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The Shortest Way with the Dissenters

Totalitarians and ideological fanatics don’t like dissent. Whether their false religion is communism or regressive librarianship or whatever, failure to bow down before their profane altar draws wary glances, and open mockery of their tawdry rites brings them out snarling and sniping like lapdogs.

For those of you tuning in late, the Annoyed Librarian started life in the "conservative library blog" ghetto, back in the days when there was such a ghetto. Unfortunately it’s gone away for the most part. It’s still an open question as to whether I or the blog are or were ever conservative, but I really don’t care one way or the other how you answer the question, since I’m not one of those knee-jerk politicos who automatically hates people if the "wrong" political label is applied to them. But, because I made common cause with the conservative bloggers over the politicization of the ALA Council, and because of a column in American Libraries classifying me as a "dissident librarian," and because I don’t think children should be exposed to pornography at their public library, I was attacked and labelled and smeared. It was a fun ride. What my critics have rarely noticed is that I almost never attack a specific person unless they’ve attacked me first (or unless their pretentiousness is so overwhelming I just can’t help myself). Apparently they thought my demure manner meant I wouldn’t respond to their ridiculous charges. They were wrong.

The latest snipe is from a "distinguished" professor of library science at some little library school down in Dixie who really hates the Annoyed Librarian. Naturally she’s a part of the Regressive Librarians Guild, and seems to think anyone to the right of Che Guevara is a fascist. She likes to "out" people and keep them silent if they don’t agree with her. Her latest gig is writing the LJ Editor attacking me. She forwarded the email to the REFORMA listserv (where someone forwarded it to me), and prefaced the email to REFORMA with "This is a very powerful statement," which also shows how full of herself she is.

The Humorless Unionator wrote saying how evil I was, and she attached an article from the Regressive Librarian’s political organ entitled "On Anonymity in Libraryland Blogging," jointly authored by the Humorless Unionator, the Sniping Bronc, and Cranky Marxist Dude, all of whom had been attacking me onlistservs and in the comments section of the Blatant Berry Blog before I’d said a word about them. (I don’t know why they didn’t get any help from the Griping Illini , but he was probably busy haranguing the ALA Council on how important it is for American libraries that US foreign policy change, like he was doing last week.) Back in the day the Humorless Unionator said how hateful I and all the other "anonymous" conservative bloggers were. The other blogger being discussed was David Durant, who used to write a blog called Heretical Librarian. Since his blog was never anonymous or hateful, it was apparent to me that she was attacking blogs based upon no knowledge whatsoever of their contents. They were "conservative," and thus evil and hateful and should be silenced.  Some people use political labels as a substitute for thought.

Anyway, Sniping Bronc, Humorless Unionator, and Cranky Marxist Dude make it very clear in this article that they don’t like "anonymous" blogs, especially "anonymous" blogs by "conservatives." They complain about the tone of these blogs, but considering statements they’d made about me, that was a bit hypocritical. What really bothers them, I suspect, is that a nobody from nowhere armed only with a blog and the truth made their political posturing look so silly, and that the increasing readership meant that lots of well meaning librarians considered them silly as well and were less likely than ever to relent to their hectoring. They’re the sort of people who get all hot and bothered just knowing that someone is reading this blog. I think any reasonable person can see that they really don’t care about anonymous or even pseudonymous blogging in libraryland. If the AL was praising Maoist librarians or brownnosing communist dictators anonymously, they’d be writing about the refreshing anonymous stances people were willing to take.

I can always tell the people who want to silence dissent from the people who tolerate it, that is, the totalitarians from the liberals. The librarians who want to silence dissent inevitably ignore everything but the alleged anonymity. That’s really all they can grasp at, because they know they don’t have an argumentative leg to stand on. Also, I might point out, it’s almost always the political totalitarians out there who focus on this. It’s not the twopointopians or the gamey librarians. They seem to be happy dismissing me as a harmless crank, and, frankly, somewhere deep down I know they’re trying to do good things for libraries, even though I might not agree with those things. But the political fanatics are another issue entirely. They have no interest in doing any good for libraries or librarians. They want to use libraries, librarians, and library organizations as political tools to engage issues that have nothing to do with librarianship. They want to manipulate us all into becoming their ideological running dogs and they use libraries and librarianship as a cover for their broader political activity.

My problem with this isn’t their political positions or activism. As long as people keep their laws off my body and my thoughts, I really don’t care what they do. You want to go march in protest at something, go ahead. I think you’re wasting your time, but as long as it makes you feel better and you’re not screaming in my face, I don’t care. You want to write articles about how bad the United States is, go ahead. It’s still a free country, more or less, no thanks to you. Do whatever you like in your bedroom; just don’t do it in the streets and scare the horses.

The problem comes when the ideological totalitarians want to use the rest of us as their political tools. I was happy to make common cause with the avowed conservative bloggers, but if they’d suggested having the ALA Council pass resolutions on abortion or stem cell research or science education, I would have been just as happy to mock them. What has always bothered me is the way the totalitarians believe that every person and every institution exists to be used for their political purposes. Instead of badgering the ALA Council to pass resolutions about important issues for American libraries, they want the ALA to comment on US foreign policy, as if anyone cares what the ALA has to say about that. In the process, they make librarians and the ALA look like blowhards (admittedly, the ALA helps a lot). Take the resolution on Gaza last week. There was no reason for the ALA to make a statement about that, especially when there are American libraries that need saving. Sure, there are a lot of poor, helpless people in Gaza, but there are a lot of poor, helpless people in this country in danger of losing their libraries, from Philadelphian urbanites to country folk all over America whose libraries are in danger. There are serious library-related political issues that the Council and the Regressive Librarians could be addressing, but those issues aren’t sexy. Conflict in Gaza is a sexy topic. Genocide in Darfur is a sexy topic. Complaining about "anonymous" library blogs is a sexy topic. Ill treatment of American librarians or shoddy library services to the American poor are just so booooring.

Do you want to know why I keep writing? I’d almost forgotten until this little shenanigan. It’s not just my bartender / masseur Chip, the big corner office overlooking the city, or the six-figure salary LJ pays me to blog, though these are nice. I write to give voices to those who don’t have them, the librarians out there who are badgered and harried and bullied. The ones who tolerate the rantings of political thugs because they think they don’t have a choice, because they’re afraid to just come out and say, "hey, you know what, I’d rather have the ALA do something for librarians and stay out of politics, and that doesn’t make me a fascist." I write for all the librarians who are told that if they’re not blogging or facebooking or twittering then they’re useless to the profession because they’re not on the "clue train." I write for the librarians who put up with incompetent managers and low salaries and library perverts because they think it’s important to share a book with a child or help people get answers to tough questions. I write for the librarians out there sick to death of the stuffy pretension pervading this profession, the ones who like libraries and librarians but want to scream when they read another post or article about how librarians are going to save the world one library card at a time. I write for those librarians who were wooed into library school by the false promises of the ALA. I write for the smart librarians who wonder why library school is such an intellectual joke. I write to expose the lies and burst the pretensions of librarianship. I write to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

And I write for the Humorless Unionator, and for all the humorless unionators out there who go crazy knowing someone, somewhere dissents from their ideological line, those who want to silence dissent because they can’t refute it, those patently illiberal fanatics who want to destroy their opponents because they can’t be bothered to argue with them. I write just to disagree with you because I know how much you hate the idea of dissent from your party line. Trotsky once said of Stalin that he "seeks to strike, not at the ideas of his opponent, but at his skull." For totalitarians, the shortest way with the dissenters is to silence them.

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Comments

  1. Herman Munster says:

    So now that you’ve totally run out of topics, you’re blogging about yourself?

  2. Former Academic Librarian says:

    Keep blogging, AL. Dissident, conservative, whatever. Thoughtful folks in Libraryland may not agree with every post, but should recognize that a critical analysis of current library issues has value. Even when I think you’re off your barstool, AL, I appreciate your argument as the important counterpoint to all the “yay us!” that pervades library journals.

  3. Vegans For Meat says:

    Herman Munster, you obviously haven’t been reading this blog for long or you wouldn’t have made such an ignorant statement. I know library school is not that challenging, but didn’t you at least know that you should understand the entirety of something before you make a sweeping statement about it?

    I started reading the AL years ago and enjoyed it for the very reasons stated in the above post. I remember reading an article written by Mark C. Rosenzweig about how he believed the entire profession of librarianship via the ALA should adopt a secular humanist stance as its guiding source of principles and actions. I was appalled by the article because he did not prove one way or the other why this would be a good thing, and more importantly, how he imagined such a project being implemented, only that it would be good. It was simply a baseless idea that, true to PLG nature, was utopian and thereby unworkable. Not to mention, the article was nearly impossible to read because of MCR’s ultra-tortured writing style.

    I began to wonder what this group of socialists and other far-left leaning librarians believed they could accomplish by using the ALA Council as their own political lobbying group.
    I think the AL brought this point to the fore in a way no other “conservative” blogger was able to at the time. The fact that she has continually flustered this group is saying something. They seem to really feel threatened by her. If that’s the case, I say if for no other reason, this blog has been useful.

  4. librarydude says:

    Good to see the AL cheerleaders are out in full force today. Go team!

  5. His Name Is Alive says:

    You know librarydude, self-flattery will get you know where.

  6. Chump Change says:

    “I write for the librarians who put up with incompetent managers and low salaries and library perverts because they think it’s important to share a book with a child or help people get answers to tough questions” Good gravy, that’s me! You write for me! And I truly thank you for it. And I think one of these totalitarians is my professor. Eek.

  7. Eddie says:

    I don’t think that last play was really a fumble but I have to congratulate the Steelers on a good win last night. Hopefully the Cardinals can build on this momentum and get back to the Super Bowl next year.

  8. Library Goddess says:

    AMEN!

  9. sidney says:

    librarydude is another person who just can’t stand it that a lot of people actually like the Annoyed Librarian. Yet another reason to write.

  10. Screaming in silence says:

    “I write for the librarians out there sick to death of the stuffy pretension pervading this profession, the ones who like libraries and librarians but want to scream when they read another post or article about librarians are going to save the world one library card at a time.” — You speak for me. Thank you.

  11. Not just a librarian says:

    What Screaming in silence said.

  12. the.effing.librarian says:

    If they defeat you, get you fired or make you wear a funny hat, I will let you post through my blog if you want. I don’t have any money to offer, but I will share my lunch with you and get you a chair from the warehouse that doesn’t have too many stains so you have a place to sit. Sadly, I don’t have and “lady booze” like vodka to share, but I have gallons of bourbon.

  13. librarydude says:

    How can I promote my love when she keeps removing my comments?

  14. Dixie says:

    A-freakin’-men.
    Oh, wait, I forgot I’m a left-wing humanist atheist, so I guess I shouldn’t say that.

    Regardless of where I am on the political grid, though, I’m still with you on this one AL. While librarianship is concerned with lots of social issues, and you can look at anything from a macro perspective, I agree that the profession shouldn’t be used as an outright political conduit.

    Wasn’t this the whole reason the AL got started anyway? Annoyance at the ALA for its let’s-save-the-world political bandwagon-jumping?

  15. infostud says:

    tl;dr but I find it offensive

  16. I will not take a drink today says:

    li;liea;dssloolo;sil;LOL;ksi;si;infoslut, you know?

  17. ConfusedByItAll says:

    After another weekend with the above-mentioned incompetent managers and insufferably egotistical librarians, I wonder why I put up with the fools. Then I read your column, AL, and I remember why — I want to help people find the information they need. Thank you, AL.

  18. zardok says:

    I like dissent. Dissent must be allowed. And I will shout down anyone who disagrees with me.

  19. Brent says:

    It’s pretty easy to believe in free speech and silencing the opposition when you view them to be intolerant, ignorant, or hateful.

  20. huh says:

    That doesn’t make any sense.

  21. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    “I write for all the librarians who are told that if they’re not blogging or facebooking or twittering then they’re useless to the profession because they’re not on the “clue train.” Well you sure as hell do write & speak for me most of the time, and I am Far from conservative.

    You GO AL…YOU GO GIRL!!!

  22. Hippieman says:

    We need more unions. Look at the French. Higher productivity than the US and an effective social safety net. Go UNIONATER!

  23. publiclibrarEwoman says:

    I lean a bit towards the liberal side of things, and I still enjoy reading this blog as well as the comments. I do not see the connection between much of what is discussed on here and the political world. To me, whether or not someone likes gaming in the library and to what extent, for instance, is a matter of educational philosophy and personal beliefs–not political affiliation. Plus, I’m sure there are people of all political affiliations who do not like dealing with perverts in the library. So many of the issues discussed here are not directly related to wider political views, in my opinion.

  24. publiclibrarEwoman says:

    I lean a bit towards the liberal side of things, and I still enjoy reading this blog as well as the comments. I do not see the connection between much of what is discussed on here and the political world. To me, whether or not someone likes gaming in the library and to what extent, for instance, is a matter of educational philosophy and personal beliefs–not political affiliation. Plus, I’m sure there are people of all political affiliations who do not like dealing with perverts in the library. So many of the issues discussed here are not directly related to wider political views, in my opinion.

  25. Parapro from KY says:

    Would you believe, I’m under NO pressure here to do any tweeting or facebooking or blogging. And when I mention, hoping for some “keeping up with library trends” points, that I read some of the library blogs, I can feel them smothering a yawn.

    OTOH I did get a Facebook page… but it’s anonymous. :D

  26. Frogger says:

    It’s just a shame that the AL has to speak for so many librarians who don’t have the backbone to speak for themselves.

  27. Morse says:

    The political part in the past, if I’m remembering correctly, was pretty much always just criticizing ALA Council resolutions about political issues having nothing to do with librarianship and maybe making fun of unions.

  28. sidney says:

    Maybe it isn’t that they don’t have the backbone to speak for themselves, but they don’t have a prominent platform from which to speak. That alone might explain part of the popularity of this blog.

  29. yeahmetoo says:

    Blog on AL!

  30. librarydude says:

    Prominent platform? This is Library Journal.

  31. Bonobo says:

    The tactics of intolerance the AL describes seem more Maoist or Khmer-rougeian (if there is such a word) than true socialist. They don’t want her to be anonymous because it gives her a power and they want to break her down. The game plan is kind of obvious. So stay Anonymous and Annoyed

  32. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    The shortest way with dissenters? Why a walk off the gang plank, of course! Arrr!

  33. krispy kreme says:

    It looks like the Obama cabinet is full of dissenters. So far, we have two admitted tax evaders. And we thought Bush was bad!

  34. original library cynic says:

    BRAVO AL!!! I think I had it with the cr@p back in the late 70′s, when ALA went on a crusade for the ERA, threatening to boycott cities in states that had not ratified it. The proposed amendment died, and exactly how it affected the betterment of all libraries, librarians, and library services mystifies me yet, though there is one county nearby that is talking about a law allowing “transgendered” into the restrooms of whatever gender they thought they were. Yeah, they’re ticked at you, AL. You got ‘em mad, and they want to know who you are so they can bring you down. I don’t always agree with you, but I probably do agree more often than not. You DO speak for a heck of a lot of us on matters relative to librarianship and ALA . We have all had to deal with supercilious poseurs like your enemies in libraryland. They really, really do deserve to be B*tch-slapped, verbally, if not literally [and I know I’d love to see the latter one day]. Aside from that, maybe a martini in the face or lap would do, but it would be a waste of good liquor. When ALA sets up its own library branch in Darfur, perhaps, but it can’t even get its own act together here and do things REALLY positive and concrete for the betterment of library service and librarians as a whole. Instead we have these silly, trite, political forays that are about as relevant as passing a resolution on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We have an economy in tatters and library budgets to match, another round of pink slips waiting in the wings – with jobs that may go out the door forever, aging library infrastructure, a digital divide, and what do you get for your dues?!

  35. Daddy Warbucks says:

    “So far, we have two admitted tax evaders.” Tax Rebels! ;-)

  36. anonymous says:

    Shorter is better. Jeez, what was this, a guest ghost from Kat? By the time I got to the bottom, I couldn’t even remember whose column I was reading.

  37. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    AL, that was, in my opinion, one or your absolutely best blog posts. Thank you Library Journal for hosting the Annoyed Librarian. Thank you AL for speaking out as you do. I too find librarians intimidated by the ALA, but in no way can I express it as well as you did here. Brava!!!

  38. Library Observer says:

    Thanks LJ for publishing AL. It is one of her best posts.

  39. Detached Amusement says:

    I surfed over to the “Progressive Librarian” web site. What a blast from the past. Totally retro. It appears to be
    some folks who were born too late and are trying to relive a bad imitation of the 1960′s. It’s too bad Richard Nixon isn’t alive to attack. Break out the bongos and lava lamps. It’s the next thing to watching a “Billy Jack” film on video. I invite others to go back in the stacks, so to speak, and look it over. Just what the heck does waterboarding have to do with library service?!? Support your mental health association..
    …sheesh!

  40. V For Vendetta says:

    “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh… Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.”

  41. Dash Canyon says:

    Tom Daschle “forgot” to pay some of his taxes. So he gets rewarded with a Cabinet post. It’s good to see that nothing has changed in Washington.

  42. her_welshness says:

    The references from their (by John Buschman et al) essay does it for me. Together with the entire piece it is a futile attempt to ‘academically’ argue against anonymous blogging. Ladies and gents, we all know what this is really about. These people are just a bunch of egotistical prigs who feel they are being picked on because someone chooses to disagree with them. Furthermore, it is a defensive, unintelligent and badly written piece of writing and holds a dreadfully argued position. The use of words, ‘attack’, ‘mask’, ‘secrecy’ and ‘vicious’ has no real association with the AL blog. These people have to be mocked because their ridiculous political agenda has no place in the library world.

    Thanks AL.

  43. Hero says:

    Why did I just read the John Buschman letter? That was painful. Thank you AL for being a voice of reason, as well as for satifying my boss’s request that we all read professional blogs.

  44. Hero says:

    I don’t know why I keep torturing myself. When Buschman, et al, wrote: “These bloggers may well be our new Shakespeare, Morrison, Austen, or Cervantes, their words deathless, their reasoning flawless. However, when they choose to enter the public arena, disguise is not a noble stance,” did they not realize Austen published under the name A Lady?

  45. Mongo says:

    Thanks for writing. Anything that takes the pompus piss out of the idiotic political posturing of the ALA is ok with me.

  46. her_welshness says:

    But this issue is not really about anonymity John, is it? It’s about fear. You are scared about dissent. The argument for public name v anonymous thinker is a smokescreen for your inability to come up with any reasoned argument. It’s also about your political views being inanely melded with library policy that is so terrifyingly wrong. So what do you do next John? You rabidly attack anonymity and the AL.

