"Language most shows a man," wrote Ben Jonson. "Speak that I may see thee." If for "man" we substitute "librarian" (or perhaps "guybrarian") and for "speak" we substitute "write," then we arrive at the subject of today’s post. Oh, and maybe for "thee" we should substitute "you," for those uncomfortable with archaic diction. I have a feeling such diction makes the gamey librarians uncomfortable, and they don’t need anything else to make them uncomfortable. They already have the Annoyed Librarian.
What an exciting time it is to be a librarian! How lucky we all are! What great fun we all have! What wonderful opportunities we all have! How exciting it is to be us!
Do any of us really get excited by all the supposedly excited librarians around us? Or do we just wonder what meds they’re on? This false enthusiasm just comes off sounding stupid (and perhaps even more stupid if it’s not false), as if the person was talking to a child or had the intellectual capacity of a child. In librarianship, you can never be sure which one you’re dealing with. I’m willing to give those YALSA folks the benefit of the doubt, because they spend their days around kids, whom they euphemize as "young adults." Everyone else in ALA has no excuse, unless the ALA has started hiring grade-schoolers to write their propaganda. (Come to think of it, that would explain a lot.)
Some very enthusiastic (!) librarians have come to my attention recently. A kind reader forwarded me an email from ALATechSource. I really should subscribe to all these silly ALA lists, but I just don’t have the stomach for it. Thus, as always, I rely upon the kindness of strangers. Those ALATechSource folks are very excited!
DON’T MISS THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY
Wow! All caps and an exclamation point. At this point you’re probably trembling with excitement. I know I am! But wait, there’s more! There always is from the gamey librarians.
All attendees will receive a copy of the April 2008 Library Technology Reports
"Gaming and Libraries: Broadening the Intersections" by Jenny Levine!
Plus chances to win great prizes!"
Wow! Three exclamation points in three sentences! They need to stop making me so excited, because someone might want to use this seat next. Nothing against Jenny Levine, but does the chance or receiving a free copy of a "library technology report" really warrant the exclamation point? Is the report that exciting?
On the other hand, there are great prizes! I love great prizes! What kind will they have? Paddle balls, maybe? Everyone loves paddle balls! Or super bouncy balls! Or squirt guns! Or whoopee cushions! Or bubbles to blow, blow, blow! Yay! The FUN (!) never stops with the gamey librarians, and if you don’t want to miss any of this fun, just….
Hurry-time is running out!"
This is exciting! It makes one wonder if they’re announcing a professional conference to other professionals, though. If so, what sort of professionals are these? Professional children? They sound like a bunch of second-graders inviting their friends over for a birthday party. How are we supposed to take people seriously when they write like this?
This promotion reminded me of something, though, an old Onion article: Clinton Deploys Very Special Forces to Iraq. "Clinton said the objective of the mission, dubbed Operation Great Job!, is twofold: to keep pressure on Saddam Hussein to permit the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, and to provide America’s very special forces with a positive, rewarding, esteem-building experience." (Read the whole article and see if it doesn’t remind you of the feel-good propaganda emanating from the ALA.) This is the line that I especially remembered: "’Colonel Gene [Diering] says that if we take out the communications tower in Al Basrah, we can have a pizza party," Pvt. Josh Paretsky of Dallas said. ‘Pizza party! Pizza party! Pizza party!’"
Appropriately altered: "If we go to the gamey conference, we’ll win great prizes." said librarian Josh Paretsky of Dallas. "Great prizes! Great prizes! Great prizes!"
Language most shows a librarian; write that I may see you. We all know that there is a category of librarians called "special librarians." Perhaps we should consider these gamey librarians Very Special Librarians indeed.