Ryan Dowd is great. He really is – his positive attitude and commitment to empathy for all human beings is something the world needs, especially in this current moment. But, I have to remind myself, Ryan Dowd is not a librarian.
Harper’s Magazine recently ran an open letter calling for the reestablishment of open debate in this culture war being fought on the front lines of social media. It was refreshing to learn of a written rebuttal to this open letter, but the cause would benefit more if you didn’t read it at all.
I’m relieved that Juan Vidal is not a librarian. The condescending and short-sighted tone of his article “Your Bookshelf May Be Part of the Problem” is so anathema to librarianship and the joy of reading it made my face contort.
Twitter’s format of quick-bite information does more harm than good to one’s information literacy development. But the company’s recent partnership with UNESCO to promulgate this modern-day imperative is a step in the right direction.
Oregon’s new stand-against-hate initiative is, in part, a reaction to the fatal MAX stabbings in Portland three years ago. But asking the government to intervene in our extralegal interactions does more to divide us than it does to unite. Especially when these interventions call for the compiling of data on speech that is of no legal consequence whatsoever.
The ability to stymy humiliation, to withhold judgement about intellectual pursuits is a pillar of intellectual freedom. Hachette’s recent move to cancel Woody Allen’s memoir represents an irreparable crack in this pillar as it buckles to sentiments anathema to an adult’s right to read.
The controversy surrounding American Dirt has eclipsed the novel entirely. And while it has spurred a worthy dialogue about the right to read (and write), the core message of the book has been lost in the midst.
The library as a shared space naturally brings people together, yet it can simultaneously foster deep divides within a community. The latter has taken shape recently in Seattle in a conflict between the transgender community and the Women’s Liberation Front.
Fish’s matter-of-fact arguments (as well as his humorous parenthetical-style) are disarming enough to make you go “huh!” and challenge a deeply-held perspective or two.
Outrage tends to oversimplify. Outrage over outrage tends exacerbate this, and shift focus away from the situation at hand. In a recent emblematic example, the author of an editorial who is fatigued by “ban worries” over school library books strives to differentiate between omission and censorship. This side-debate, albeit valuable, misdirects from actual censorship occurring within the confines of the original controversy. Go figure.