  47. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    I think the point is John there is nothing to take on. The political positions of your group have become more fruitless with each passing resolution. Why? Because you have no power. Even the former first lady had more power to effect libraries then most of you. You take your positions because they are safe and know there are no consequences for failure. This is far worse then being anonymous its vanity. It makes the rest of the profession look like a joke as it divides ALA and water downs our ability to take positions on issues that do matter.

    Tim Reynolds

  48. Steve Thompson says:

    I seem to remember something in Obama’s inauguration speech about a new era of responsibility. Yet the president fully supports several of his cronies who have admitted to being tax cheats. Bill Richardson, Tom Daschle and Timothy Geithner – sounds like the same old Washington once the glow of the election starts to fade.

  49. Vegans For Meat says:

    John, I think many people, today and historically, would disagree with you. Was Soren Kierkegaard’s writings invalid because he used pseudonyms, several of them? He attacked the clergy (in not a very nice way) using the same tactics that the AL uses to attack the excesses of the ALA Council. Does this by itself invalidate Kierkegaard’s attacks?

    While it is true that sometimes pseudonymous librarians, or commenter’s using “handles,” can and have abused the extra-power of communication afforded in an online medium—this, in and of itself—does not invalidate this mode of dialogue. The article you, MCR, and Kathleen wrote is simply not convincing; anonymity in “libraryland” is I believe a valid form of identification, particularly when a career or the possibility of getting a job is at stake. I don’t think your argument withstands the timeless historical tradition of anonymity/pseudonymity.

  50. Herman Munster says:

    Just because it’s been done before doesn’t make it right.

  51. KL says:

    Gotta love this–from the “Libraryland” letter to the editor: “First and foremost, among the points to address is the notion of intellectual freedom as a right, coupled with anonymous speech holding a similar status. Without repeating the long history here, intellectual freedom is our field’s version of academic freedom – not a “right” but rather a hard fought space or zone of freewheeling inquiry and exchange in the academy (and thus in libraries) that tenure is meant to protect (see Buschman and Rosenzweig, 1999 and Buschman, 2006). In other words, intellectual freedom is a variant also meant to protect open, public exchange in the interests of an open society and democracy. Intellectual freedom as a pillar of support for anonymous speech – particularly the attack-mode variety – is thus a shaky foundation.” Intellectual freedom isn’t a right? Oh, excuse me–a “right”?

  52. AlwaysWanted2B says:

    Dissent is a key part of our freedom in this country and sometimes that dissent must be anonymous. People are punished for being dissenters. Anonymity scares some people because it is harder to shut down. I remember an underground “campus” paper from my college days. It was called the “F@artBlossom” . Its masthead feature a bent-over man with his head up his – well you know. This paper was far better than the official campus newspaper and it really angered the University administration, especially because they did not know who the editors were. But they often told the untold truths and asked the questions others were afraid or unable to ask. I don’t always agree with AL, but I think her questions and comments deserve a forum.

  53. deep throat says:

    Tom Daschle’s appointment to head Health and Human Services was initially praised. But Daschle, we learned, never paid taxes for a limousine service provided to him by a prominent New York investor. In addition, reporters have documented his work for health-care interest groups. Daschle finally paid back taxes when his accountant raised the issue.

    Though the circumstances aren’t the same, Obama should pay attention to what happened when Carter stood by his friend Bert Lance, a former president of the Calhoun First National Bank of Georgia and director of the Office of Management and Budget.

    Lance’s investments became a subject in the Senate confirmation hearings. Nothing came of the stories, particularly after Lance promised he would sell his stocks in Georgia banks before dealing with any legislation related to banking.

    In early summer 1977, Lance found that selling his stock would be a huge financial blow, not only to himself, but to the banks. He asked the president if he could place the stock in a blind trust so there would be no charges of impropriety and the stock could be sold in better market conditions.

    As the Senate Government Affairs Committee considered the change, questions emerged in the press about alleged financial improprieties during Lance’s time in Georgia, including a $3.4 million loan he received from the First National Bank of Chicago. The Senate nonetheless did not find anything wrong and approved Lance’s request.

    An investigation by the Comptroller of the Currency found Lance did nothing legally wrong, though some investigators said he had shown poor judgment on “unsound” practices. During a press conference, Carter turned to Lance and said “Bert, I’m proud of you.”

    Many advisers thought Carter had to take a stand and get rid of Lance. After all, Carter campaigned in 1976 by promising voters could trust him. He constantly differentiated himself from the corrupt practices that characterized Richard Nixon’s administration.

    Carter promised to uphold the highest ethical standards in presidential history and said his administration would not even give the appearance of impropriety.

    But Carter refused to back down with Lance, insisting he was innocent, and standing by his friend.

    Carter’s defiant stand made him look suspect. There were some stories about Carter having consciously ignored these problems when he selected Lance. “The Watergate syndrome was still very much alive in Washington,” Carter wrote in his memoirs.

    He was unable to perceive how bad the stories looked to a public scarred from Watergate. August and September 1977 were consumed by stories about Lance and as a result the administration could not devote sufficient attention to the Middle East, the Salt II Treaty, and energy policy.

    In mid-September, Lance appeared again before a Senate committee and more accusations emerged. Senators revealed Lance had used a corporate airplane to wine and dine customers and that some in his wife’s family had written bad checks without consequences.

    Time magazine concluded, “It was inevitable, of course, that the old memories of Johnson and Nixon surfaced. Though Carter’s troubles were only a tiny fraction of those of the other two presidents, the pattern of response was distressingly familiar.”

    Lance finally resigned, realizing the damage that was being done. Carter, who enjoyed strong approval ratings in his first hundred days, accepted the resignation and suffered declining popularity.

    Although Lance was later acquitted of wrongdoing in a trial that followed his resignation, Carter’s presidency was never the same after the Lance controversy. The image Carter had carefully cultivated, so appealing to Americans in 1976, was impossible to restore.

  54. Vegans For Meat says:

    Responses are all over the map here, so let me say again, and again: If you’re afraid you won’t get a job because your attacks would be linked to you (and therefore you “should” remain anonymous), that is not the most honorable position (to say the least), nor logically defensible.

    Not every librarian has the benefit of tenure where it really matters little what you say, at least in the matters of employment. Also, just because there are some who use ad hominem attacks in this venue does not mean the entire means of identifying one self anonymously in this context is invalid (you know what cliché this point refers to).

  55. Brent says:

    AL is not anonymous. She is an academic librarian, a member of ALA, likes martinis, and looks like a cat. That is the reality in which we live in. Accept it.

  56. Bob Powell says:

    Comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

  57. Library Observer says:

    “We’re attacked and feared because, occasionally, we have an effect.” Chill out. The main objection most of us have is politicizing ALA far beyond its library scope. If you read AL’s column here, and REALLY understood what she said, you would have gotten that. You can’t even tell when AL is being facetious. What you have in the library field are a vast group of people with divergant political, and even religious, opinions. When ALA goes off on some non-relevant political crusade, it’s about like interjecting Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell into politics. As a result, we get polarization and what SHOULD BE the betterment of libraries and librarians gets thrown off track. It frustrates some of us to no end. It wastes time, and dillutes the mission. Libraries, library funding, and services, and THE BETTERMENT OF LIBRARIANS, has gone downhill as a result. Jim Rettig, you should read Thomas H. Benton’s piece in the Jan. 30, 2009 CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION about grad work in Humanities. Substitute Library Science for that term, MLS for Ph.D, and Librarian for the teacher slot. It’s exactly where things have been headed in this field as well. Yet we get drawn off on tangents and never come to grips with it. If this sort of thing continues there’s going to be hell to pay sure as the current economy and Bernard Madoff. I urge anyone here to read the piece and see if it isn’t relevant. How would you like to be lured into $30K-$50K of debt and then feel used? It tends to sew a lot of ill will. Just WHY do you think all those ALA accredited library programs folded in the 1980′s-90′s, almost a third of what you have today? And don’t flatter yourself that upper-level academic administrators aren’t aware. They speak with contempt of programs that trick people and fail to produce something relevant. End of sermon.

  58. KCI says:

    *We need more unions. Look at the French. Higher productivity than the US and an effective social safety net. * Also, huge no-go zones where ”

  59. jenna jameson says:

    Obama is pro-union so it must be a good thing, whatever it means.

  60. anonymousdirector73 says:

    Ah,
    delightful. I have never been able to understand how ALA can allow itself to be used in these ridiculous ways, and by the same self-serving ridiculous people, over and over again. For my part, in a long and so-far successful career, I’ve been a member of ALA once, for my first year in the profession, and then, never again. Ever.
    Partially because over time I met many of the distinguished leadership [and was not amused or impressed] but mostly because no one could ever explain to me what the organization was FOR in simple straightforward terms.
    For my part, I think it’s time to try a whole new organization, for Librarians. Of course, the ALA pack o’ dogs would freak, which might make it a good enough reason all by itself.
    As for the cranks mentioned above, that’s what they are and about all they are, cranks who hear themselves shout all day long, about the same old things. Let them shout themselves blue.
    AL, the best part about your blog and set of ideas is that you can say what you mean, mean what you say and they can’t do much more than whine about it. Please continue, as I find your writings to be at the least amusing, and at the best thought provoking, more than I can say for anything coming out of ALA.
    Now if we can only make those two or three professional listserv posters [and you KNOW who I mean!] stop their incessant emailing, I’ll be a happier librarian.

  61. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Your not feared or attacked your ridiculed and smeared because people have had enough. What I find more offensive is you seem to like the idea your feared. We have now passed vanity and into the realm of egotistical. All this in libraryland. At least be a Governor or CEO of a major bank before you get on this power trip.

    We are not talking rocket science or political science we are talking library science specifically American library science. If you want to save the world then go work for the Red Cross or the UN. I hear they need help in Gaza. If you want to help people with their information needs and increase their knowledge in the information economy of America then come over to the AL side.

  62. anonymousfun says:

    could it really be that buschman said he thought his group was ‘feared and attacked’?
    Or does that have to be someone else using his name? Because if it IS him and I suspect that it is… that’s just deeply sad. Truly, deeply sad.
    Feared?
    No, ridiculed.
    Do we attack you? Well, in the rare circumstance where you and your cohorts actually come up around me, you’re quite literally nothing more than figures of fun, good for a laugh and no more.
    feared and attacked, indeed!

  63. rcn says:

    There is room in this world for both AL and Progressive Librarians. And it’s even possible to support both (as I do)! Anonymity or the use of a pseudonym is neither wrong nor cowardly but can be useful and is, regardless, any author’s perogative. At the same time, Progressive Librarians can help put libraries in the context of the socio-political world in which they function. Librarians need not always be reactive to local/regional/international change – sometimes we can actually help create positive change. However, such political actions need not include attacks on librarians who may speak out (sometimes in jest) against progressive political views.

    rcn in the san francisco bay area

  64. English Major says:

    Your not feared or attacked your ridiculed and smeared because people have had enough. What I find more offensive is you seem to like the idea your feared.

    Seriously, if you don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” just stop posting. We’re embarrassed for you, and of you.

  65. hugaliberal says:

    Hey Deep Throat. Obama might have some questionable characters in his Cabinet but I have two words for you – Dick Chaney.

  66. English Major says:

    It’s “Cheney.” Come on people, get it together!

  67. two men and two women says:

    Wow, for once there seems to be some kind of consensus on this blog. The ALA Council misuses its position for issues, while important and critical in the broader scheme of things, that have little to nothing to do with a professional association and that the ALA should direct its resources to issues concerning librarians and libraries.

  68. Hero says:

    English Major, get over yourself. People make typos, and in a setting where you have no chance to edit, it’s really unfair. In fact, picking on typos is about as productive a way to counter someone’s ideas as complaining about anonymity.

  69. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    Yawn…what the he ll does this have to do with AL? “I seem to remember something in Obama’s inauguration speech about a new era of responsibility. Yet the president fully supports several of his cronies who have admitted to being tax cheats. Bill Richardson, Tom Daschle and Timothy Geithner – sounds like the same old Washington once the glow of the election starts to fade.” For some odd reason I suspect that these greedy “B’s” didn’t disclose that they weren’t paying their taxes, not to Obama or to anyone else for that matter. So why blame Obama? Blame the greedy ones who cheat the gvt. out of its due!

  70. a person says:

    “There is room in this world for both AL and Progressive Librarians.”

    This is one of the most sensible things anyone has said in the AL comments section in a long time.

    If Buschmann wants to argue that, as a matter of priority, Criticas should get resources before AL does, fine. It’s at least worth considering. He ought not, however, to get to bent out of shape about all the comments regarding “bitch-slapping”, etc. It’s hyperbole. People use that in satire.

    I for one would post openly here under my own name were it not for all the problems with display name “hijacking”, etc. Take a look at the whole “Mr. Kat” situation a few weeks back before you get all hot-and-bothered about who posts openly and who does not. There’s no point in posting openly under one’s real name until LJ makes it possible for a poster to sign in, use their own chosen, consistent display name, etc.

    And on the overall issue at hand, people need to freakin’ SETTLE DOWN – debate your point, make your case, etc. and let others do the same. AL does it through satire. If you want to do it another way fine. There’s room for all.

    So keep making your point as you are, and in the form that you have chosen, and settle the f*** down and let others to the same…no one is going to attempt to assault you literally, OK Buschman?

  71. me too says:

    Wh said AL is Female? and the reason librarians don’t speak up on matters is because we’re ….. wait for it … LIBRARIANS, you stupid a(*&(*hole. We’re not wired to be corporate ball crushers, ergo the meek, self-efacing stereotype actually fits many of us.

  72. Library Betty says:

    AL, please blog on.
    Being ‘disguised’ drives them crazy because those progressives can’t attack you personally, run a records check or bully your administrators.
    Lefties don’t argue ideas, it’s too risky — it’s about the attack.
    I heard UofI was offering an Alinsky chair this fall.

  73. Flaming Liberal says:

    AL’s blog never really struck me as “conservative.” I just thought she had common sense.

    And that’s not me making a statement about what it means to be conservative. What I’m saying is that AL’s blog deals with issues that effect libraries and librarians. Which makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is the American Library Association focusing on issues that have nothing to do with libraries or librarians. (Is the ALA the new MTV?)

    The ALA should focus on helping libraries do their job, which is to provide easy access to information so the people can make their own political decisions.

  74. bong water says:

    I heard that Obama is going to appoint Michael Phelps as the next head of the DEA.

  75. a teacher says:

    As long we’re on the subject (kind of) of what ALA does during wartime….once upon a war, er, I mean once upon a time (i.e., WWII) ALA saw their mission as actually including helping American servicemembers get books.

    Many ALA bigwigs would rather ignore the fact that poor Private Snuffy can’t get some escape fiction to ease the pressure of combat service and that some industrious little Lt. can’t get the books he or she needs for that online Master’s program he or she is trying to complete (and, yes, there are some credible ones out there and, yes again, some do have servicemembers overseas in the war zones enrolled in them). ALA woudl rather ignore HELPING TO GET THOSE PEOPLE SOME F’ING BOOKS THEY WANT in favor of calling various people a bunch of fascists, etc.

    Where’s their conscience?

  76. Alaska Hottie says:

    Another appointment, Nancy Killefer, is a tax cheat. What’s with all the liberals not paying their taxes? They want government to cure everyone’s problems yet they don’t want to pay their taxes to support their big government. So much for change in the White House.

  77. John Buschman says:

    Ok, deep breath here. Let me parse this, again, for y’all:
    1. I wrote LJ (not AL) to point out two things: first that there really are good reasons to question a *library* professional publication giving a platform to someone who, prior to LJ, engaged in anonymous attack, and that anonymity as a defense for such practices doesn’t merit protection or promotion (struck some nerves there, no?); further, at roughly the same time, LJ was cutting Criticas – an important alternative reviewing sources. At a time when the country seems to be moving on from Karl Rove-ism, that is tone deaf, to say the least.
    2. I then appended the 2007 editorial written, not about AL, but about the mele that ensued on the Blatant LJ blog, and the disgusting attacks that were anonymously and semi-anonymously posted and argued for with pure sophistry. Those attacks followed up another prior mele with similar features on another the LIS blog. The name-callers were all prominent conservative librarians writing *as librarians*, and all anonymously and semi-anonymously. (Go back & read the editorial to get what that means). In other words, I questioned LJ’s priorities and choices.
    3. Now, look at *these* exchanges: they prove the point: “pinhead”, “moonbat”, “totalitarian”, “regressive”, “b@tch slap”, “ultra-tortured” – all (and more) posted anonymously, all, I’m told, not to be interpreted as uncivil, but mere parody. It…Ain’t…Parody…when…you’re…on…the…receiving….end. Period. You know, that old conservative rule we were all raised with: do unto others… Ok, tell me your names, and I’ll mock you, and see how you like it. Oh wait, no: you don’t want to come out from hiding so you *can* say I should be “b@tch slapped” and not be accountable for it. And where is AL? Safely anonymous and not calling out her more enthusiastic webfans for such incivility. Real Captain Courageous there. But then, she engages in it – seeks us out to e-harrangue.

    Anonymity protects and promotes just such exchange, and radically tilts the power relationships of the exchange with no reciprocity, no accountability – you know, another one of those conservative values. AL’s anonymity is hypocrisy of the highest order, and does not deserve an LJ platform to “speak” to or for the profession – and the posing is puerile.

    John Buschman

  78. sidney says:

    “another one of those conservative values”? This is the sort of statement that explains why no one takes you seriously. You’re only interested in a smear campaign yourself. We haven’t yet seen from you any good arguments for your positions, only red herrings about how “anonymous” and “conservative” the Annoyed Librarian is.

  79. importer and exporter says:

    We could use some of those conservative values in the White House right about now.

  80. Blagolibrarian says:

    As I read Buschmans parsing – he now seems to be more upset about the level of discourse than the anonymousness. Although as I read it – he was the one that first got involved in decrying anonymousness of AL. Whatever. I;’m sure I got it wrong. I’m a public librarian working the desk and you need to keep things simple.

  81. rump daddy says:

    I vote for Mary Ann with my heart and Ginger with my other organ.

  82. Garagula says:

    Yes I am sure Buschman is wrong about anonymousness. He is right about Mary Ann though.

  83. Rush Limbaw says:

    At least she pays her taxes.

  84. The Professor says:

    Mary Ann, only if you made her promise not to talk too much.

  85. Vegans For Meat says:

    I know I’m going to be shot down for too long a comment, but what do I have to lose, it’s not like you really know me

    John, we’re glad you cleared that up for all of us plebeians. Still, your argument falls flat and tries to simplify an issue that is more complex than you are making it out to be. I’m sure you’re aware that commenting on blogs and blogging in general has a TRADITION of anonymity; why do librarians need to eschew that tradition simply because a circle of friends in the ALA Council think they should?

    Your arguments against posting anonymously are unconvincing. You rail at the AL as if her message would be acceptable if and only if she revealed her true identity—when in fact it is what she says and how she says it—that’s really at issue.

