Now that it's settled who I'm not, I can get on to the exciting business of telling you who I am. I can get on to that exciting business, but of course I won't. Instead, I want to talk about one of my favorite subjects, me, or at least my blog.
This is nothing earth-shattering. I've just been ruminating as I sometimes do on why I bother writing this darned blog. After a couple of martinis of a Saturday evening, I sometimes think I should just give it up and do something good for my career. So I've been trying to justify the time spent writing this thing to myself.
Personally, about the best thing I can come up with is that the AL is therapeutic. Writing this is a good way to let off steam and have a little fun. When I began that's pretty much all it was, letting off steam and having a little fun, mostly for the entertainment of myself and the handful of cranky readers I gathered early on. I still write the blog mostly for those reasons, even though I now know more people read, and certainly a lot more people respond to the posts. The readers and comments certainly help keep me going, but the therapeutic value is also worthwhile. Better write a blog than take pills, though my critics might disagree.
It may be the case that others read the AL for therapy as well. I get comments and emails along the lines of, "I thought I was the only one until I found the AL" or "Reading the AL got me through the morning." It's nice to hear, and I only wish my little team of assistants and I could crank this stuff out more quickly, just in case some poor librarian goes crazy one morning waiting for an AL fix that never comes. Thus, the AL is possibly therapeutic for more librarians than just me, especially some of the more, er, disturbed readers of the AL. I think it's obvious based on the comments that I've got a handful of readers who are very unhappy or angry. Some librarians are dismayed by some of the comments, but the comments offer people a way to vent without going crazy at work. They provide a service not available or allowed elsewhere. Fortunately for us all, the existence of the AL means that we'll never have to hear people use phrases like "go librarian" the way we now have "go postal." All part of my public service.
But it also seems to serve a diagnostic function for the readers as well. I'm sure you'd love to diagnose me sometime (the AL: narcissistic personality disorder and megalomania, combined with a large portion of irony and apathy, sung to the tune of "Ebony and Ivory"). But it's clear that how you respond to the AL says as much about you as it does about the blog.
Early on there were the regressive librarians, who used to fume like crazy that there was someone reasonably articulate who made fun of their silly attempts to politicize the ALA with their totalitarian stylings. Lots of librarians of many different political persuasions don't want to politicize the ALA, and say so in comments and emails. The regressives sputtered, as one prominent regressive once said of himself, and just came off looking ridiculous. Since their ass-kicking at ALA last midwinter, I haven't heard much from the regressives. You've been diagnosed as a regressive librarian if you get angry that someone makes fun of attempts to politicize the ALA.
Then there are the twopointopians. You've been diagnosed as a twopointopian if you get irritated by the term rather than think it's amusing. If it makes you mad that someone is criticizing something called the cult of twopointopia, then you're probably part of that cult. If it doesn't bother you, then you're not part of the cult, no matter how "2.0" you might be professionally. The AL's just a Rorschach Test. You see what you want to see in it.
Oh, and of course there's the handful of pseudonym-haters, the ones who get so upset both that the AL is pseudonymous and that I allow anonymous comments and rarely delete any (though I do delete the ones that are nothing but ad hominem attacks or that use language inappropriate for this family blog). Some people just get so bothered. But since most people don't seem to be bothered, I think that says a lot about the people being bothered. Is it a lack of control that they'd like to have but don't? They don't have to read, of course, but they don't want anyone else to read either. They just get so frustrated. I'm sure there's something in the DSM-IV-TR that would cover their condition, but their attitude says as much about them as about the AL.
We shouldn't leave out the ones who just really don't want to know who writes the AL. I suppose for them the AL is more therapy than diagnosis, though. They think they'd be disappointed if they found out who the real author was. They very well might be. One of the things I found amusing about the speculations that Meredith Farkas writes the AL (which I like to think of as the Farkas Fracas) is the assumption that when/if the AL is unmasked, it will turn out to be someone you've heard of. Maybe, maybe not. I don't want to spoil it for you. But what if the AL turned out to be just some bored librarian or group of librarians sitting around having a lark? Would that lessen the impact? Or what if the AL turned out to be someone ensconced in ALA headquarters? Does it matter at all who writes the AL? Does the identity of the author(s) somehow change what's written? All questions I might consider when I write my memoirs, tentatively entitled, of course, Relaxin' with the AL. I might as well use the title now that the blog is defunct.
For me, all this just adds an extra and fun dimension to writing the AL. As you read the AL (or anything else, I'm not being egocentric), to a great extent you project onto the AL what you want or hope or fear. The fun part is that as you're reading the AL, I might just be reading you.