Out of Context or Being a Hypocrite

Either way, you look like an ass hat.

On Being a Hypocrite

Two things recently popped up that make my want to wash my hands of the constant hand wringing and “I am better then the common man” librarianship that seems to be the common backlash against innovation and free thought. One involves me personally.

I believe Michael Gorman was sad that we were not talking about him anymore and thus wrote the most ridiculous thing he could imagine. Jason Griffey firmly slams many of Gorman’s arguments. I would only add two things.

There is this sentence:

The task before us is to extend into the digital world the virtues of authenticity, expertise, and scholarly apparatus that have evolved over the 500 years of print, virtues often absent in the manuscript age that preceded print.

It made me wonder if Mr. Gorman ever studied coterie writing and if he found that too to be lacking. I wonder if all of the minority scholars, many of them unable to publish for years because of their gender or race, are less valuable because they were not readily accepted into the Authority of Print.

Secondly, Mr. Gorman managed to insult my belief structure as well as lambaste a form of communication which he himself used to publish this ridiculous tripe. Good Job.

On Taking Things Out of Context to Make a Scholarly Point and Thus Making Yourself Look Less Than Scholarly

This bothers me more because I was used as an example of why blogs are bad at the most recent NASIG conference. In a presentation at NASIG, the speaker was bashing blogs because of our trivial writing and cited, of all things, this post I wrote after CiL.

Updated: Here is the link to the presentation summary from NASIG. And another. (thanks to kgs and Kathryn).

I find it amusing that the speaker would use me as an example at all. There are more trivial blogs out there. My blog is semi-professional to begin with and I never claim to have any authority except over myself. But for a scholar, to use that post, instead of this one, or this, or this, in a presentation at a national conference to say that all librarian bloggers are trivial is harmful and wrong. A lie one might say.

Taking things out of context and making them more important than they truly are does nothing to prove your point. That CiL post was trivial. I wrote it that way and I do not claim to have any authority because of it. What it does prove is that you are afraid.

You are afraid that I have been given a voice. You are afraid that people actually read what I have to say. You are afraid because I am young and do not buy into your pedagogy of librarianship. You are afraid that I am stealing some power you believe you hold. You are afraid of change and the turning of the seasons. You are made of fear and you think that your fear can hurt me.

I am not afraid. You can not take away my ability to write what I choose and give it voice in a place where people can read it and respond. Your fear is what gives me authority.

–Jane, “I will not be moved.”

17 thoughts on “Out of Context or Being a Hypocrite

  • June 13, 2007 at 8:55 am

    Oh dear, I missed that NASIG talk because I was holed up in my room working on my slides. I actually meant to attend it, in which case I could have leapt up and shouted, “Scoundrels!”

    Anyway, good lambasting, that.

  • June 13, 2007 at 9:00 am

    People who bash blogs (and Twitter and instant messaging) because the content is “trivial” really do not understand blogs (and seem to not understand human communication). I think you’re right that there is fear there. And you’re absolutely right to not bow to that fear. Although it’s not really fear that gives you authority, it’s your own skill, knowledge, and experience. You know what you’re talking about, and these people don’t. That is your authority. Their fear just makes them look silly and sad.

  • June 13, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Wow. Trivial? Seriously? Why didn’t they cite a pony w/ monocle post. Ha. That is even more insane and bugs me more than Gorman. I get all sort of info and inspiration from your blog (and pretty much every library blog I read). And keeping up with a friend. Perhaps the speaker should have read some of your TechSource posts as well. Nothing trivial there. Jeez.

  • June 13, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Good lord. I have this new rule of not commenting on conference presentations based on blog or other reporting, but this is a little extreme. (I sure hope I know which of the two editors it was, since I’m acquainted with one of the two and can’t BELIEVE he would say something that…well, “disconnected” is a kind term.)

    Actually, it has to be the other one, because columns in the one magazine (really not a professional journal in this case) certainly include informal prose and personal viewpoints, just as columns do in American Libraries, Library Journal, every ITI magazine I’ve ever seen…

    You use a blog in a manner I’d call both professional and appropriate: Each post serves its own purposes. The post in question was a drive-by comment, neither a Serious Professional Statement nor a Developed Argument (both of which you also do).

    OK, it’s time to get serious about the post and/or essay I was planning about the place of blogs in contemporary library discussions. It’s fair to say that I differ ever so slightly with Michael Gorman (and apparently this editor) on this issue, and I guess it’s time to say so–and to say why. (John Dupuis’ review of my book raises the issue nicely, and that also pushes me to do the post.)

    So, thanks for another push to write an essay that will offend a few people and that I think I’ll be proud of–and thanks for doing worthwhile blogging, both in casual quickie posts and in fully-developed arguments.

    Oh, and what Joshua says.

  • June 13, 2007 at 10:45 am

    I have a different take. Everyone has the right to have any level of online presence they want. However, everyone can also have the right to have their reasons for having such presence (or not). I don’t have a professional blog for two main reasons: 1) I know that I would be extremely irresponsible with it; and 2) my identity still isn’t authoritative enough for the content to speak for itself. (It will be a while before I back off of the second reason.)

  • June 13, 2007 at 1:24 pm


    I think that when people need to diminish the efforts of others to make themselves look/feel better it speaks to a pettiness in our profession. There always will be a tearing down of new ideas in any field and I think that in being such an effective advocate they think that equates with you being a target. My blog is my blog with my words, my thoughts, and my impressions of events, people, and places. People who are expecting the replication of print media do not indeed “get it”. I am proud to work with you and respect your willingness to take on the pioneer role.

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  • June 13, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Offend away. I am looking forward to reading it and glad to be the one that pushed you over the edge (but in a good way).

    Everyone else,
    This would be way less fun without you. 😉

  • June 13, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Apparently your critic has forgotten about the importance of collaboration in our profession. How can we collaborate if we can not communicate? Even “trivial” posts communicate.

    The post your critic sited was one in which you let your readers know you’d be out for a bit. You still wanted to keep the lines of communication open so you sent out the blog-equivalent of a busy-signal. How is that different from an auto-response vacation message via email? Because it’s informal?

    What part of blogging 101 did he miss?

    This is making me crabby.

  • June 13, 2007 at 7:16 pm


    Thanks. Of course, I won’t be offending you…I will be offending those who believe that the formal literature is the only thing that counts.

  • June 13, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Walt, I knew you would not be offending me and even if you did, well, at least we could discuss it like adults and not settle for sloppy logic. /laughing

  • June 14, 2007 at 1:22 am

    I too find this more disappointing than Gorman’s most recent contribution. What a cheap shot – petty, vindictive and snobbish. Blogging is a different game from the academic publishing game.

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  • August 18, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    hi nice post, i enjoyed it

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