    Consider the kind of nasty attacks on Greg McClay that happened several years back. He was only voicing his opinion and has that right as long as he reveals his true identity, is that right? Yet, he was a favored target of your group despite the mode of his identity. It’s true, and he admits it on his website, that he said some “harsh” things directed particularly at Kathleen McCook; but, according to your argument, the main issue is identity and not what is said, at least that’s how it is coming across. That’s obviously not the case.

    When you’re in the public eye, as you are to some extent, and especially as politically vocal as you are, there will always be those in opposition to you who will target you and what you have to say. This, too, has a long tradition. Why should you be immune from that which no one else is immune?

    Also, It is well-documented on McClay’s Web site that you planned to “fight” McClay and Tomeboy, to out him in order to retaliate. Rory Litwin didn’t think it was a good idea, but he always seemed to have more sense. Let’s face it, you would have loved to see the both of them lose their jobs and out of the profession. Should the AL take the same chances when she knows there’s that same chance of retaliation?

    And by the way, the use of the term “ultra-tortured” to describe MCR’s writing style is hardly verbal abuse, certainly not on par with B^itch slap. It’s called a criticism, something “y’all” seem to have a real hard time with.

    Over.

  86. Ron Paul says:

    This is my favorite post from the AL. Thank you for the time and effort you invest in calling out that which needs to be called out. I was following the updates from the council meetings via Twitter and was frustrated at the time WASTED on issues that are completely irrelevant to America’s libraries.

  87. somebody says:

    “(This parody thing can be fun – maybe I’ll start mocking the “handles” of the anonymous postings here… You know “whoa there, Library Betty had her binky taken away a few months early in childhood, etc.”)”

    Yes, parody and satire are amusing. And were you in fact to start mocking the handles of anonymous posters, you would be acting consistently with the traditionals and rhetorical techniques that commenters and AL use on this blog. Again, what’s the big deal?

  88. Library Betty says:

    John — How dear you mock my name!!!

    I notice you didn’t take issue with my statement, but just hauled off on a personal attack about my binky. HOW DARE YOU SIR!!!

    I never had a binky and I resent your puerile attacks!!

  89. Stephen Denney says:

    AL is not entirely anonymous since she is paid by Library Journal, and therefore can be held accountable if she engages in libel or slander. What she is protected from is individuals contacting her supervisors at the library and complaining about what she writes at her blogsite. This form of harassment has happened to at least two conservative bloggers I know, one of whom gave up his blog completely and shut it down a few years ago.

  90. Thomas A. Daschle says:

    So, big deal, I had a driver. I look for defense here among the intellectuals of libraries where truth exists.

  91. Detached Amusement says:

    So that lady who just had eight babies already had six kids and she’s unemployed. Shouldn’t those kids be taken away from her because she obviously has mental problems. And guess who is going to pay for the welfare of those kids? That’s right, you and me.

  92. Anon says:

    I read the post from Detached Amusement (with, I might add, some detached amusement myself) and thought, “Now, what in the world does the woman who had octuplets have to do with library issues, or what the AL’s post is about?” And then it hit me: it’s meant as an example of irony!!

    Just as this woman’s situation has nothing to do with the AL’s post, so the political blatherings of the Regressive Librarians have NOTHING TO DO with the field of librarianship!

    What genius to make one’s point in this manner! And who said library science isn’t intellectually demanding?

  93. longtimereader says:

    People addressed in this post complaining about name-calling is particularly ironic. I recall that Blatant Berry post from a couple of years ago, and the comments war it started (though it seems to have disappeared now). As I recall, Berry called the AL a “right wingnut,” and McCook called her “hateful,” both of which I think are mistaken. I forget what Buschman said, but recall it was none too restrained. Before that post, I don’t think the AL ever mentioned anyone of these people at all.

    I’m also not so sure these names are that bad. Humorless Unionator refers partly to the undeniable fact that McCook has no sense of humor and also that she has or used to have a blog called “Union Librarian.” Cranky Marxist Dude is extremely appropriate, as Rosensweig is cranky, a Marxist, and, I assume, a dude, as opposed to a dudette. John Buschman does indeed snipe at the AL. I assumed the Bronc was a school mascot, along the lines of the Griping Illini, who, as everyone who knows him knows, gripes about politics and works for the U. of Illinois, thus Illini.

  94. anonymouse says:

    I’m concerned about anonymity at Disneyland. Who is wearing that Micky Mouse costume?

  95. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    What about that episode of the Brandy Bunch where they went to Hawaii. There was an anonymous narrator for part of the episode. His identity has yet to be revealed to this day. Interesting…

  96. sidney says:

    “Prominent platform? This is Library Journal.” No, this is the Annoyed Librarian. LJ just provides the ads.

  97. Hero says:

    “It…Ain’t…Parody…when…you’re…on…the…receiving….end” Seeing as how someone always has to be on the receiving end in order for something to be a parody, are you saying there is no parody? I’m terribly confused.

  98. Literary Librarian says:

    Did anyone catch the references to classic satire? “Shortest Way with the Dissenters” was a Daniel Defoe satirical work. The “comfort the afflicted” line is from Mencken. Sometimes there are reasons to read this blog that have nothing to do with libraries. Don’t let the humorless destroy the AL.

  99. is. too. parody. says:

    and particularly when YOU are on the receiving end of it. Are the members of the PLG that terribly thin skinned, or have they begun to realize that no one is listening to them anymore [not that most ever did, but it did seem to take a while to get the level of absurdity straight]?
    Funny, seems to me that we’ve reached the point where simply pointing out their weaknesses, and there are too many to even start to discuss here, sets them off and… Makes. Them. All. Sad.
    Go, AL. Can’t wait to see that the next post brings. I don’t always agree, but I’m always willing to think about it.

  100. Crumbly says:

    I write for the librarians…. because they think it’s important to share a book with a child or help people get answers to tough questions.”

    I have disliked some of your views in the past but you have done us proud this time. Well done.

  101. John Buschman says:

    Ok, deep breath here. Let me parse this, again, for y’all:
    1. I wrote LJ (not AL) to point out two things: first that there really are good reasons to question a *library* professional publication giving
    a platform to someone who, prior to LJ, engaged in anonymous attack, and that anonymity as a defense for such practices doesn’t merit protection
    or promotion (struck some nerves there, no?); further, at roughly the
    same time, LJ was cutting Criticas – an important alternative reviewing
    sources. At a time when the country seems to be moving on from Karl
    Rove-ism, that is tone deaf, to say the least.
    2. I then appended the 2007 editorial written, not about AL, but about
    the melee that ensued on the Blatant LJ blog, and the disgusting attacks
    that were anonymously and semi-anonymously posted and argued for with
    pure sophistry. Those attacks followed up another prior melee with
    similar features on another the LIS blog. The name-callers were all
    prominent conservative librarians writing *as librarians*, and all
    anonymously and semi-anonymously. (Go back & read the editorial to get
    what that means). In other words, I questioned LJ’s priorities and choices.
    3. Now, look at *these* exchanges: they prove the point: “pinhead”,
    “moonbat”, “totalitarian”, “regressive”, “b@tch slap”, “ultra-tortured”- all (and more) posted anonymously, all, I’m told, not to be interpreted as uncivil, but mere parody.
    It…Ain’t…Parody…when…you’re…on…the…receiving….end.
    Period. You know, that old conservative rule we were all raised with:
    do unto others… Ok, tell me your names, and I’ll mock you, and see
    how you like it. Oh wait, no: you don’t want to come out from hiding
    so you *can* say I should be “b@tch slapped” and not be accountable for
    it. And where is AL? Safely anonymous and not calling out her more enthusiastic webfans for such incivility. Real Captain Courageous
    there. But then, she engages in it – seeks us out to e-harrangue.

    Anonymity protects and promotes just such exchange, and radically tilts
    the power relationships of the exchange with no reciprocity, no
    accountability – you know, another one of those conservative values.
    AL’s anonymity is hypocrisy of the highest order, and does not deserve
    an LJ platform to “speak” to or for the profession – and the posing is
    puerile.

    John Buschman

  102. John Buschman says:

    Responses are all over the map here, so let me say again, and again: If
    you’re afraid you won’t get a job because your attacks would be linked
    to you (and therefore you “should” remain anonymous), that is not the
    most honorable position (to say the least), nor logically defensible.
    Red-baiting the issue (anonymously no less) is a cheap, worn-out shot
    (talk about the 60′s! That’s the 50′s!) I attack anonymity not because
    they’re conservatives, but because the anonymous feel all big and powerful in their anonymity to call decent people names and say we
    should be “B@tch slapped”, but wouldn’t have the courage to face me
    openly and say so. And no, intellectual freedom is not a right – go to the sources please. And no, my colleagues and I are not responsible for
    the pecadillos of the new administration – any more than you all were for Senator Craig’s footsie games. And no, ALA is not all “ours”
    either. Please, grow up a little.

    John Buschman (by the way, at a new institution, so AL is gonna have to
    find a new nasty name to call me)

    We’re attacked and feared because, occasionally, we have an effect.

  103. the.effing.librarian says:

    For the anonymous, on this playing field, one name is as good as another; it’s only when one wants to take the fight out of the ring that the names matter. So the only reason to know a name is because you want to use it somewhere else. For what purpose?

  104. one angry blogger and one annoyed blogge says:

    I personally like the Angry Pharmacist as well. I’ve been trying to set him up with the Annoyed Librarian. Angry P loves Annoyed L. It has a certain Je ne sais quoi.

  105. John Buschman says:

    Once more into the breach: we who are attacked are named. Our attackers remain shielded. It still strikes a nerve, don’t it? It is irrelevant whether or not I agree with the verbiage, I disagree strongly with the method, irrespective of the ends sought. IT “schooled” us based on just that red-herring. A “tradition” of anonymity does not mean we have not, should not have progressed. Oh, and please please please: if you’re gonna argue with the editorial, read it at least. You’re “unconvinced” by the Cliff Notes version here, so show me you’ve parsed the relationship of academic freedom to intellectual freedom in the documentary, legal, and policy statements (quick: which organization promulgates the classic statement on intellectual freedom and articulates it most effectively in the courts? Buzzzz. Time’s up.) On parody – y’all called it parody, I didn’t: I called it ad hominem attack from behind the hood & mask of variant anonymity. It ain’t. Its name-calling by cowards on all accounts – including IT. No amount of sophomoric “cleverness” here changes that (and you’re right Betty – what I wrote wasn’t “clever” – and neither is the rest of this). Oh, and PLG does just fine with or without y’all – though I note that IT is a fellow traveler in IT’s call for “people keep[ing] their laws off my body and my thoughts” and if “you want to go march in protest at something, go ahead”, “you want to write articles about how bad the United States is, go ahead,” and “do whatever you like in your bedroom”. IT just engages in a little sophistry in blaming those who are responding to the sponsorship of a font of anonymous attack for “totalitariansim.” Let a thousand non-anonymous flowers bloom. Free IT from anonymity! Come out, come out wherever you arrrrree! Cheers again (no name-calling again), John Buschman

  106. Stephen Denney says:

    I don’t think it is just a question of people being anonymous while attacking others, it is people being outspoken in their political views finding that others choose to contact their employers and complain about it rather than engaging them in debate. Also, as I already pointed out, how anonymous is Annoyed Librarian if in fact she is being paid by Library Journal? I presume she is not getting a cash drop off at some undisclosed location. If she crosses the line and you feel you have grounds to do so, would you not be able to proceed?

  107. Stephen Denney says:

    Correction: The last sentence should read: If she crosses the line and libels someone, and you feel you have grounds to sue her would you not be able to proceed?

  108. Original Library Observer says:

    LJ needs to upgrade their software so we can do away with the impostor handles and have regular ones. If these are really folks with the Retro Librarians Clique posting here, it tells us enough. I suspect there are enemies of AL’s that put this other junk on here.

  109. Burt Alcatraz says:

    Boy, we’re really having a carnival of hate and loathing here today. Or maybe that should be “Fear and Loathing in Libraryland”.

  110. John Buschman says:

    No junk here. I post under my own name, and ask that postings which use my name falsely be removed – thus making my point yet again about anonymity. (I think the suspicion that lefties are posting way-too-far to discredit IT is pretty farfetched – the prior records are pretty clear.) Stephen & I went through this more than a year ago, and he at least speaks on the record – which is more moral courage than just about anyone here does (tho not all). He brings up another red herring: IT will remain gainfully employed, but the sanctioning of an anonymous soapbox of whatever stripe – particularly of the attack variety – by LJ is not a worthy professional contribution, and should not be promoted. Nobody’s going after anybody’s livelihood here – at least any more than PLG folks have been gone after – anonymously of course. Y’all can dish it out, but…

    John Buschman

  111. Stephen Denney says:

    “Nobody’s going after anybody’s livelihood here..” Well, what would be the point in contacting an individual’s employer by phone or letter to complain about what that person wrote on a blog, if not to go after that person’s livelihood? Or if not that, at least to harrass the individual.

  112. The Man With No Name says:

    This discussion is hilarious. Buschman manages to ignore any and every actual argument thrown at him, responding only that the arguments are invalid because the person voicing them is anonymous.

    How about this: a hypothetical “John Smith” states the following (I paraphrase an earlier post that put it pretty succinctly and was ignored): “The ALA Council misuses its position for issues, that while arguably important and critical in the broader scheme of things, have little to nothing to do with a professional association. The ALA should direct its resources to issues concerning librarians and libraries.” Not an extreme statement. Worthy of thought and consideration. Arguments could be made against this assertion that are thoughtful, too. It is possible.

    What do you say to that, Buschman? And lets be clear – “John Smith” DOES NOT EXIST. You can’t attack him for posting anonymously, because he isn’t real. I just made him up. I may or may not agree with the statement. But what is your response to the IDEAS voiced by “John Smith”? Do you have any?

    And let me state that politically, I am a lefty socialist liberal, and many of the stances the ALA takes politically I happen to agree with – in theory. HOWEVER – there are plenty of groups out there with a forum for advocating these stances, while the ALA is the only organization out there that is supposedly set up to advocate for libraries, librarians, and library-related issues. I think much of the ire displayed in the comments here is due to the fact that the ALA has been doing a piss-poor job of pursuing what should be its real agenda, while wasting energy on political theater.

  113. Francine Fialkoff says:

    When we brought AL to Library Journal, we recognized that anonymity had unleashed a lot of important new voices in the profession, while also posing new challenges. Whether we agree with them or not, the new voices can nourish the discourse about the field. As I said in an editorial in LJ (11/15/08), “we don’t edit AL,” but “we reserve the right to take down a specific post.” The same goes for comments on this blog or elswhere on our web site. While we don’t edit the comments, we reserve the right to delete posts we deem of questionable content, including those that are abusive. Some comments have thus been taken down.
    Our Comments Policy (www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6601864.html) follows:
    Comments via LJ’s TalkBack feature are not moderated, but LJ reserves the right to remove posts it deems of questionable content, for example posts that are off-topic, profane, abusive, commercial, or blatantly promotional (i.e. spam, astroturfing). LibraryJournal.com allows anonymous posts; however, we encourage commenters to include names and contacts whenever possible in the interest of open communication. If you have a question or complaints about the content of a comment please email us at LJinfo@reedbusiness.com along with a link to the post in question.
    You can contact me directly at fialkoff@reedbusiness.com
    Francine Fialkoff, LJ

  114. yoyoyo says:

    Ms. Flackoff, can you do something about the lousy software that runs this blog? It makes your whole organization look bad when a free site like Blogger has a better system.

  115. Hero says:

    “Once more into the breach: we who are attacked are named. Our attackers remain shielded. It still strikes a nerve, don’t it? It is irrelevant whether or not I agree with the verbiage, I disagree strongly with the method, irrespective of the ends sought.” It strikes no nerve, but as other people have mentioned, if you don’t like unnamed posters in blog comment sections, stay off the internet. I never use my real name online here or anywhere else. It doesn’t make me a coward, it makes me a savvy and safe internet user.

  116. Chuck Taylor says:

    Sunday’s game was the most watched TV program in U.S. history. So please don’t try and tell me that football isn’t relevant.

  117. John Buschman says:

    I don’t ignore any and all arguments with my position – I question the sponsorship of an anonymous source which became well known/notorious because of anonymous attack. I happen think ALA is both too timid politically (about outright government suppression and destruction of uncomfortable information) and ham-handed when it tries to be political. That puts me somewhere between you & IT, and we can talk about that – on the record. It’d probably be useful for all. I don’t, however, credit such analyses when delivered anonymously, and with slaps at good people, pulling oars in (roughly) the same direction: better libraries helping people more. What I find almost as disquieting as the anonymity-equals-freedom argument here are the attending cynical slaps at the agenda and the people who want to weld literacy, information, access, and a better version rough information equality to democracy. That, coupled with anonymity, is cheap hooded po-mo hip/ironic “heroism”. Oh, and I respectfully disagree with Ms. Fialkoff’s assertion that this “nourish[es] the discourse about the field” – it impoverishes it in fact, hence Ms. Failkoff’s need to remind y’all about civility. Ginger vs. Mary Ann, “b@tch slapping”, etc.? Please. Come on IT, come out, come out wherever you are!!
    John Buschman

  118. Francine Fialkoff says:

    Wish I could say with certainty when we are getting new/better software. I’ve been told it’s in the works.
    Francine

  119. The Man With No Name says:

    “I question the sponsorship of an anonymous source which became well known/notorious because of anonymous attack.”

    Yes, yes, you’ve said that many times. We get it – anonymous bad, in your opinion. It appears that there are quite a few people who disagree with you, who enjoy reading the AL, and who aren’t bothered by the fact that the writer is unknown.

    “What I find almost as disquieting as the anonymity-equals-freedom argument here are the attending cynical slaps at the agenda and the people who want to weld literacy, information, access, and a better version rough information equality to democracy. That, coupled with anonymity, is cheap hooded po-mo hip/ironic “heroism”.”

    Give the readers of the comments here some credit for being able to discern the real commentary from the smart-asses. Apparently you cannot. I find some of the smart-asses to be funny. I can read the cheap jokes and the serious comments and not confuse the two, as I think can most readers. I wouldn’t want to see the comments moderated to the point where only “serious” posts are allowed. Then this would be as boring as every other library blog, or as boring and self-important as that long-winded letter you sent to Library Journal. I’m afraid that you can’t see that you are coming across as a humorless, petty, control freak, and making the AL look good without even having to say anything.

  120. The Man With No Name says:

    Bold off. Oh, +1 what everybody else said about the crappy blog software. You should be able to preview a post so you don’t accidentally bold an entire comment and make it unreadable.

  121. Morse says:

    Did the AL really become well known merely for “anonymous attack”? I seem to recall a substantial amount of witty satire over the years. Surely “Things I wish I’d learned in library school” or the Information Wants to be Free mutual parody had something to do with it. And does anyone here believe that Buschman et al. would be so angry if it was an anonymous progressive librarian poking fun at conservatives? Would they be trying to silence the Annoyed Progressive Librarian? Somehow I doubt it. That’s what makes the protest so hard to take seriously.

