Hi there, library lovers. I feel bad that I haven’t had much to say lately, but unfortunately there isn’t much nice to say. Libraries are still having our budgets gutted, and some of us are getting a little tired of the battle. Libraries (unfortunately) can’t exist simply as caves in which librarians can live out our information dream-lives. We need funding to stay open, and pay to keep doing the job. Don’t nobody want to pay taxes, but the value of an educated public and plowed roads (for those of us who live in Soon-To-Be-Snowville) is too great not to pay. But I’m not going to talk about that anymore, because it makes me sad and angry. These pictures were taken of me while I wrote those first few sentences:
(Note: those aren’t me, except maybe the guy third from the left on the bottom. He might be me.)
When I think about libraries, I’m usually the second guy on the left, in the top row. Sometimes even the woman below him. Lately I’m the one on the lower right, and that’s off-putting for the lady who’s looking for Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher.
So, instead of wetting your screens with my tears, I’m going to focus on some less-serious matters.
Actually the first one is quite serious, and involves The Contrarian Media being plagiarized by one of the world’s largest media outlets. Well, ok, that’s not quite true, but still, check this out: you all remember my post last month about the history of crashes? You know, the one that made you ask yourselves exactly how mentally healthy the average Contrarian staffer is? (Answer: the average is the guy third form the left on the bottom row. You know, the one who might be me.) Well, that post was published on July 28th, more than two weeks before this article on the BBC. I admit the author did a little more research than I did, and that his article corrects some errors in my information, so I suppose I will accept the article as a correction and not carry on with any recourse. Oh, also, I would have no legal standing.
Let’s move on. I know what you all really want to read about: men in tights. I found this article a few weeks ago on Wired Magazine‘s GeekDad blog. The brief piece focuses on a question posed by psychologist and professor Sharon Lamb. Lamb asks whether or not the comic books (and related movies) being published (or produced) these days are harmful to children: “Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity.” Lamb, echoing the infamous beliefs of Fredric Wertham, argues that the young male comic readers of our time are being forced to decide between adopting an identity of either shallow macho pseudo-manhood or lazy, unengaged slacker. Now I admit that we, as a culture, should be more mindful about what we are feeding to the brains of our children, and I’m the first one in line when it comes to reimagining gender stereotypes. That said, Lamb is missing a major point: while there are many comic books and graphic novels being written for kids, a fair number of the books she’s speaking of, and the movies made from them, are written for adults. Comic books long ago shifted away from being an item for the enjoyment of the young, and are now focusing on far more grown-up issues. The problem isn’t the fact that contemporary comics are too violent or intense, the problem is that lazy parents don’t bother to look into the difference between Justice League Unlimited or Amelia Rules and Grant Morrison‘s recent Batman books. Is a ten-year-old boy going to understand the messages of Watchmen, whether in book or film form? Doubtful. Did comic-god and magician Alan Moore intend kids to read his book? Also doubtful. It’s time to realize that, as opposed to blaming the comics industry, we need to learn about stepping stones between Garfield and Irredeemable. Parents, try Jarrett Krosoczka‘s Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians, though admittedly you may need to explain to your kids that not all librarians are evil (only some) and that not all of us want to destroy video games.
That’ll do for this installment, patrons. Live well, talk to your local government about funding your library, and talk to your kids about what they read. We’ll get through the hard times together…