summer ALA. Herds of chunky bag ladies in sensible shoes. In the evenings they travel in herds of three or more. Sometimes I have sat in a mall or restaurant playing spot the librarians. Just where are those "hip" librarians vs. the librarians with hips.

Anonymous said...

As a homely person I am deeply, deeply offended! How dare they assume I'm a librarian?!

Anonymous said...

First "French naughty girls" and now "homely librarians". That's why I love reading this blog: non-discriminatory (indiscriminate?) inclusiveness. AL, you're so politically correct!!

---Kurt

Anonymous said...

Most librarians I work with wear little or no makeup, and plain clothing.

Even though I am not crazy about these two, Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear would probably have massive paroxysms if they dropped in at ALA. I am not a fashionista (H&M is high-end for me), but I try to dress appropriately and am stylish on the cheap. It isn't hard. In my wildest dreams I thought of starting a consulting service focusing on appearance management.

faithless minion said...

What if we messed with his copy a bit?
"And you can be sure Brady will be seen in public with a librarian before he engages in any discussion about the difference between the receivers he was forced to work with last season and the ones he has now."

Removing the offending adjective gives it a completely different cast: either Brady is a total rock (like, a librarian is the LAST person he'd EVER be seen with, cuz, you know...), or librarians have Strange Powers to discuss differentiation amongst receivers (this is about American-rules football, correct?).

Now consider this substitution:
"And you can be sure Brady will be seen in public with a lawyer before he engages in any discussion about the difference between the receivers he was forced to work with last season and the ones he has now."
Or priest, or guardian ad litem, or ex-wife, & so forth...

Bunny Watson said...

Most librarians I work with wear little or no makeup, and plain clothing.

Artificiality holds no interest for me, thus no makeup. I'm clean, neat, and my hair is brushed. What does homeliness (as an American adjective, that is) have to do with no makeup and plain clothing.

At any rate, since my sense of self-worth has nothing to do with my being a librarian, I'll ignore Ryan and move on.

Anonymous said...

But plain clothing and lack of makeup cuts down on the creepy patrons hitting on you, asking you out, and following you home.

j- said...

Thus, this is a perfect storm, innit? Indeed, most librarians are homely. They are also humorless, tone-deaf, and crippled with that disease which is pandemic to any left-wing populace: political correctness.

It reminds me of a gal in a library glass who took offense to me describing an evil stepmother in a work of fiction as a "typical evil stepmother". This witless dolt pigeonholed me after class to complain that she "was a stepmother" and "was not at all evil."

I told her her opinion did not matter and that all stepmothers are evil. Assuredly, her stepchildren on some level despised her--simply because she took the place of her mother.

What I'm trying to say is that if you don't see the homely person at the table it's because you are the homely person. And if you're getting flak it means you're over your target. And these homely librarians doth protest too much.

Or something.

Gilbert Bland said...

talk about stereotypes! Most sportswriters are stinky, drunken, unwashed half-wits who never put on a pair of shoulder pads in their life except when they were cross-dressing. If we really wanted to erase the stereotype of the homely librarian we should encourage good looking and skunky librarians to have more sex with the public and older male librarians to improve morale and image. During the act itself they could moan stuff like "ebsco...ebsco...ooooh...ebsco list! I doubt that studmuffin Brady would be so clever, instead shouting "blue...fourteen...hut...hut...hut...hut!

Kim said...

I am so over librarians being so precious about our image... get over it.

The world is diverse and so are we. Stop buying into the silliness and perpetuating the stereotypes by reacting like spoilt children when we are put in a box we aren't the only ones. We need to learn to laugh at this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Gilbert Bland is partially correct, although he overstated his premise.

I'm a non-librarian male, but married to a very smart and attractive one. In my former life, I was a "jock" of reasonable attributes - - and I had to deal with the sportswriters on a regular basis. IMO, Ryan is at the bottom of the pack - - no class and a writer who substitutes ad homenium remarks for substance.