  122. Alaska Hottie says:

    Now Obama’s campaign manager has signed a million dollar book deal. Wonder how much of that money will be going to America’s “working families”? That White House gig sure is a cash cow.

  123. Vegans For Meat says:

    And, John, if the AL were to reveal herself what would you do? Would you congratulate her on her decision to come clean and leave it at that? Or, would you wage a smear campaign to discredit her? I think this quote from you in regards to the conservative and anonymous blogger Tomeboy, taken from Greg McClay’s Web site (and by the way, I’m no fan of Mr. McClay’s) makes you seem untrustworthy, almost with a tone of malice:

    “Given how arrogant Tomeboy is, and how proud he is of being a sneaky-sh^t anonymous attacker (again, comparing himself to Madison when he wrote the Federalist Papers – no kidding…), I think he’s full deserving of being unmasked. Anyone want to help out?”

    It’s interesting how your collegues thought it better to just let it go. I think you have a different dispositon than theirs. It seems then that if I were the AL I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you. Another argument, perhaps, in favor of anonymity, particularly when the discussion is apparently very controversial.

  124. Morse says:

    Wow, what a quote. The vicious tone and sense of personal vindictiveness is the sort of thing I’ve never seen in an AL post. Apparently merely putting your name to something doesn’t make you a decent human being.

  125. longtimereader says:

    I find it amusing the way so many assume that if the AL is outed (which I dearly hope will never happen) that there will be some terrible backlash and the progressive librarians will be able to make trouble for her or get her fired or whatever. This blog is popular for lots of reasons, and the AL has a lot of fans. I know from discussions with many of my librarian friends that reading the AL can be a guilty pleasure for a lot of librarians, even so called “twopointopians.” As for it being conservative, I’m not sure, but I know I’m not. I don’t have readership statistics for any blogs, but this would have to be one of the most popular library blogs around, and in my opinion it has a higher percentage of great posts than most other library blogs and is better written than most of them. Sure, some topics can get stale, and the verve ebbs and flows, but still I check new posts and often enough like what I read. How much can someone be shamed who has created a blog like this and stirred up so much controversy, or who has made so many librarians laugh out loud as often as this blog has? I also agree with the commenter who said the anonymous attacks aren’t the reason this blog is well known. If any of the progressive librarians could write this well, they wouldn’t need to try to out the AL or try to stop this blog.

  126. John Buschman says:

    If I could out IT (fairly easily that is – I’m actually more mellow on this than y’all think) I would. Tomeboy too, but he pouted & sulked & went away after a bit, so no need. No, I’d not support/haven’t supported anonymous attack from the left. So that leaves the “lighten up, we’re smart enough to parse this and we think its snarky/funny” argument. Ok – then *you* put your name out there – or better yet, be subject to this stuff from an anoynymous source – and see how *you* like it. As for the argument that IT has entertainment value, well, Shecky Green IT (and IT’s amen corner) it ain’t… Besides, what is this, the Roman Coliseum? Verbal gladitorial combat & smacking around? Y’all can’t have it both ways: praise IT for revealing a serious discourse & issues “no one else will touch” (baloney – but go ahead & keep the faith) and at the same time say its all just snarky bs. not to be taken seriously. Which is it? C’mon IT! C’Mon y’all!! Have the courage of your convictions!! Drop the sheets!! Free IT! As it is, as I’ve said, as I’ll always remind y’all: an LJ platform ain’t a right, and ought not be extended to the anonymous so they can snark. If its good writing and analysis, it’ll stand on its own.
    John Buschman

  127. John Buschman says:

    Oh, and once again (to answer the spurious question of “what would happen” if IT were outed), I said: “IT will remain gainfully employed, but the sanctioning of an anonymous soapbox of whatever stripe – particularly of the attack variety – by LJ is not a worthy professional contribution, and should not be promoted. Nobody’s going after anybody’s livelihood here – at least any more than PLG folks have been gone after – anonymously of course. Y’all can dish it out, but… John Buschman”

    Again, which is it y’all: I/PLG takes itself too seriously, or we really are all-powerful (you know, secret tribunals of the politically correct and all that fevered imagination stuff that has passed for “witty” or “worried” commentary here)? If IT were known, IT would own IT’s words, and probably feel a little more responsibility toward those IT smacks around. Yeah, *real* courage there y’all – call names from under a hood and say its “savvy.” But, I’ll till ssign off with my usual good cheer – and pass along a compliment this time to LJ for at least their reiteration of the principle of civility. John Buschman

  128. Hero says:

    “Drop the sheets!!” You do realize what you typed there? Now I really don’t have to take you seriously.

  129. Joey Hathaway Pruice, Jr. says:

    You’re increasing the use of “y’all,” in your discourse. Does that mean you’ve been out drinking with the boys? Cause Them’s sound like fightin words, to me. -Joey Hathaway Pruice, Jr. Esq.

  130. sidney says:

    All this time i thought you were talking about the Information Technology team at LJ. I thought you wanted IT outed because the comment technology sucks so much. That would be fine by me.

    As for the “getting this stuff from an anonymous source” stuff, as I recall you drew first blood in this battle, buddy.

  131. Tough-I''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' says:

    John Buschman has more interest in destroying than in building. More interest in cutting people down that don’t agree with his myopic views than in doing anything positive.

    Prove me wrong. Go do something good for someone.

  132. Stephen Denney says:

    I don’t want to rehash an extended debate that took place on the issue of anonymous blogging back in March 2007 at the Blatant Berry blog, but I will say that personally, if I am on the receiving end of a vicious personal attack, I don’t really care that much if the person who attacks me is anonymous or not. It still hurts the same. And I don’t need to know the name of the person who attacked me because I have no plans on going to court or contacting this individual’s employer. And I have been attacked viciously, more so than in any non-library forum, simply for expressing my support for the right of Cubans to establish their own libraries.

    Regarding Annoyed Librarian, looking through her postings, it does not seem to me that she spends much time attacking individuals, rather she is questioning the prevailing mindset of the ALA leadership. Maybe we could welcome that in the sense of provoking thought.

  133. The Man With No Name says:

    “Y’all can’t have it both ways: praise IT for revealing a serious discourse & issues “no one else will touch” (baloney – but go ahead & keep the faith) and at the same time say its all just snarky bs. not to be taken seriously. Which is it?”

    Wow, you can’t have snarky, sarcastic humor AND address any sort of serious issues at the same time? Somebody Better tell Jon Stewart this. Or, Mark Twain, for that matter. Not that the AL is in the same league, but, it’s not like anybody else has stepped up to the plate to satirize the library world so AL is the Stephen Colbert of the library world by default. It’s kind of a niche market, you know.

  134. Retro Librarians Round Table says:

    A Resolution concerning the below issue will be presented to ALA Council at the next Annual Meeting. We will propose a BAN on future ALA Meetings in cities where the local Public and Academic Libraries have not enacted a BAN on the use of Naugahyde. We will also propose to same that the future outgoing ALA President be AUTOMATICALLY Appointed as AMBASSADOR to the United Nations, in order to present future relevant Resolutions of ALA Concerning Foreign Affairs.
    —————————————–
    SAVE THE ENDANGERED SPECIES!!!!
    I was watching a special the other night on endangered species. This is a real problem, and we have to deal with it now if our children are to enjoy the world as we know it today. As they were going through the list of endangered species, I happened to think of an animal that really needs to be added.

    The animal that I would place on the list of protected species is the Nauga. The placid Nauga is a very gentle animal that is slaughtered in great numbers for only its hide, as no other part of the Nauga is ever used. There were once great herds of Naugas, but they are disappearing just as the great herds of American Buffalo did at the turn of the century.

    I can think of no other sight as beautiful as a herd of colorful Naugas peacefully grazing on the polyester plant in the shade of the great plywood forest, yet Naugas are ruthlessly murdered for their hides. Why are they being slaughtered? So some people can show off their affluence. Doctors are especially guilty, as almost all their waiting rooms are appointed with naugahide covered furniture, and then there are people that actually wear and flaunt Naugahide coats.

    I have been told by my sources, that have to remain unnamed, that if we were to kill off all of the Naugas, the polyester plants would overrun the plywood forest and choke out the little plywood trees, sometimes called panelings. As you can see, there is a delicate balance of nature, and if it were not for the Naugas eating the pesky polyesters, the great plywood forest would die out, or at least would be stunted. Can you imagine what would happen to our construction industry if we couldn’t get full-sized plywood trees to build with. Oh just to look upon the plywood forest with all of the trees lined up parallel with the prevailing winds, the little panelings growing between the thicker plywoods, the little fluffy white polyesters growing low to the ground. It is truly unbelievable.

  135. AL says:

    The Stephanie Colbert of the library world…a gal can dream.

  136. Hero says:

    “my support for the right of Cubans to establish their own libraries.”
    Thank you for that.

  137. Detached Amusement says:

    AL,they really, really hate you, don’t they? ;-) This one goes in your “Best of” collection. “Do whatever you like in your bedroom; just don’t do it in the streets and scare the horses.” Gotta love it!

  138. Bob Smyrczik says:

    Any of the AL sheep have any original thought to share, or do you all just like to wave you pom poms and cheer?

  139. sidney says:

    Thanks for sharing your original thoughts, Bob.

  140. Vegan For Meat and Vegtables says:

    Bob, your trenchant question needs to be addressed by the ALA Council; it’s clear you have an extraordinary handle on the essence of the matter. Would you be willing to head up this heady crisis?

  141. Library Cattle says:

    “…..your trenchant question needs to be addressed by the ALA Council”, I suggest an ALA Scrabble tournament, so it can use the game and an Ouija Board to assist in phrasing any resolution. Otherwise they might consider the consequences of the current recession on the field and what [admittedly little] they could do to improve the lot of libraries and librarians caught in this mess.

  142. John Buschman says:

    “Drop the sheets”: a reference to “hooded heroism” itself a reference to the tactics of the Klan. Bob Smyrczik has it right. IT refers to the originator of this puerile stuff (e.g. AL could be a he, a she, or the proverbial monkey at the keyboard, so I’ll refer to it as IT). LJ needs to clean up this playpen here cause y’all can’t be trusted not to get them sued. And to Stephen and the “I’m a divider, not a uniter” post: this never has been and still is not about the politics espoused. That these methods tend to come from and are defended by a particular end of the political spectrum is an accident of history (the Right’s search for a voice beginning in the 1970s and its culmination in Rove-ism and letting an African-American city drown and then rot). It is instead about the methods used, and the lack of accountability in the words used to further the means and ends. In the long run, if IT’s words are so valuable, do they gain value by the secrecy cloaking the author? Finally, I can’t believe I have to remind librarians of this but, here goes: *college* students are seriously debating just this kind of stuff in the case of Juicy Campus – an anonymous site to post vicious comments about named and identifiable people. The kids are ahead of us. Wave your pom poms by all means. Blog on! Make fun of older, less-good-looking librarians as a type, book trucks, baffling and expensive databases, etc. etc. etc. etc. But, when one seeks to take a political stand or take on the political actions and statements of others who have entered the public sphere, the hood of secrecy is not honorable. John Buschman

  143. Vegans For Meat says:

    The real John comes out. He’s calling everyone a Klansman (might as well have thrown in Nazi for good measure). And conservative, too. All the ills of the world would be eradicated if only the Right were destroyed and left triumphant, is that correct? The thing most disturbing about the PLG is its love affair with utopian notions of the world and what role the ALA can play in “changing” the world. May I suggest reading John Gray, the British philosopher, for a fresh view of how utterly destructive utopian thinking is to our world. Really, this leftist/rightwing dichotomy is outmoded, irrelevant, and dangerous in a world where pluralist societies are becoming more diverse, not less, as some seem to think.

  144. Jeez says:

    “But, when one seeks to take a political stand or take on the political actions and statements of others who have entered the public sphere, the hood of secrecy is not honorable.”

    Even with all his tantrum-throwing posts this week, I wasn’t completely convinced before that this guy was off his rocker. But now I am, after reading that. THE WHOLE FRIGGIN POINT OF AL’S POST is that the ALA and librarians shouldn’t take political stands (under the guise of librarianship, anyway). Oh, and I’m reeeeaaal sorry that “the kids are ahead of you” and all that happy crappy about ugly librarians. Dude. This blog is in no way comparable to Juicy Campus. Please.

  145. Oh, and... says:

    AL is NOT just any old monkey off the street, by the way. She’s a very well-trained monkey, as are some of the rest of us.

  146. Morse says:

    Buschman complaining about methods of political thuggery is indeed ironic. You’ve demonstrated your own thuggery. You attack the AL, and then complain when she fights back. You make all sorts of threats and call people Klansmen, then feign innocence and tell us how affronted you are and that it has nothing to do with politics. It’s all about the Klan and Karl Rove and the evil conservatives out there. Yeah, yeah.

  147. it.is.not.satire. says:

    This whole series of posts makes me wonder, is this some complicated conspiracy I am not yet fully aware of, wherein someone at LJ has decided to play a long term prank on the membership of the PLG?
    The reason I consider this is that this buschman character is regularly making himself look ever more silly and disconnected [and yeah, ok, I already believed the PLG membership to be so and to have virtually nothing whatever to do with libraries, librarians, librarianship etc.].
    So, perhaps someone is having fun with us and posting this arrant nonsense AS this posturing…
    out of touch…
    leftover radica…
    oh…
    wait…
    never mind.
    It <

  148. John Buschman says:

    To be clear (yet again), I’m not the one donning a disguise here – and yes, the tactic is the same as my historical reference. Is it as bad or violent as that historical reference? Of course not. Does it lead somewhere I don’t think the profession should go? I think so, and that is what the editorial I sent to LJ (not IT) was about – remember that? And yes, read through this and the prior IT posting and the responses – and tell me that this is not highly reminiscent of Juicy Campus in “lite” form (for the moment). I’m called the thug because I call out the thugs. Nice – real Rovian blast from the immediate past there. And no, I do not (nor do my colleagues) seek this stuff out. No amount of assertions that “they started it” is going to erase the record – and that record with IT precedes this particular puerile blog posting and its webfan culture. Libraries are not neutral institutions. Neither are schools. Both are involved in the educative process, important in a democracy. When the implications of that are expressed (freedom of information, the public sphere, actually trying to enact intellectual freedom, representing our publics – and the broader public in our collections, etc. – they all lead somewhere, folks), we’re labeled as politicizing the profession. Too late: when you took tax dollars or exempted the institution from taxes as a nonprofit, your institution became part of the community, subject to the democratic (and thus political) process. Are there limits to politics in librarianship? Yes. What are those limits? Well, they’re subject to *reasoned* debate. That debate – here and elsewhere – is carried on in anonymous attack mode, it is not reasoned nor reasonable. Y’all imitate it slavishly. And yes, when you cloak yourselves in secrecy and lash out, it is hooded heroism. Just own your own words if you’re that convinced of your righteousness. John Buschman

  149. Hero says:

    Guess what, John? I didn’t actually need you to explain that “drop the sheets” referred to the Klan. Why do you think I said I no longer need to take you seriously? I can’t imagine what you’d make of one of my posts if I was actually trying to be subtle.

  150. Vegans For Meat says:

    John, as an aside: may I ask: If I were applying for a position in your library and you were interviewing me and one of your questions went something like this:

    Do you enjoy reading any of the many library blogs online? And I were to answer, “oh yes. I do like reading some of the blogs online.” I proceed to mention some of more serious blogs that I’m sure you’d have no issue with, but then I mention, that I really, really like the Annoyed Librarian’s blog. “I think she has some interesting things to say and I like some of the comments. I think they can be kinda funny, sometimes.”

    What would your impression be of me after hearing that? Would it lessen the chance of you okaying me for the position? Would you let it bias you against me? …just curious.

  151. John Buschman says:

    “Hero commented:
    Guess what, John? I didn’t actually need you to explain that … Why do you think I said I no longer need to take you seriously? I can’t imagine what you’d make of one of my posts if I was actually trying to be subtle.” Well! That certainly ends that! Definitively! Boy, I am sure glad that’s cleared up. What exactly was the point now? Was it you & your ironic sense of humor? Was it the depth of your subtlety? No wait, I remember in the mists of time this was about the profession and a tactic. This entire exchange is another classic example of the kind of twists and turns and sophistry people will engage in to protect their precious e-”citizenship” and its false “rights”. It is damaging to civility and discourse in our profession. Y’all just keep strikin’ a pose – see where it gets you & gets us. I care not a whit whether you’re being ironic or dim or ironically pretending to be dim or dimly recognizing that you’ve been ironic, etc. You’re not accountable for your words, hooded “hero”. This is not the mode in which professionalism or the good of libraries or the publics they serve will be advanced. John Buschman

  152. red herring says:

    Caution yourself John. You’re starting to get snarky and being snarky is bad. Isn’t that right? Interesting how you completely ignored the comment from Vegan for meat.

  153. Stephen Denney says:

    John, here is an excerpt from John Berry’s Blatant Berry blog, titled “Welcome Annoyed Librarian”. Would you care to comment?:

    “..But just so no one thinks otherwise, I want everyone to know I am totally delighted that AL is writing for LJ. No, I don’t always agree with her, indeed, I rarely do. But, hell, I’ve been arguing with everyone at LJ since I started here, in 1964… I really disagree with all the posters who tell us that AL is ‘too negative.’ I can’t believe librarians committed to free expression would want muzzle that unique voice. Shame on them. All of this is my personal welcome to the Annoyed Librarian…”

  154. John Buschman says:

    Vegan came in as I was replying, and now we are in the realm of reality here: I’m being asked to go on record about an employment situation, and I can be identified. Vegan, Betty, Red Herring, et. al. can’t be. (Bob & Stephen and a few others can.) Is that fair? I’m being asked a fair question in an unfair way here *because it is coming anonymously and I’m identifiable.* That is a power move, and it masks many things – some good, some very very bad for the profession. I know dropping anonymity is a tradeoff. I argue that it is a necessary tradeoff to make for the profession that defends intellectual freedom: drop the disguise. No amount of name-calling or just anonymously accusing me of being snarky is going to make that go away. And no, I’m not finessing the question: no, of course it would not disqualify anyone – the decision must always reflect the thoughtful work of a committee, or the institution is not being run well. John Buschman

  155. Hero says:

    “What exactly was the point now?” John, the point was you equated me, and others, to members of the Klan. Was that really the sort of elevated, professional discourse you were aiming for? Oh, I forgot–it’s okay to personally attack people if you give your name first.

  156. Mavourneen says:

    John,

    My first name is Maura. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland.

    You owe me (1) flat screen monitor, as I got Fresca on mine when I read the phrase “Ok, deep breath here. Let me parse this, again, for y’all: ”

    Parse.

    *laughing*

    You think a lot of yourself, don’t you!

    This is a silly “thread.” I’ve lost brain cells reading it.

    I care not a whit for it.

    ;-)

  157. librarydude says:

    Fresca? How old are you?

  158. parse it for me, please? says:

    Mr. Buschman, though I suspect that you’ll not do so, could you please tell me, in simple english, what point it is you’re trying to make here? Truly, I’ve been trying to figure it out, and simply can’t, since some of what I’ve been reading seems self-contradictory, and I’ve gotten a bit lost.
    I do get what the AL is saying, as that seems pretty straightforward, and I note that, as usual, a good deal of the commentary is intended as humorous, though not all of it succeeds. I can seem to figure out what point however, it is that you’re trying to actually make.
    Could you succinctly state for that me, please?

  159. Anon says:

    “Don’t judge those who try and fail, judge those who fail to try” – Anon

    “Discretion is being able to raise your eyebrow instead of your voice.” – Anon

    “Many aspire to change the world but few realize that everyone accomplishes that goal. Each day you live you are changing something. Rather than simply changing the world, one should aspire to make a positive change with each action they commit.” – Anon

    “All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.” – Anon

    “…there really are good reasons to question a *library* professional publication giving a platform to someone …anonymous…” – John Buschman

  160. Mavourneen says:

    I just celebrated the 12th anniversary of my 29th birthday.

    My name is Maura, and I love Fresca.

    I am not anonymous about my love of Fresca! And Cheez-Its. I love Cheez-Its, too. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you. “Yeah, that Maura in Silver Spring. That chick digs Fresca and Cheez-Its!”
    For the record, I am not a librarian, nor do I play one on tv – but I’ve worked in the book industry for over 20 years.

  161. Steve says:

    Hi. My name is Steve. I’m a Capricorn. I love to take long walks on the beach and listen to Marvin Gaye. Looks aren’t important to me, so if any library gals want to get together, call me at 1-800-IMSTEVE.

  162. Anon says:

    Librarian chix are HOT. Since AL is anonymous, does she wear a black mask? ‘cuz I could totally get into that. Totally.

    Oh, and John you suk ‘cuz you’re not a hot librarian chick.

  163. longtimereader says:

    John’s point: anonymous bloggers who make fun of the PLG are bad. Named commenters who call other people Nazis and bigots are good.

  164. petter says:

    Mavourneen, my first name begins with P. I’m a happily married middle aged man, and intend to stay that way. But I thought your comment – especially the ”

  165. petter says:

    “I care not a whit for it” was so hilarious that it needed to be posted once more (below). Can we communicate somehow?

    In response to: The Shortest Way with the Dissenters
    Mavourneen commented:

    John, My first name is Maura. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland. You owe me (1) flat screen monitor, as I got Fresca on mine when I read the phrase “Ok, deep breath here. Let me parse this, again, for y’all: ” Parse. *laughing* You think a lot of yourself, don’t you! This is a silly “thread.” I’ve lost brain cells reading it. I care not a whit for it. ;

  166. John Buschman says:

    “parse it for me, please?” asked if I would state the issue again. I’ll do it in three sentences: In my last posting 12 items up from this one, I was asked a question about an employment situation – a legal situation. I am on the record in this case and the questioner and the puerile posts are not, and that is a radical imbalance that is indefensible. Owning one’s words, especially in voicing disagreement – and doubly so in such personal and hurtful terms (see the reactions to the “sheet” thing?) – is not a technicality to be finessed by smarmy jr. high posts. LJ should not be elevating this blog. Y’all keep waiting to bait me into really calling you names – and the jr. high game of picking out a word from a post and saying I called you that name just isn’t going to work. Come out, come out wherever you are! – John Buschman

  167. Vegans For Meat says:

    John, in a sense, you’ve already called us names. Which reminds me of something Your friend Kathleen McCook posted on her blog Librarian about the new book entitled, “Snark” by David Denby. I read this book and was amazed to experience the author degeneration into a snark fest by the end toward those he accused of viciously being snarky. Hmm, such as it goes when trying to fight fire with fire, I suppose. Anyway, I know that as far as I’m concerned, I have not derided you (personally) in the least, simply put your arguments to the test. I may or may not have done a good job, but the real issue for me, at least, is that not every counter to your argument has been really all that horrible. As far as revealing myself. Well, let’s say that others on this blog have found me. So, it’s not really all that hard to do.

  168. Morse says:

    You’re on record in this case? What case? What are you talking about? Baiting you into calling people names? You need no baiting. You’ve been doing it all along. Please stop playing the wide-eyed innocent. It doesn’t become you.

  169. Detached Amusement says:

    Reading this particular blog, with the ongoing comments of a certain person, has become almost as mind-bending as watching ex-Gov. Belgojevich on David Letterman.

  170. sidney says:

    Ha! Yes, I see the same disconnect from reality. Does he really believe what he says, or does he think everyone else is stupid and gullible enough to believe him? But at least, like George W. Bush, he’s consistent. And like Sarah Palin, he hates anonymous bloggers.

  171. Page.from.his.playbook says:

    About what the heck exactly John is saying…let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Basically, what he seems to be saying is that it’s fine and dandy to sling mud about what a bunch of–puerile, hurtful, smarmy, snarky, unaccountable, Rovian, sophist, cynical, ad hominem-attackin’, pose-strikin’, hood-wearin’–thugs we all are in this -playpen- of a blog and that’s THE GOOD, RESPECTFUL, PROFESSIONAL WAY to dish it, baby! Nice one, J.B.

  172. Page.from.his.playbook says:

    …so, as long as you identify yourself, it’s all good! If you post anything hinting at criticism (even thoughtful criticism) anonymously, though, you’re an evildoer.

  173. librarydude says:

    This thread has officially moved into the real of tedium.

  174. librarydude2 says:

    yes, this tedium is real.

  175. Library Observer says:

    See how much time and effort you can take up and away from other things more important and relevant if you are a Retro Librarian?! And not much will be done at any rate, because ALA Council resolutions ain’t gonna change matters in Darfur or Gaza. Meanwhile, the pink slips keep piling up, the library branches keep closing, the library grads
    keep tumbling out of their MLS/MLIS programs with heavy student debt and not a chance of the proverbial f@rt in a whirlwind of finding entry level work that offers a square deal. And here we are back in Retro Libraryland, be it 1982-83 or 1990-93, or 2001. And ALA, not really giving the proverbial r@t’s @ss about it, though it may say otherwise, still gets caught up in business that hasn’t the least bit of relevance to the situation facing libraries and librarians. So we go through the same thing, over and over. The # of jobs become fewer and fewer, after the recession hits. People plan to cut the budget further to the bone at the library. And some people/groups wonder why they are thought of with disdain, if not outright contempt.

  176. Andrew says:

    Wow. 177 comments? Whoever said that comments were dead?

    Twopointopia forever!

  177. Better Dead than Read? says:

    178 comments; “What is snark? — snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is spreading like pinkeye through the media and threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true.”
    This is off the Retro Librarian’s Blog for Feb. 3, with a link to this thread.
    Pinkeye?

  178. Literary Librarian says:

    The thing I love about this place is that a lot of the commenters make the AL look almost sane by comparison, and that takes some doing. Especially the defensive guy.

  179. John Buschman says:

    This has been fun! Let me see if I can pry you out of your anon-spider holes another way. I’ll draw you a picture: LJ decides to hold a formal debate on the anonymity in libraryland blogging issue at a major library conference, and I represent the case against anonymity; one (or about a dozen in this case) represent the case for anonymity. I can draw from and arrange the arguments in my posts here – and use the same language. Y’all can’t show up, if you did you would be no longer anonymous and directly accountable for the things you say about me and my colleagues, etc. in the debate. That is, unless you’re gonna come on stage in a disguise (sheets, Obama mask, Nixon mask – whatever) or shout from behind a curtain, you can’t debate. The IT blog and its webfans seek the legitimacy and the protections of free speech and intellectual freedom in a public forum with none of the attendant responsibilities. Remember “moonbat”, “totalitarian”, the e-threat to “b@tch slap”, et. al.? Ok now, go back to your e-spider holes now, read the 3rd letter of every 4th word and conclude that it spells somethin’ naughty, and blog “he called us that naughty word that comes from the 3rd letter of every 4th word! What a bad person! Anon good! Save us IT! Oh, and if you think I don’t question anonymity from the left, read my review of Revolting Librarians Redux. I think all this lost-cause/last-stand anon hipsterism is just the whole image thing playing out in another way. Let your inner Marions come out – on the record.
    John Buschman

  180. Morse says:

    You seem to be confused, John. The debate is about the politicization of library organizations. All of your rants on “anonymity” are just a red herring. Would you please stop the charade? Just admit that the only reason the anonymity of the AL bothers you is that it keeps you from using political thug tactics, and in the absence of sensible argument, political thug tactics are all you have. Oh, and the name’s Morse. With a little work you could probably track me down.

  181. Bob Smyrczik says:

    Excuse me, but librarydude declared this thread to be tedious. Please stop adding to it immediately.

  182. Sharon Wilbur says:

    I have been a librarian for over 40 years. It’s not that we don’t have a backbone to speak for ourselves. It’s that we get censored and slapped down by our administration if we do.

  183. parse it for me, please says:

    again –
    JB says, “parse it for me, please?” asked if I would state the issue again. I’ll do it in three sentences:
    and then proceeds to do something entirely different, as far as I can tell. I really was looking for a succinct answer from the source on this one, as I am truly confused as to what the heart of his issue or contention might be. Would you take a shot at it again, or is it really as simple as anonymous=bad?

  184. let's move on says:

    I think we’ve spent enough time on this already. No need to go over it again.

  185. Detached Amusement says:

    “It’s not that we don’t have a backbone to speak for ourselves. It’s that we get censored and slapped down by our administration if we do.” Isn’t there supposed to be something in ALA’s Code of Ethics about this? I get the feeling they just trot that out in a book censorship case that winds up in the media, and the heck to those in the trenches. It’s ALA’s favorite stalking horse. Gives the public the idea that ALA is really walking the walk, rather than just talking the talk. If there wasn’t something to this snark we wouldn’t be snarking. Telling the emporer he has no clothes, when he doesn’t, can get you beheaded, unless it’s anonymous.

  186. Rudolph Rocker says:

    Even if I wanted to “come out” on this site, I wouldn’t. With the way people hijack names/handles on this site I would think it unwise to use your own name. This site reminds me of why anarchy is a stupid notion.

  187. a questioner of Mr. Buschman says:

    Hey, Buschman, I’d like to suggest another way for you to look at this whole thing. If AL and the commenters on this blog lack legitimacy as participants in a meaningful debate – owing to their anonymity – then why do you grace them with your attentions? In other words, if the legitimacy of what we say and do here under anonymity is so easily dismissed then why are you here as a participant, albeit under your own name? Don’t you at least implicitly participate in our legitimization by continuing to respond? It’s been YOUR very responses to criticisms, queries, etc. whether serious or satirical that have made this discussion last so longer, indeed longer than many that have ensued from recent AL blog posts. Your participation is enlivening the very blog you criticize.

    And how does satirical criticism actually cause you measurable substantive harm? You expressed some concern about an “e-threat” to “b*tch-slap”. Are you seriously contending that a reasonable person – given the context (i.e. a forum in which hyperbole, satire, and parody are the rhetorical “standard”) – would actually regard that as a real threat and not just hyperbole? If so, take action. You’ll be vindicated. Do you really think that any of the people who already agreed with you beforehand were going to change their minds because an anonymous blogger (witty and clever though she may be to some) and commenters criticized you? I doubt it.

    Your continued participation here legitimizes the blog. Thank you for participating! I mean that sincerely and not snarkily. You are having your fair say. Do you notice that LJ is allowing it? They seem to be, at any rate. If so, that represents a fundamental distinction between LJ’s editors and AL on one hand and all the bad-guys to whom you compare them. The latter suppress dissent and counterspeech. Your continued participation here demonstrates that LJ and AL do not (unless, of course, they are suppressing or editing your posts and we don’t know it. I realize that is at least possible.)

    Originally you made your argument in terms of priorities. You said that LJ should have kept Criticas before it kept AL going. Arguing in terms of priorities I think puts you on more legitimate ground. Again, though, if the discourse on this blog is so unworthy of time and resources why are you adding to its popularity by participating? You could just as easily respond in some other forum, like one that you consider more elevated and “worthy”.

    You contend AL and its commenters create such an unworthy discourse and yet here you are, at least this week, among its most prominent and vocal participants.

    Why not just have your say here and elsewhere and reconcile yourself that others will do so in this forum? If the satire and parody offend you, then grow a little thicker skin and take comfort that you’ve established yourself and your credibility in other, open forums…the very ones that you say should be taken seriously. And if you’re taken seriously in those places, what do you really care if people criticize you here?

    If we’re illegitimate because we’re anonymous, why get all upset over us?

  188. let's move on says:

    Man, that was long-winded. Could you give us the Cliff Notes version in the future?

  189. that same questioner says:

    No, sorry, I’m a long-winded academic. Oh, wait let me go ahead and try anyway:

    If he doesn’t like AL why does he participate?

  190. let's move on says:

    That’s much better. Thanks.

  191. Detached Amusement says:

    Code of Ethics of the American Library Association

    As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.

    Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.

    We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

    The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

    We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
    We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
    We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
    We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
    We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
    We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
    We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
    We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

  192. Morse says:

    “We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.” That was the most relevant one, I think.

  193. librarydude says:

    My code of ethics: Don’t do it unless you’re sure you can get away with it. Words to live by.

  194. Crazy Cat Lady says:

    “My code of ethics: Don’t do it unless you’re sure you can get away with it. Words to live by.” Back to work, you!

  195. Vegans For Meat says:

    I kinda think you’re cool, librarydude.

  196. Original Anonymous Librarian says:

    “We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.” It’s too bad this isn’t observed more often, but then AL wouldn’t have anything to be snarky about.

  197. snarkMLS says:

    “We strive for excellence in the profession… and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.”
    Really? Do we REALLY?

  198. On Closer Look says:

    “We strive for excellence in the profession… and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.” Really? Do we REALLY?” Well, not necessarily. Note how this is phrased, sort of like the message of the Oracle of Delphi, you can take these any of several ways. You can “Strive foe excellence” and fail. You can also “foster aspirations” with meaningless blather, like some folks in library education are wont to do. Remember the “shortage” of librarians. You can “foster aspirations” and then leave the “aspirations” unfulfilled.

  199. On Point says:

    “These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.” This is stuck in the fine print, giving an out to any or all of the above.

  200. Shwag says:

    Congratulations! You’re the 200th commenter. Click here to collect your prize.

  201. Bob Smyrczik says:

    The link doesn’t work.

  202. Awards Committee says:

    Go to pmsbuddy.com for your prize.

  203. Awards Committee says:

    You’ll need to cut and paste the above URL.

  204. Proudly Anonymous says:

    Dear John Buschman:

    I genuinely considered quitting the library profession after the famous Blatant Berry blog thread. I was disgusted by the fact that posters on the blog not only vilified AL but also attempted to get Stephen Denney fired for posts on his own blog that he made out of work time. I don’t care if these individuals used their own names. Joe McCarthy used his own name. Government employees who hounded Dalton Trimble, Robert Oppenheimer, and countless others during the McCarthy era used their own name.The judges at the Salem Witch trials used their own names.It does not make their actions any more acceptable. I deliberately let my ALA membership lapse and I thought long and hard before renewing it because I did not want to rejoin an organization that tolerated such behavior. I am not signing my name because I cannot trust that my bosses, unlike those of Stephen Denny, will back me for a post made on my own time, from my own computer. However, if you do have that panel, I will come in person and speak up under my own name in the hopes of awakening some form of decency in your heart. I can put it down as participating in an ALA panel, which they should view as acceptable behavior on my part.

  205. clear and open mind says:

    If people are blogging during work time, they should be fired.

  206. Stephen Denney says:

    To the statement:

    “I was disgusted by the fact that posters on the blog not only vilified AL but also attempted to get Stephen Denney fired for posts on his own blog that he made out of work time.”

    That is not true. I don’t know if you are confusing me with someone else.

  207. a questioner of John Buschman says:

    I guess Buschman actually went away now…he seems no longer to be responding here. Perhaps he subscribed to the point of view I suggested yesterday!

  208. John Buschman says:

    Haven’t gone away – just letting y’all muck up the playpen thing again. You know – the whole Gilligan-thing. Thanks for clearing up yet another red-herring Stephen. And thanks to the blogger who said he/she/it won’t come out because then those who use the anon-option hijack your name – thus making my point. And I note, not one person took up the point in the hypothetical (that means I made it up…) “debate” sponsored by LJ. Y’all want the rights, but ya don’t want the responsibilities that come along with them. Who’s the conservo now? (By the way, I just don’t go away…). And yes, LJ deserves credit for the debate – they don’t deserve credit for sponsoring anon-slaps and shutting down Criticas (remember that at the beginning?) within a few months of one another. How many of y’all have actually *read* the editorial about anon-spider holes? John Buschman

  209. still questioning Buschman says:

    OK, Mr. Buschman, so if you haven’t gone away, then doesn’t that mean you’re at least implicitly legitimizing this forum by participating in it?

    Again, if you are an exemplar of responsible discourse and we’re not because we’re anonymous – why do you we deserve your attention?

    Don’t get all upset now…it’s a legitimate question.

  210. Vegans For Meat says:

    One thing’s for sure: this blog is supremely more dynamic than McCook’s or Litwin’s blog. Look at the other paper thin, monumentally boring blogs hosted here on LJ. No one comments because no cares. In the least, AL encourages some kind of debate. And even if it’s primarily anonymous, so be it! It is exponentially more interesting. McCook’s blog is akin to a rotting log in a forest. No one pays attention and has nothing to add to her mundane posts. Where’s the action? John?

  211. just wondering says:

    John Buschman said:
    ” Y’all want the rights, but ya don’t want the responsibilities that come along with them. Who’s the conservo now?”

    John, why do you keep insisting to trying to frame this debate in “conservative” vs. “progressive”. Can you fathom that someone might be both opposed to political conservatism AND opposed to the viewpoints on discussion, debate, anonymity that you present here?

    Will you answer that please? (Or have gone away again?)

  212. Dilbert says:

    This is an excellent discussion, and it is precisely because of anonymity. Intellectual Freedom, indeed! Mr. Buschman’s unwillingness and/or inability to answer sincerely posed questions directly and replying with cloudy verbiage is the same sort of nonsense I see on other discussion boards. People try reasoning with them until they realize it will never work and then give up and the troll often gets barred from participating. Simply repeating the line of “anonymity is bad” is not an argument, and it has been way outargued by all these intelligent comments. Mr. Buschman doesn’t represent anything resembling progressive or liberal at all. I say: Thanks AL! I’ve learned a lot about this (increasingly silly) profession from reading this blog and comments. We are all worried about our jobs at my library and what stinks about it is that the main way to protect them is by pretending to love Twopointopia and Managementspeak, just like in the corporate world. Certainly not by proudly exercising our “intellectual freedom” by trying to find a REAL way to save libraries and make ourselves relevant to our communities.