As for Brady, he's typical of the current top jocks; however, given that these few years will most likely be his Glory Years before he sinks into obscurity and another young jock takes his place, I'll grant him the privilege of dating anyone he wishes - - a dizzy blonde an attractive PhD, or even a very smart librarian. What I DO object to is over-the-hill third rate retreads like Ryan belittling premier players who were then, are now, and will continue to be his athletic superiors. Reminds me of 'The Dog In The Manger" fable.

Anonymous said...

And what is it with the god-awful hairstyles that seem so abundant in librarianship?

Example:
http://www.aallnet.org/

I mean, you hate to say anything on the off-chance that they're recovering from traumatic brain injury....but really!

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, the classic librarido. Who needs the bother of putting your hair up in a severe bun, when you can just cut the bun off and gel down what's left?

Anonymous said...

oh seriously. if the offending members would just comb their damn hair and selected clothes that match, we'd be in a lot better shape.

and leave the ridiculous cat sweatshirts at home - they have no place in professional life.

cindy

Anonymous said...

"It reminds me of a gal in a library glass who took offense to me describing an evil stepmother in a work of fiction as a "typical evil stepmother"."

She was right to take offense. You misspoke. The word you wanted was "archetypal," "not "typical."

Anonymous said...

In our very shallow, visual, hyperactive mainstream culture,

No Makeup/Unprocessed Hair = Homely

bacaorr said...

Can you tell which one is the homely librarian?  It's a tough call.

j- said...

*"It reminds me of a gal in a library glass who took offense to me describing an evil stepmother in a work of fiction as a "typical evil stepmother"."

She was right to take offense. You misspoke. The word you wanted was "archetypal," "not "typical."*

Touché my nameless ami(e), touché. Ironically, I am as humbled as the young coed I once corrected--in the very same hallway as the stepmother incident, as a matter of fact-- after hearing her tell another that she was "like, so not motivated for this test" and correcting her...I couldn't resist because the library school was in the same building as the ENGLISH department for f*ck's sake.

Anonymous said...

Can I order a set of library glasses?

Anonymous said...

"No Makeup/Unprocessed Hair = Homely"

Quite correct. And it's not only homely, it's unAmerican. How can the world economy keep running smoothly if an entire female profession refuses to do its duty and keep buying new makeup, shoes, clothes, and hair products?

Sgt M said...

I can never understand why Librarians are so obsessed about their image and their perceptions within society.

There are stereotypes out there for every profession ie Lawyers, Accountants, IT professionals, Butchers, Academics, blah blah blah

None of them seem to care, so why should librarians?

And if I see another presentation on the representation of Librarians in popular culture at another Library conference I'll SCREAM!!!!!!

analoggirl said...

"Every stereotype has a grain of truth in it. Librarians *are* homely. If they weren't, they'd be doing something more lucrative and productive, like modeling or the nightly news."

I was a model before I was a librarian. Some people break a lot of sterotypes you narrow-minded douche bag!

j- said...

*I was a model before I was a librarian. Some people break a lot of sterotypes you narrow-minded douche bag!*

As has been thoroughly discussed here--many people failed at their first career before limping on over to library school, so don't feel bad.

[ducks]

AL said...

That's just mean. Funny, but mean.

Anonymous said...

As Bob Ryan makes clear in his blog
http://tinyurl.com/2fuvkf
(and as should be obvious), this was a dig at Brady, NOT at librarians.

Brady dates actresses and models, as the endless articles and photos we're subjected to make clear. And not many women look like Gisele Bundchen, never mind librarians.

Kimbre said...

Late at night relaxing, fiddling about, bobbing into blogs and once again traveling to silliness. We look like everyone else. Some of us, like me, are slender and love to participate in sports. I was a beauty pagent winner, and am still young and fit at age 46. I take care with style but am not to extremes. If you want to talk about chunky ladies, well what about society as a whole?

Some of us did just fine at our first career before launching a second. Who cares the idiots say?

Kimbre

ExLibrarianConsideringGoingBack said...

Best. Blog. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton started to go downhill when she cut off her attractive long hair and replaced it with a 1955 librarian special -or perhaps a 2008 librarian special.
I've seen some very beautiful women who are librarians, but I've seen a lot more who have buried their natural beauty by trying to look like "information scientists," business executives or administrator wannabes. Yuck.