  213. questioner of Buschman says:

    I asked him a lot of questions, but one I’d really like him to answer is just how AL’s criticism actually harms him (aside from any hurt feelings that come from her satirical style). In my opinion the one point he has that actually holds water is the one about priorities. If he (or anyone) thinks Criticas (or any other blog/forum/column whatever) deserves priority over AL, fine. That’s a point worth considering, whether or not one agrees with it ultimately. But if we aren’t credible because we’re anonymous, his primary professional audience will dismiss AL and her commenters as easily as he says he does. So what does he really care if AL and commenters criticize him – unless, of course, it really is the notion of dissent that bothers him. (In my opinion, though, real Liberals and Progressives welcome dissent. The ones I know do.)

    And yet, each time he answers here he legitimizes the forum, at least implicitly. If I believed what he says he believes, I’d answer but would render the answer elsewhere. Maybe he’ll do that. Then again, that choice would allow us to continue enjoying our anonymous discourse (both the serious and the farcical components).

    And the farce has its place too.

    Whether he keeps answering here or has gone away, though, he’s already legitimized what he contends is unworthwhile.

  214. Library Observer says:

    “We are all worried about our jobs at my library and what stinks about it is that the main way to protect them is by pretending to love Twopointopia and Managementspeak, just like in the corporate world. Certainly not by proudly exercising our “intellectual freedom” by trying to find a REAL way to save libraries and make ourselves relevant to our communities.” This says enough about the supposed validity of ALA’s Code of Ethics. The whole business is scr@wed-up. Instead of addressing the situation these folks go around ignoring the elephant in the room. AL has, intentionally or not, brought many of these “challenges” to the field to the fore through this blog.

  215. Morse says:

    From John Buschman: “Oh, and if you think I don’t question anonymity from the left, read my review of Revolting Librarians Redux.” From the review: “I think you’ll find some useful, funny, and insightful bits and observations on the current state of librarianship.” Can you imagine him saying that about the AL, no matter how true it is?

  216. John Buschman says:

    To the above posting: well, yes. To the notion that this is per se conservo. v. progresso: not the point. Anon attack (and the attacks that anon enables without responsibility for the words is and ever will be the point. I *am* glad that the crud-slinging has seemingly drifted away from this string, but those who defend the *means* need to at least look at the *results* and try and square them. And I’ll say again on the “what’s the harm” point: when you’re the target, and its *you* not a fake handle, lets see how you like it. The discourse, folks, is useless as a professional guide when its buried in and interwoven with personal attacks (see the first point above), and it clarifies … what? How does this push the profession forward? Someone explain to me how intellectual freedom (and please, look it up before you respond) is pushed forward by professionals assigned to protect it via anonymity. And I don’t want this “Madison or Austen published anonymously” stuff either. If you want to go back to those days, you’re welcome to – with all the attendant inequalities in place at the time. Oh, and can somebody explain just how PLG is so preciously political, and IT isn’t? Next-to-last: if you think the profession and what it is trying to accomplish is “silly,” you shouldn’t be in it. We might look silly in the process, but then I’m not fixated on the image-thing. IT seems to be – and as I argued, all that “Mile High Club”, “Gilligan” hipsterism, martini-referencing, retro-ironic stuff ad nauseum is just the image-thing as I noted earlier. Last: I participate in this so that there is a counter argument to the hegemony of this venue and its means (note here all the “wonder” at the number of posts – though it probably only represents a handful of people – but then, we’ll never know because their anon….). There are plenty who roll their eyes at this, but silence is consent, so I respond. Anyone want to take up the hypothetical LJ debate example rather than pick out a few words from the posting? John Buschman

  217. Dilbert says:

    “Next-to-last: if you think the profession and what it is trying to accomplish is “silly,” you shouldn’t be in it.”
    Believe me-I’ve tried to wrench myself free, but I’m glued to the spot by the same morbid curiosity that causes rubberneckers to slow down when they pass a gruesome car crash. ; )

  218. Vegans For Meat says:

    “…all that “Mile High Club”, “Gilligan” hipsterism, martini-referencing, retro-ironic stuff ad nauseum

    You left out the terms “progresso” and “conservo” in your list of foolish references. This false dichotomy you call the right and left is no longer relevant. The lines between both are so blurred as to render their meanings useless. Even the term progressive is ambiguous. Exactly what is it about you, John, that is so progressive? What is it that the PLG is progressing toward? …and from where?

    And where would this hypothetical debate take place?

  219. John Buschman says:

    To the above post, fair enough on the labels, but I didn’t introduce Gilligan, et. al. – y’all did. I think its a fair point of argument that you’re (implicitly) making: that the “Mile High Club” is the equivalent of politics, and that there is no difference in the trajectories that a politics lead us (lets say, from Enron to Gitmo to Madoff, or from Social Security to the nanny state to the lawsuit society to give two typical trajectories of analysis). That at least is a point. But “The Mile High Club” to be followed up by IT on a rant on a critique being “totalitarian”? Please. Where would the debate take place? As I said, a “major library conference” – that is, not the anon. spider holes. Rights without responsibilities (anonymity) protects nasty attack because people are not accountable for their words (like they would be in my hypothetical example). John Buschman

  220. Vegans For Meat says:

    At this point, I have to agree with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s stance on the issue of anonymity, which follows “[a] much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission [which] reads:

    Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

    In other words, the issue of anonymity, with all of its attendant problems and complexities, may be a mode of expression that does more good than harm to society. While some may abuse the “right” of anonymous expression, by itself, is not a reason to discourage it, disparage those who engage in it, or worse, ban it.

  221. Stephen Denney says:

    What is the general pattern with blogs on the issue of anonymity? Open question. My impression from blogs I read is that most blogs are not anonymous, but the bloggers who post in response generally are anonymous.

  222. John Buschman says:

    Anonymity to express political views or whistle-blow is one thing – and this was never about a *right*. This was about the effects of anonymous attack, its place within a profession with a strong relationship to academic and intellectual freedom (see the Juicy Campus debates and /or Google “Panelists Debate Online Anonymity” in the Harvard Law Record for two examples). Let’s get serious here: this is a library school professor, ALA Council, an ALA councillor – not the federal or state government or a huge corporation that can retaliate if it knows the source of anonymous information or speech. I have no power to ban anonymous blogging, but I can and do point out the dysjuncture of LJ as a professional publication in librarianship *promoting* an anonymous blogger who’s originating blog from its inception was a source of anonymous attack. John Buschman

  223. Morse says:

    So what about the Chronicle of Higher Education, which hosts many pseudonymous (which is what this blog really is) columns? The CHE is a very professional publication. Also, have you read the early AL? The blog originated as pseudonymous criticism of the politicization of the ALA. Does criticism= attack? Your case is still weak.

  224. Vegans For Meat says:

    John, I honestly have to wonder what you’re getting out of this truncated version of the long, exacerbating argument that went on during the Berry debate some years ago. It seems your colleagues have more or less decided to ignore it. I think the real issue for you to consider is that anonymous commenting or expression of any form is NOT going away. It has been around for thousands of years in one form or another, from pasquino until now. The real question for you and everyone to consider is how to moderate it.

    You need to forget the philosophical whimsies of your arguments that, ultimately, will influence practically no one and start to consider how anonymous expression can be moderated for the good, or at least tolerated as an (unfortunate) byproduct of democratic freedom.

    Random and malicious Anonymous attack is admittedly reprehensible, but so are a lot of things that come with allowing the freedoms attendant of a democratic society. So you have LAW to try and mitigate the damage that freedom allows. You seem incapable of supporting the dark side of the freedoms that you purportedly cherish—which, in many ways, is why I have a problem with the utopian ideals and rigidities of the PLG and its inability to find the sensible and practical answers to the many perplexing and perpetually complex problems facing humane relations. I read through the onslaught of comments in the Berry debacle from both sides and still am not convinced that you and your circle of friends really understand the phenomenon you are trying to discourage. Have you ever tried to step out of your comfort zone in order to see how the other half lives?

  225. Mr. Kat says:

    If you wish to limit a man’s freedom, it is indeed quickest to cut him at the throat and take from him those things that are most near and dear to his heart; without a job, or a livelihood, no man may have LIFE so as to enjoy freedom or any entity that is a right, such as intellectual freedom. Thus as I have been enjoying my stint of unemployment, my mind has been fully clear of ANY “intellectual thought” in one regard or another!

    I had to read the snippet reposted by KL a number of times before any of it made sense. If I understand this argument correctly, Intellectual freedom is to be enjoyed only by those who have pasted the “tenure test” and are accepted within the academic canon. So those who do not have academic tenure thus do not have the freedom to engage in this “intellectual freedom’ because they do not have the protection afforded by the community.

    I want to thank the writers of this letter for so clearly outlining why we must hide behind masks in this day an age, and further exhibits why arcane things like tenure in the academic ivory tower need to go the way of fairy tales! It seems these ideals are no longer protecting free thought, but rather, the freedom to Think Like Them. And when we support these ideals, we show these people like these letter writers how we support how they think.

    Let’s get something straight: if intellectual freedom is not universally “right,” then it is not right at all for ANYBODY. If it does not apply in a universal manner, then it is a PRIVILEGE and Never a RIGHT. If it is indeed a privilege for only some people to enjoy in freedom, and those certain people think it is a right, it is still not a right but rather an Entitlement. But all along we have been taught that Intellectual Freedom is a RIGHT to ALL. Somebody is dropping the bacon!!

    The truth of the matter is that the human race often stands in denial of the truth when it is inconvenient to the popular position. Those people within the crowd who are reinforced and protected by this protocol will deny, oppose, and even destroy by any means necessary any voice that speaks against the paradigm. And the crowd surrounding that paradigm will sound just like the phrase quoted by Vegans for meat: “If you’re afraid you won’t get a job because your attacks would be linked to you (and therefore you “should” remain anonymous), that is not the most honorable position (to say the least), nor logically defensible.” I see your straw man and raise you a masked shadow!

    Until intellectual freedom is the right these people say it is, the rest of us will use our pseudonyms, as that is the only way we can truly protect our personal identities from those with malicious intent, those who think we should be free to think – to Think Like Them!!

    This blog is the Roman Coliseum of the Library world, the most popular librarian blog in existence. And it is here were the MASSES [not the proper stuffed-shirt over dressed pompous arrogant aristocidiots] come for comedy, for tripe, for serious discourse, for satire, and everything else that could ever unfold on the stage before us. And on this stage I have heard more truth be told about the library profession than anywhere else.

    Now incase you DID NOT KNOW, there are three types of Academic peer review. The first is wide open – everybody knows everybody. In the second form, Single blind, one side does not know the other; the reviewers might know the author, but the author doesn’t know the reviewers – or VICE VERSA. And In Double Blind reviews, neither the author nor the reviewers know who each other are.

    Up until this point the stuffy academic tower has held the torch and given it ONLY to those who are “qualified” as if that is the only voice that matters in this universe. But no, there are still the masses. And now, with the Annoyed Librarian Blog, you are seeing the emergence of a brave new world of true double Blind peer Review, where not just the stuffiest and most prestigious are allowed to voice their “proper” voice of approval or dissent, but rather, where ANYONE – man, woman, child, dog – may come out and SAY what they think SUCKS where academia has been silent for so long.

    Thus, for turning this page, LJ is wise beyond the rest of the industry for having the iron cannon slugs to install AL in one of their coveted window offices!

    P.S. John: People will say things that make you upset. People may even call you names. That is part of life. They will say things like “pinhead”, “moonbat”, “totalitarian”, “regressive”, “b@tch slap”, “ultra-tortured” and many terms worse to describe people who may very well be you.

    Now while some of us learned we could cry a bunch and run off to the principle’s office and get the authorities involved, another group of us learned that maybe, just maybe, we deserved some of that criticism – or that there will always be those out there who are spiteful and will say hateful things even if the entire world was a pastel and florescent tie dye utopian pipedream. In the meanwhile, perhaps we should take the saltcellar and digest each comment with as much salt as needed to make it digestible and get the most out of that comment? If there is indeed truth to a dissenting statement, then it is even more important regardless of who said it!

    P.S.S. a person: EVEN IF LJ installed better software to better protect usernames within the LJ blogosphere, I would STILL highly advise against using your real name in this space. Just as an unscrupulous person will happily hijack your fake identity they can just as easily steal your real identity and use that identity to ruin your credit elsewhere. Identity theft is indeed a very real problem in this day and age – I recommend keeping up your personal guard high against full disclosure and transparency as the people you speak amongst become ever more invisible.

    P.S.S.S.,Vegans for Meat I LOVE YOU!!! McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, I’ll need to remember that!

    Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

  226. Library Observer says:

    Bravo Mr. Kat!!

  227. No. 6 says:

    Mr. Kat, you are verbose, but your points are good. Do you have your own blog? You seem to have a lot to say.

  228. John Buschman says:

    Look, y’all: my point is made (and I’ll say again, it is not within my purview to banish anonymity, it is within my purview to point out dysjunctures in a profession such as ours). The *right* to hide while attacking publicly is a chimera – and conflicts with our professional values at their core point. It is not about tenure, and it is…not…a…legal…right. It is a hard-won zone of inquiry and exchange (intellectual freedom) and is closely allied with but not the equivalent of academic freedom. That the practice of anonymity will go on is irrelevant. That the practice of anonymously attacking people who can be identified, who go on the record to make the counter argument and also point out the dysjuncture I/we identify deserves a reply. I would note that the tone and tenor of this exchange has changed. For that my interlocutors deserve credit – anon or not. Disagreement is one thing, a public forum and platform is another thing, and anonymity is yet a third thing. They should not be conflated, and IT does that spuriously.

    John Buschman

  229. Mr. Kat says:

    John, the only point I am hearing you make is that you are personally uncomfortable with this whole idea of anonymity within your pet profession. You have become comfortable in your academic universe and now it is changing. McIntyre V. Ohio Elections Commission very nicely states the exact opposite of your position; that free anonymous speech is indeed vital to the free discourse of information. While it is not in your purview to do so, you wish to banish anonymity from our profession. Our profession, nonetheless, does not exist in a vacuum isolated from the truth upheld by this ruling.

    I learned about a certain Librarian type in the “Archaeology & Paleontology” segment in library school where we reviewed historical librarianship models. In one of these archaic models we saw librarians as a “Gatekeeper” of Knowledge and Information, standing between the patron and the information. It appears to me that you are of the old school of thought that thinks in terms of protectionism and defined boundaries, hence perhaps why you are so staunchly defending your [personal?] space of intellectual freedom as you have defined it.

    Let me pull you into the 21st century: the only gatekeepers today both in and out in this market are the ISP providers maintaining the servers and the janitors maintaining our buildings. You are fighting to maintain that intellectual freedom is this “hard fought zone of inquiry and exchange” but then you seek to add boundaries that limit just who can freely make use of the space.

    The argument you have brought forward is one built up for personal reasons, for I can see no other reason why you would wish to horde or limit this space. The space belongs to everybody and they may use this space for public discourse even if they cannot do so under their personal name.

    I do not see the disjuncture that you speak of. If anything, I see that academician principles have abused their little arena for themselves, stifling out any shred of counter thought; but not on the grounds of the argument, but rather on the grounds of the qualifications of the person making the argument. I’ll repeat it now as I have ever before: it does not matter who speaks the Truth, it is still True nonetheless. The relevance of the truth requires neither a proper academic reference nor a defined author to posture its position in the canon of human knowledge.

    Let me assure you of one thing more, Mr. Buschman. At this juncture in time the likes of Darth Vader, Dumbledore or Optimus Prime have more credibility then you or I, and they aren’t even real people! For all that you and I are, or say, we’re still no more important than the anonymous voices of old. If you are in a position where your position makes your name is a single entity and thus subject to attack, such as on an ALA board, then perhaps you should listen to the charges of “the people” and do something to CHANGE the organization to better meet your constituency’s needs. Put your business card away and be at peace!

    Mr. Kat

    P.S.No. 6: At this time I do not actively make use of my own blog. While I have thought about that space, and about how I might make use of it, I find that there really is no great need for me to add my mindless drivel to the canon of intellectual content [some would say this phrase as a paradox or an oxymoron] on the Interant! Otherwise, I am fully content to add my voice across cyberspace as part of the community that makes Interant content so wildly amusing! But maybe some day?

  230. John Buschman says:

    Dear Anono-kat,

    I make an *argument* about anonymity: calling identifiable people names while hiding your own is not the best way to practice or promote intellectual freedom. That is neither Truth nor truth. And it has nothing to do with the law of free speech (which operates under different assumptions and guidelines), it has to do with the ethics of our profession. You set up straw men, then knock them down with what seems to be technological determinism. That we can build limitless numbers of cars and drive limitless numbers of miles does not mean that there is no cost to that “limitlessness” – that is, gassing our planet to death. That the unreal is becoming more “real” than reality isn’t necessarily where our profession ought to be throwing its weight. In a small way, I’m saying the same thing about the relationship of these anon-attacks within librarianship: just because we can do it, and just because its popular (or more “real” to 2.0 denizens) doesn’t mean that it is good, inevitable, or even useful and comports with our professional values. My personal discomfort is nil: if I were that uncomfortable, I’d shrink from the forum. I engage because I think these kinds of attacks, using these kinds of platforms and methods, do not deserve support – let alone the pseudo-intellectual/pseudo-cool justifications engaged in here. The hysteria of the reactions to my points make my points: for the anono-hip, talkin’ trash (attacks) & talkin’ hip (lap dancing references, et. al.) without the responsibility for the words is the appeal. It (and IT) ain’t about truth; it’s/IT’s about posing – and all this is especially galling in light of LJ’s contemporaneous decision to promote this tripe and shut down Criticas. I engage so that anon-attacks don’t chill the discourse. What happens of course is that, though I go on record, I’m accused of chilling the discourse – though I’d get up in front of an audience and read what I’ve written, and my interlocutors wouldn’t/couldn’t even show up without a silly disguise. Principle indeed. Please kat: did you read the editorial that kicked all this off? John Buschman

  231. Vegans For Meat says:

    John, I think it is unwise of you to reduce the issue of online anonymity to a good/bad split; again, it’s a false dichotomy. Historically speaking, the issue of anonymity has had a long career as a controversial issue—what makes you think that the desire/impulse to speak anonymously is ever going to be squelched? And how do you suggest the squelching be done?

    The Internet presents us with a particularly complex set of problems related to anonymous speech that deserves engagement and genuine problem-solving strategies from both sides of the issue, not moralizing, name-calling, or stark condemnation. Larry Seltzer, of eweek, wrote an interesting article on this subject, entitled “Anonymity is a Problem and an American Tradition.” He states,

    The temptation to call anonymous speakers, especially in politics, dangerous or cowards is great. Sometimes I think it’s warranted. But the answer to it is not to violate their privacy, it’s to call to attention their anonymity, as it often does diminish their argument. Anonymous arguments can still have great weight, as did those of Publius. {Italics mine] It is a shame that, as a technical matter, anonymity on the Internet also facilitates impersonation and perhaps other crimes, but those have always had their old world analogs.

    Just as cars are not going away anytime soon—so to with anonymous speech. WE, therefore, need to learn how to manage the situation at-hand (i.e. problem solve) and resist engaging in wishful thinking.

  232. John Buschman says:

    I *almost* agree with the previous post – and Seltzer. I’ll only quibble here. “Squelching” is neither within my power nor my goal. (That accusation really should be put to rest by now.) My goal is to make an argument against a prevailing method and to point out the contradictions of anon. blogging *as librarians*. Second, anonn as a right is not as clear-cut. None of the legal defenses for it (against gov. or corp. retaliation) hold here. So it is a method in our environment (one tied to intellectual freedom), and that method is more directly tied to secrecy, not privacy. There is no inherent right to secrecy. And no, it isn’t “wishful thinking” to point out that we should live up to our professed professional values more thoroughly in our professional platforms. John Buschman

  233. Vegans For Meat says:

    I will say this: I use my real name on other library blogs, but I wouldn’t dare use it on this blog. I have followed the AL for some time, both out of curiosity and also, I have enjoyed the unique community here in contrast with other library related blogs. I respect her “right,” or whatever, to post anonymously, but I have also witnessed the very ugly side of anonymity and the Internet on this blog.

    Only a month or so ago there was complete anarchy on this site involving impersonation (in other words, illiberal intimidation). This would not have happened on better blogging platforms such as Blogger, or at least it would have been more difficult to do. I had an identity on Blogger that I have completely given up on over here at this site. I believe this is one of the main problems with anonymous posting and better technology might be part of the solution. I also understand the distinction you’re making between the political and the professional. I’m not sure if I agree with this distinction.

    I do find it fascinating that the library profession has an unreal number of blogs compared to a lot of other professions.

  234. Mr. Kat says:

    Let me preface my response with a little earth science.

    If you knew anything at all about planetary science you would know that while humans may effectively gas off populations, it is planets gas themselves off by simple energy balance. If you look at Mars you see the effects of total de-gassing, whereas that planet is effectively “dead.” If it were not for the magmatic characteristics of our planet’s interior, this planet would also be dead. Volcanic gas replaces the gasses that are naturally lost due to out gassing to space; once the interior goes cold, this planet too is done. As it is, this planet has done a very good job in the past of getting rid of past species and it will do so again. The only species that seems to have survived for extended timeframes are either viral or bacterial save the brave brachiopod. In the end humans are nothing more than parasites riding on the back of what is a very unpredictable planet.

    As much as I enjoy flexing my reference librarian arm in providing this information, I fail to see how this or the line about cars and the futile attempt to tie this debate into environmentalist dogma has anything to do with library science, professionalism, or intellectual freedom.

    I assure you, I read the editorial. And the letter. And all 228-odd replies to this blog. And I went and read a little into some of the earlier debates cited earlier in this conversation. My comments are not made idlely.

    Your very letter was written to chill the discourse. You may argue that you are just protecting the integrity of your profession, but your action is chilling to the discourse. You do not understand this format, or at the least understand the value in it, and consider yourself and this profession to be far above the common line as lived by the common man. “We” call this a Legitimacy Gap.

    I spoke of how this profession has been stifled by the old guard pinning it under values they believe we should all uphold. You are continuing that tradition by raising an argument – an arguement AGAINST the use of anonymous speech [or more specifically, anonymous criticism] within the field.

    I find it humorous how you keep considering the “Lap dance” references as serious suggestions. I realize in your stuffy canon there is no room for vulgar humor. But as I said before, the old guard has been very prominent in protecting academic intellectual property from the revolting smut touted by the unwashed masses.

    It is clear to me at the very least that for you the field of library science exists within a special vacuum under a different set of rules than what governs the rest of the human socio-political landscape. There are a number of labels I could apply to you at this very moment and regardless of my anonymous nature, those names are no less true. You may call it “Name-calling;” I call it “Blunt Honesty.”

    It has always been wishful thinking to suggest any society uphold a set of values alien to how that society functions. You will find that nonetheless this wishful thinking has been in effect since the dawn of human conscience. If you pick up a Holy Book, you will find a whole lot of references demanding that we do a number of things contrary to how the natural socio-politico-biological landscape functions. But for every successful prophet there are countless thousands who failed to ever see the light of day. And most of those who were successful were martyred by the society in which they dwelt.

    I thought it had already been made clear that anonymous speech is necessary for “the expression of critical, minority views.” Today our culture recognizes the futility of martyrdom, hence why so many walk in silence. If the silent minority was allowed to speak, whereas the silent minority is everybody who has obtained an MLS and ultimately discovered they had to be employed in a new field altogether to survive, you might find your majority is far smaller than what you have perceived.

    You have built yourself into a very tight logical construct reinforced against outside skepticism by your own fanaticism over your logical definitions. No matter where the Annoyed Librarian is hosted, your kind will always have a faceless enemy prying against your special brand of professional idealism. Alas, there is nothing I can do or say to help you.

    If squelching is not your goal, then just why did you write that letter? You picked up the stick and you hit the cat. Now if your intention was not to hit the cat, just WHAT WAS your intention? Play fetch???

  235. Vegans For Meat says:

    “If you ain’t gonna get it on, take your dead arse home.” –Parliment

    Mr. Kat, that last comment was spot on! Right on…

  236. John Buschman says:

    I’m afraid I can’t keep track of all the straw men here. I wrote to LJ. I attached an earlier reasoned argument against anonymity. I contrasted the anon. discourse platform promotion with the action of closing Criticas. Just because I did that, I am called, anonymously, various names. I point out again and again and again that I am identified as (place various words used here) and my attackers are not. This runs counter to fairness – something we strive mightily for in our collections, our services, our outreach, our ethics etc. etc. etc. I then get lectured that I’m suppressing (what – y’all’s “identity”). How has my pointing out the dysjunctures here suppressed one syllable? Is it because this playpen and its activities are actually being taken seriously enough to point these things out? Absolutely no one takes up the hypothetical challenge of the “major library event” debate, no one disavows the name-calling (ala Palin rallies this fall), no one tackles the point of the nexus of purience-puerileness-and-attack mode that I identify as enabled by anonymity. Instead I/we are called further names and there is invoked the legal defense of anonymity. I point out that that legal defense protects speech in the case of governmental and corporate retaliation, not public name-calling of identifiable individuals. I point out there is no retaliation at stake here except in (perhaps fevered) imaginations. Then there is invoked technological inevitability and its zeitgeist vs. the uber-Luddite nature of my argument along with an implication that human activity contributing to global warming (my analogical reference back to technological inevitability) is a chimera. Please, confer off-line and bring some coherence to this. So much straw, so much debris. Oh, and Austen and Publius y’all are not – that is the worst puffery in all this. I’ll ask the question again from the editorial: when and under what conditions is it wrong to ask someone to own their words?

    John Buschman

  237. Mr. Kat says:

    I shall try one last time to get through.

    My mother taught me another valuable lesson a LONG time ago; “Life’s Not Fair!” Anonyminity IS fair in an unfair world because it levels the playing field for those of us who unlike you do not have the benefits of tenure or other protectionist institutions allowing us to “own” our statements without drawing severe penalties.

    You have an equal access right to being anonymous; there are no rules stating that you HAVE to own your work under your personal name. It is only under personal ego and for professional gain that you would do such a thing in this particular environment – and that choice is YOURS. And by making that choice, you have indeed opened yourself up to all the gremlins that come with exposing your personal profile. One of these gremlins are the names you might be called from time to time – again, it is up to you to examine each label on its own merit and ask yourself if indeed any of them are appropriate descriptions of your position.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Single Blind peer review!

    I did a convenient Google search on your name for a little relative frame of reference. I see that you have spent a great deal of time hammering on this anonymous “Problem” in our field. I think you need to stop crying about the smoke and start examining WHY there is smoke. WHY are so many of us remaining Anonymous?

    We are common people; we have absolutely nothing to gain by owning our posts. LJ has chosen to support a model that your own research has found to be an increasing trend: anonymity in librarianship. I do not know why you find this so surprising aside from how you have chosen to react to this phenomenon.

  238. John Buschman says:

    Of course you can “investigate” me – and I can’t you. That is the imbalance. It has nothing to do with “single blind peer review” – completely specious. It is an unlevelling of the playing field. I am not so blithe about an unfair move as you are – guess I’m not a social Darwinian like all the anon. folks. So be it. So we are down to the “where there is smoke, there must be fire” argument now. Oh, and down to “you have a better job than the rest of us” argument. The first is specious, the second, well, results speak for themselves. Intellectual Freedom and Academic Freedom weren’t handed down from Mt. Sinai. They were made by people exercising and demanding those rights – and they couldn’t and would have been established anonymously. They won’t be “protected” anonymously. You want a better job – do the things you need to do in the profession to get one. If you’re limited by geography or circumstance, well, that’s not anyone’s fault – let alone the profession’s. Read some of the ARL publications on the troubles of recruiting – then y’all come whining about the lack of opportunities. Instead, folks who make that gripe seem to be waiting around for their supervisor to retire….

    John Buschman

  239. Migratory Librarian says:

    “You want a better job – do the things you need to do in the profession to get one. If you’re limited by geography or circumstance, well, that’s not anyone’s fault – let alone the profession’s. Read some of the ARL publications on the troubles of recruiting – then y’all come whining about the lack of opportunities. Instead, folks who make that gripe seem to be waiting around for their supervisor to retire.” Pray tell, what are these publications and where are they to be found? Is the information contained in these valid? Are people entering library programs made aware of what is or isn’t realistic, employment-wise? I wonder, from what I’ve heard, if a lot of the stories of “shortages” aren’t pure fiction. Relocation costs can add up, and it can get crazy fast if the library in question has a “revolving-door” situation, internally. I had a friend who moved from an academic library position he’d held for 22 or so years, to what should have been his dream job. Instead it was a nightmare. His immediate supervisor was left out of the loop during the hiring process, or was only minimally involved. After moving around 2,000 miles at his own expense, he entered ‘brow-beat city”, which ended with the 6 month trial period. He was thoroughly put off. The supervisor, meanwhile, had problems with some non-professional staff that were at least represented by a union. This person ultimately moved on, no doubt to spead ‘professionalism” in management elsewhere. The fellow I know could have easily done the work, and it sounded like he was outed for rather petty things that with another person could have been worked through. Then of course, these jobs are often scattered and there are some places, too many in fact, that never saw a resume they didn’t like. It’s like a casting call.
    The only candidates remembered are the first or the last, or the person who was intended to be hired from the get-go, with the others window-dressing the affair. Interviewing in this field can add up, financially. In my own recollection everyone seemed to talk poor; “we can’t pay your way, but….” Then you get a library tour and sometimes bump into the other “candidates”. In my own case I had to ask if it was really worth it. As for my late friend, yes I said LATE, he died of a massive stroke a few months ago. At his earlier job he had health insurance, but not later. In other words the whole library business of library job hunting has become a real cr@p-shoot, and can be downright expensive even before you figure moving. I forgot to mention the case of the job where they hired someone with only 6 months of pay left for the slot. The person in this case, myself, didn’t find out until after the move, and fortunately the budget held for another couple of years. Incidentally, if anyone is considering work in this dicey environment I’d suggest they buy a Yurt – seriously. They are available in the U.S. now. As for me, I dunno….There are other ways to make a living in an area where I at least want to live and put down roots. Shame on those folks who sold library students a bill of goods. Buschman, are you such a hick that you keep writing “y’all”? I’m from the South myself….but really….

  240. Migratory Librarian says:

    “You want a better job – do the things you need to do in the profession to get one. If you’re limited by geography or circumstance, well, that’s not anyone’s fault – let alone the profession’s. Read some of the ARL publications on the troubles of recruiting – then y’all come whining about the lack of opportunities. Instead, folks who make that gripe seem to be waiting around for their supervisor to retire.” Pray tell, what are these publications and where are they to be found? Is the information contained in these valid? Are people entering library programs made aware of what is or isn’t realistic, employment-wise? I wonder, from what I’ve heard, if a lot of the stories of “shortages” aren’t pure fiction. Relocation costs can add up, and it can get crazy fast if the library in question has a “revolving-door” situation, internally. I had a friend who moved from an academic library position he’d held for 22 or so years, to what should have been his dream job. Instead it was a nightmare. His immediate supervisor was left out of the loop during the hiring process, or was only minimally involved. After moving around 2,000 miles at his own expense, he entered ‘brow-beat city”, which ended with the 6 month trial period. He was thoroughly put off. The supervisor, meanwhile, had problems with some non-professional staff that were at least represented by a union. This person ultimately moved on, no doubt to spead ‘professionalism” in management elsewhere. The fellow I know could have easily done the work, and it sounded like he was outed for rather petty things that with another person could have been worked through. Then of course, these jobs are often scattered and there are some places, too many in fact, that never saw a resume they didn’t like. It’s like a casting call.
    The only candidates remembered are the first or the last, or the person who was intended to be hired from the get-go, with the others window-dressing the affair. Interviewing in this field can add up, financially. In my own recollection everyone seemed to talk poor; “we can’t pay your way, but….” Then you get a library tour and sometimes bump into the other “candidates”. In my own case I had to ask if it was really worth it. As for my late friend, yes I said LATE, he died of a massive stroke a few months ago. At his earlier job he had health insurance, but not later. In other words the whole library business of library job hunting has become a real cr@p-shoot, and can be downright expensive even before you figure moving. I forgot to mention the case of the job where they hired someone with only 6 months of pay left for the slot. The person in this case, myself, didn’t find out until after the move, and fortunately the budget held for another couple of years. Incidentally, if anyone is considering work in this dicey environment I’d suggest they buy a Yurt – seriously. They are available in the U.S. now. As for me, I dunno….There are other ways to make a living in an area where I at least want to live and put down roots. Shame on those folks who sold library students a bill of goods. Buschman, are you such a hick that you keep writing “y’all”? I’m from the South myself….but really….

  241. Annoyed and Weary says:

    “Intellectual Freedom and Academic Freedom weren’t handed down from Mt. Sinai. They were made by people exercising and demanding those rights – and they couldn’t and would have been established anonymously. They won’t be “protected” anonymously.” They aren’t protected PERIOD in a Public Library setting. Duh….Is this thread supposed to be something of a project for the Guiness Book of World Records?

  242. John Buschman says:

    It is a classic mistake to generalize from the particular (no matter how tragic the particular is). Yes, there are things we can and should do better in the profession. But just throwing your hands up and saying (in order) “the job market is a sham,” “intellectual freedom is neither,” and then therefore “the only way to communicate honestly/ironically/critically is anonymously” is specious. I’m sorry, but in my career I’ve had to fight for the right to speak out. I have no patience for those who take short-cuts or just sit there in a job that sells them short professionally. Life ain’t fair: well do something rather than moan & groan & smack good people around who are trying to make it better. (Yes, I know I sound like Vince Lombardi & Dale Carnegie there, but it can’t be helped – either one exercises a semblance of control over one’s life or profession or blames everyone else.) Oh, and I use y’all ’cause its convenient and softens my image…

    John Buschman

    John Buschman

  243. Son of Grok says:

    Why is Buschman complaining that others complain? He doesn’t have to listen to or read them.

    Life ain’t fair. I’m anonmymous and you ain’t. Deal with it. Quit whining.

    Passive Agressiveness is a wonderful thing.

  244. Vegans For Meat says:

    To post anonymously or not to post anonymously, is the question and a good one to ask. It’s also a fair topic for argument. John brings up interesting points, however I believe that all his vitriol over anon commenters stems from incidents of attacks from anon and (“semi-anon,” whatever that means) commenters in the past against him, K. McCook and Mark C. Rosenzweig as well as others involved in the PLG.

    John, if you and your colleagues were not slighted (sometimes viciously sometimes not) by those opposed to your political views—which you and your colleagues are VERY vocal about—would you have taken up the cause of anti-anonymous posting especially as it relates to the profession of librarianship.

    Now I have to bring up an interesting problem. I know that you make it clear that you distinguish, in your arguments, the difference between the professional and the political, and that anonymity has a place in the latter, but not in the former. As I understand what you’re saying, we are no Plubicus here, us anon drones. In other words, we are not justified by the political because we are speaking of the professional.

    You say the political arguments in favor of anonymity that have been put forth from time to time on this blog are specious. I can only guess this is because you stand by your distinction between the political and the professional. Yet, when put to the test, your own record calls your distinction into question because for the most part any arguments leveled against you and your colleagues have been political in nature first—and only professional second—and for the very fact that you are known as a highly politicized voice in the field of librarianship. How do you reconcile this apparent contradiction? Are we professional and not political? Are we political and not professional? Or, as it seems in your case, are we both professional and political, with no real distinction? If the last condition is real to you, then we are being political and the professional is just a subsumed state beneath the ultimate state of being political and being political justifies anonymous speech in a healthy democracy or so it is argued.

  245. Vegans For Meat says:

    To post anonymously or not to post anonymously, is the question and a good one to ask. It’s also a fair topic for argument. John brings up interesting points, however I believe that all his vitriol over anon commenters stems from incidents of attacks from anon and (“semi-anon,” whatever that means) commenters in the past against him, K. McCook and Mark C. Rosenzweig as well as others involved in the PLG.

    John, if you and your colleagues were not slighted (sometimes viciously sometimes not) by those opposed to your political views—which you and your colleagues are VERY vocal about—would you have taken up the cause of anti-anonymous posting especially as it relates to the profession of librarianship.

    Now I have to bring up an interesting problem. I know that you make it clear that you distinguish, in your arguments, the difference between the professional and the political, and that anonymity has a place in the latter, but not in the former. As I understand what you’re saying, we are no Plubicus here, us anon drones. In other words, we are not justified by the political because we are speaking of the professional.

    You say the political arguments in favor of anonymity that have been put forth from time to time on this blog are specious. I can only guess this is because you stand by your distinction between the political and the professional. Yet, when put to the test, your own record calls your distinction into question because for the most part any arguments leveled against you and your colleagues have been political in nature first—and only professional second—and for the very fact that you are known as a highly politicized voice in the field of librarianship. How do you reconcile this apparent contradiction? Are we professional and not political? Are we political and not professional? Or, as it seems in your case, are we both professional and political, with no real distinction? If the last condition is real to you, then we are being political and the professional is just a subsumed state beneath the ultimate state of being political and being political justifies anonymous speech in a healthy democracy or so it is argued.

  246. Migratory Librarian says:

    “I have no patience for those who take short-cuts or just sit there in a job that sells them short professionally. Life ain’t fair: well do something rather than moan & groan & smack good people around who are trying to make it better.” Mao, Stalin, Castro, and others at least projected to the masses that they wanted to improve things. It was while I was in library school that I saw that politics, too often quite nasty, often by cliques, seems to pervade this field. It sort of reminded me of high school. The idea is to put the idea out there for consideration. If it has nothing to stand on so be it. If not and it does…..Nobody wants to be set up to be outed for saying the Emperor has no clothes. Look at whistleblowers in industry and government. Yeah, life isn’t fair to them too much of the time. They can save the taxpayers money, the public their health and safety, and end up tossed under the bus for their trouble. I know of at least one individual who was outed from a library job for “doing the right thing”.

  247. John Buschman says:

    First of all, if you read the editorial, it is clear what semi-anonymous is – so I won’t repeat that here. Second, it the disagreement isn’t about political differences, it is about anon. attack based on political differences about the profession. The argument then slides over to conflate the two: I object to the means that enable such blatant attack on a known person by an unknown person. One side is accountable for her/his words, the other isn’t – we don’t even know if we’re speaking to a him/her/it (hence my consistent references to AL as “IT”). The defense of anon. is the longstanding tradition of what we now think of as whistleblowing – in other words, protection against retaliation by an *agent* far more powerful politically than the individual (gvt. or corp.). I point out that I cannot, Dr. McCook cannot, Mr. Rosenzweig cannot, ad infinitum to the names you want to add here – retaliate other than argument. In this case the argument is about the means that enable the mean-ness of the attacks. (Honestly, somebody’s kids were called “mongrels” – how low can you go?) So, if “we” can’t retaliate in classic fashion, then the argument on the anon. side is that it’s unpopular and there are vague references to the “out there” that people are afraid of, and our arguments against anon. are made the moral equivalent of censorship. That’s not a good enough standard to protect anonymity to call people “totalitarians”, “boot lickers”, a member of the oldest profession, “moonbats,” and on and on and on. I make a distinction between *personal* attack (anonymously) and political/professional disagreement, not the political and the professional – I don’t believe there is any such thing as an a-political profession. I’m then told life is unfair – I then reply that if people have unfulfilling jobs that don’t protect their intellectual freedom then they should do something about it (in fine American fashion). The howls of protest go up about how bad the profession is. What we have here is a series of excuses, not counterarguments. I’d just like one person to pick up one of my two core questions: 1) In defending anonymity, how do you account for the attacks in your defense (that is, without just blowing it off and telling those you oppose to live with it – notice, thats the tact I’m taking on the job complaints and its not going down well); 2) Or, the hypothetical example of the “debate” at a “major library conference”. Square either of those with our ethical standards and the public’s (and the courts’) regard for those standards. The majority of posts on this blog, with a few reasoned exceptions that have recently taken the lead here, just double back & name call, and pick another excuse. Enough. Answer the questions – ’cause I’ll just keep repeatin’ ‘em, y’all.
    John Buschman

  248. Mr. Kat says:

    1) There will always be those people who are mean and nasty and make attacks agaisnt you; even if anonymity was not allowed they would STILL make their attacks ANONYMOUSLY.

    If you let those people get to you, perhaps you yourself should be posting anonymously. It is YOUR CHOICE to OWN your work. If you Own your work Pseudonymously, then you can always recieve your proper credit later in life when the matter of consequence [fair or not] has past. Note just how many people have published anonymously these past 500 years.

    2) Debate at a conference where only the moderators allow what is being said, or only allow specific presigned people to speak, is not a debate but rather a one-sided presentation. The modern debate has moved beyond a specific time and place as the Internet allows a longstanding dialog for as long as people wish to add to the debate.

    We’re throwing out the rules. Will life descend into Anarchy? Perhaps, the but than again perhaps “Anarchy” is an Ad hominim defense used by those who cling to rules out of insecurity. Brave new World.

    John, you just don’t get it and perhaps never will.

  249. tragically anon says:

    “It is a classic mistake to generalize from the particular” It is? I thought this was an old time-honored philosophy practice; to draw general conclusions from specific examples. Logic or something. Please explain why this approach is a mistake. Thank you

  250. Mr. Kat says:

    Especially when the particular examples are found repeatedly across the spectrum…right, I guess we have to dismiss such data as “Serial Outliers” and invent a new statistical equaiton that leaves those outliers out of the loop. If it doesn’t have a PH.D backing, the information is invalid?

  251. anonymous says:

    “So we are down to the “where there is smoke, there must be fire” argument now.” Yes! You’re starting to get it!

  252. Annoyed, just Annoyed says:

    More like smoke and mirrors….:-/

  253. John Buschman says:

    I’m satisfied now: the discourse here is civil. The argument now is “you just don’t ‘get it’” – which of course is a feeling, not an argument. Circumstances are either avoided and/or the terms redined so y’all don’t have to answer the implications of your arguments. Anon. for all, and all for anon.! And we’re down to whining about the job market and the proclivities of ALA and the (somehow) knitted together hegemeny that this all makes – and is just so unfair to y’all. Well, as I was told, life is unfair! The (job) market is a real thing – it sorts and sifts based on skills and other attributes (like geography and willingness to move). It is highly imperfect, but then I’m not touting the market as the be-all as y’all do. And you know what: ALA Council is elective – that is, most librarians are satisfied enough with ALA’s actions (and inactions) that they keep voting in the same types & sending in their $. Looks like y’all are kinda marginalized. No amount of generalizing from “I don’t have a good job” is going to make those two things go away – and you won’t change them to your liking anonymously. Who doesn’t “get it” now? There is nothing inevitable about technology – it will be what we make it. The attacks against good people trying to push the profession forward – not me – is what I am countering. Doing it anonymously is not heroic, it doesn’t constitute a reasoned or ethical argument, it will not be the future of the profession. People will grow tired of it – and many have.

    John Buschman

  254. Anonymous says:

    “Mr. Buschman’s unwillingness and/or inability to answer sincerely posed questions directly and replying with cloudy verbiage is the same sort of nonsense I see on other discussion boards.” It does look like that, Dilbert. The fact is, libraries are burning and the ALA is fiddling.

  255. John Buschman says:

    and y’all aren’t going to protect librarians and libraries anonymously. Nor are you going to protect them by anonymously attacking those making the argument for their importance in the commonweal. You attack the idea of the political in the profession from a political basis, and defending anonymity in doing so becomes the holy grail. I cannot imagine a true profession – say medicine – defending itself by saying “we only deal with cancer” – and claiming that all the public health issues related to cancer (pollution, dumping of hazardous waste, the blithe subjection of the population to lead or radiation) were out of bounds, too “political” and made the profession illegitimate. Ditto law: the rule of law in our country would somehow have nothing to do with negating that in, say, Abu Gharib? So too with our field. Y’all posit IF as a right, but then y’all run away from what that means as a profession engaging the world. And yes, the world means our neighborhood and campus libraries too – even foremost. But not exclusively – and not anonymously. I’ll leave anonymity alone when it stops attacking personally those who go on record to make the positive, public argument for libraries and engagement. Y’all wanna talk about martinis & the Mile High Club? Fine. Do not pretend to be “serious” though in your “defense” of librarianship – and don’t expect the “sanctity” of anonymity to be respected when anonymity seeks to engage the political with such tactics. Oh, and don’t tell me I’m avoiding the issues: y’all just redefine them into something comfy which you can snuggle up to at night, safe & secure, justifying your actions. Yes, anonymous attackers are moral cowards. No, that does not apply to anonymous posters who do not necessarily attack – they just don’t deserve to be taken seriously. I counter the attack – the rest will fade away quicker than you can say “Sarah Palin.” John Buschman

  256. a person says:

    “Y’all wanna talk about martinis & the Mile High Club? Fine. Do not pretend to be “serious” though in your “defense” of librarianship – and don’t expect the “sanctity” of anonymity to be respected when anonymity seeks to engage the political with such tactics.”

    John, are you capable of considering and willing to consider that sometimes in discourse about serious subjects people uses farce, satire, and parody?

    I’m the one that asked whether AL was hot. Do you really think that I actually care what she/he looks like (I say she/he because we really don’t know who this person is)? It was farce.

    Why is it so unfathomable to you to consider that when AL wrote about her social life at conferences she was using satire as a way of encouraging people to think critically about the value of professional conferences and whether the culture of this profession needs some reform. Even if that wasn’t her intent, can you or will you at least consider that some of the commenters (like me, for example) did find in her satire motivation to think critically about serious issues like those?

    When I responded with a comment of something along the lines that we don’t care about her social life until we know whether or not she’s hot, it was farce (!)

    Do you really believe that the use of satire, parody and farce are mutually exclusive with thinking carefully about subjects that matter?

    Also, John, notice that when YOU quoted, with negative aspersions, my comment in your message to the editor of Library Journal I viewed neither that not your other comments here about the supposed puerile nature of those comments as “an attack” and did not come rhetorically frothing at the mouth at such an affront which, according to your standards, would be illegitmate but for your “courageous” rejection of anonymity.

    I respectfully suggest you settle down, *make your point* and don’t get bent out of shape just because some anonymous blogger and commenters criticizes you.

    Just keep doing your thing, making your point and don’t get your feelings hurt so easily.

  257. Mr. Kat says:

    All other fields have their anonymous bloggers these days – critics are abound.

    It will be in the fields with the largest legitamacy gaps where people get the most Irate about the attacks.

    When something isn’t true, you can easily dismiss the comedy. The satire is funny. The sarcasm is moot.

    But things are quite a bit more interesting when the satire starts resembling the true nature of the field…

    And as for elections….there were four class elections when I was in highschool. And there were another 6 elections on my college campus while I was there. There’s something interting to note; out of 400 people, My high school representation remained the same five people; In college, the people elected remained those with direct ties to a certian set of fraternities/sororities.

    It’s not that there wasn’t opposing voices running for election. The matter of the fact is that a small minority had so organized themselves that their little crowd would get them elected and re-elected every single time.

    Look at how many of our senators and government employees and even ALA officers are “reruns.” Think about it?

    This field will not be defended by the anonymous voice because at this point the anonymous voice is the crowd of dissention.

    It was the anonymous voice that drove the French revolution. Everyone with a name who represented the old way was sent to the guillutione.

  258. someone says:

    “It was the anonymous voice that drove the French revolution. Everyone with a name who represented the old way was sent to the guillutione.”

    That’s an overstatement and not a statement which historical evidence supports.

    On the other hand, it’s clear anonymous and pseudonymous literature – a good portion of a satirical – underpinned much of the ideas and ideology that led to the French Revolution. Robert Darnton wrote about that.

  259. feral librarian says:

    I can’t help it; I’m sorry I just can’t understand yet why anonymity/pseudonymity is so bad. Moral cowards? Why so much righteousness? Why do the words have to be connected to a name? I would have liked Huckleberry Finn no matter who wrote it. (By the way, does anybody know why George Orwell used a pen name? Did he have to? Seriously-I’m curious-and it’s a lighthearted reference question) Didn’t S.E. Hinton’s first publisher decide on initials because they were worried a female author might sell less copies? Apparently having a name to go with a work does color people’s perception of it. It’s hard not to get the impression that the minute the AL and others had their identity revealed these noble heroes would use it to put their jobs in danger. I just can’t figure out why else they want to know so badly.

  260. someone says:

    John Buschman said:

    “Intellectual Freedom and Academic Freedom weren’t handed down from Mt. Sinai. They were made by people exercising and demanding those rights – and they couldn’t and would have been established anonymously.”

    Sorry, Mr. Buschman, but historical evidence doesn’t completely support what you say about the Intellectual Freedom in that part of your statement. In the Anglo-American tradition, at least, a number of gains in the realm of intellectual freedom came from the defense of anonymous and pseudonymous publications. Consider for example the General Warrants cases in 1765 over the pseudonymously published radical newspaper The North Briton. The outcome of that case served as the basis not just for many American ideas about freedom of the press, but ideas about legitimate and illegitimate search and seizure by government authorities. Yes, yes, I know when John Wilkes made and prevailed in his legal arguments he used his own name so maybe you will try to say he didn’t “establish” intellectual freedom pseudonymously – but nevertheless one of the most seminal precedents for intellectual freedom in the modern Western world lay in a person exercising his freedom without using his real name.

    I may be anonymous and Mr. Buschman may use his own name, but I’d rather make arguments supported by evidence anonymously than a specious ones under my own name. (And for that reason I appreciate feral librarian’s comment above).

    In any case, I’d think a “Progressive” would cheer rather than ignore the gains of an eighteenth-century English radical.

  261. someone says:

    Mr. Buschman said “Yes, anonymous attackers are moral cowards. No, that does not apply to anonymous posters who do not necessarily attack – they just don’t deserve to be taken seriously.”

    Then why do YOU continue to answer us, week after week, in the longest running discussion that’s been seen on the AL blog in quite while?

  262. a questioner of Buschman says:

    “Looks like y’all are kinda marginalized.”

    So, John, why are you so concerned about being “attacked” but people who are so “marginal”?

  263. Anonymously Bored says:

    “Then why do YOU continue to answer us, week after week, in the longest running discussion that’s been seen on the AL blog in quite while?” Because at the moment he hasn’t anything better to do; no irrelevant political resolutions to pass at ALA which are more suited to the UN than a group dealing with libraries in the USA. Meanwhile, we have a brown-nosing/boot-licking defense of ALA as it is, and a vain attempt to get everyone to drop their anonymity so they can either be outed or join a future blacklist. The comment about the point where satire hits close to reality is well taken, or should be. Heard the same about a now former president associated with several major disasters involving hurricanes, wars, an a financial mess. He will remain anonymous too.

  264. John Buschman says:

    Ahhh, more name-calling. That’s more like it. Why do I respond? Decent people shouldn’t be harrangued by anonymous cowards without a reply. That is my base issue. The discourse shouldn’t be driven by attack – or nano-”cool” “hip” “satire”. Libraries deserve to be taken seriously. Ipso, the discourse of its professionals deserve to be taken seriously, including by its own professionals. This isn’t about the 17th, 18th, 19th or even 20th century or their numerous examples. It is about using a technology reasonably and responsibly in our professional discourse, and not attacking while hiding behind facile analogies of anonymity in the bauxite mines that produced the tin used on the 3rd day of the battle of Gettysburg (really, the defenses have gone just about that far). And when I get a little snarky (y’all got bad jobs, quit whining & do something about it!) – it doesn’t go down any better than calling a good person a “moonbat”. Tough – its a bit your own (collective) medicine delivered back. Life, I’m told here, isn’t fair. Oh, and also why I do it: it is vastly amusing to read the squeals of anguish and trumped-up justifications when the sanctity of anonymity is questioned. As I read this, y’all hang on to anonymity because you’re a) afraid to own your own words, b) you’re afraid they won’t be supported by the profession (a *high school* election?? – we’re going back to high school here?), and c) no one has the courage to try & do anything about it. John Buschman

  265. Reckless says:

    Huh? This is just about the weirdest reply yet! I think curiosity about who the AL is and powerlessness over controlling the discourse is turning a certain commenter into a raging “moonbat.”

  266. someone says:

    If you think the Wilkes/General Warrants case isn’t relevant to the history of intellectual freedom in the English-speaking world, you’re ignorant.

    Wait…I can’t legitimately call you “ignorant” because I’m anonymous, right? Would that be an “attack”?

    OK…how about this….If you think the Wilkes/General Warrants case isn’t relevant to the history, development, and basis of intellectual freedom in the English-speaking world, you’re just plain WRONG.

    If I say you’re wrong about something is that an attack too?

    Mr. Buschman, no matter how carefully one reads your posts the same theme keeps emerging. In your mind our real crime, so to speak, seems to be not anonymity, not anonymous attacks, but disagreeing with you.

    Mr. Buschman, you said intellectual freedom rights couldn’t and wouldn’t have been established anonymously. I cited you a clear, important, substantive documented example of when in our cultural/intellectual tradition they WERE established through pseudonymity.

    That seemed to make you angry, unless of course I am misreading the tone of your reply.

    I suspect your real concern is less anonymity than that you don’t like being criticized.

    How exactly have you been “attacked” now?

    By the way, I have a very lucrative and intellectually challenging job, so you can’t accurately cast the no-job-sour- grapes aspersion on me.

  267. a person says:

    John Buschman says “Oh, and also why I do it: it is vastly amusing to read the squeals of anguish and trumped-up justifications when the sanctity of anonymity is questioned.”

    Your squeals seemed more anguished and your justifications seem more trumped-up than the other commenters.

    This discussion is entertaining.

    Thank you.

  268. a questioner of Mr. Buschman says:

    I noticed something else I wish respectfully to call to your attention, Mr. Buschman.

    I believe you contradict yourself.
    You say in one part of your message that you reject satire, parody, farce, etc. because “libaries deserve to be taken seriously. Ipso, the discourse of its professionals deserve to be taken seriously, including by its own professionals.”

    Yet you also admit that your own amusement at others’ “squeals” numbers among your motives to participate in the very discourse you say that should be taken seriously.

    Please explain how you can have it both ways….you don’t like commenters because you think they aren’t serious, yet you offer your own comments and read others for your own amusement.

    Or is your amusement “serious” and our not?

  269. John Buschman says:

    Again: 1. I wrote LJ (not AL) to point out two things: first that there really are good reasons to question a *library* professional publication giving a platform to someone who, prior to LJ, engaged in anonymous attack, and that anonymity as a defense for such practices doesn’t merit protection or promotion (struck some nerves there, no?); further, at roughly the same time, LJ was cutting Criticas – an important alternative reviewing source. I then appended the 2007 editorial written, not about AL, but about the mele that ensued on the Blatant LJ blog, and the disgusting attacks that were anonymously and semi-anonymously posted and defended. Those attacks followed up another prior mele with similar features on another the LIS blog. The name-callers were all prominent conservative librarians writing *as librarians*, and all anonymously and semi-anonymously. (Go back & read the editorial to get what that means). In other words, I questioned LJ’s priorities and choices. 3. *These* exchanges prove the point: “pinhead”, “moonbat”, “totalitarian”, “regressive”, “b@tch slap”, etc. – all (and more) posted anonymously, all, I’m told, not to be interpreted as uncivil, but mere parody. I was later asked a question about an employment situation – a legal situation. I am on the record in this case and the questioner and the puerile posts are not. Owning one’s words, especially in voicing disagreement – is not a technicality to be finessed by smarmy posts. LJ should not be elevating this blog. Y’all keep wanting to bait me, but it just isn’t going to work. John Buschman

  270. someone says:

    “In other words, I questioned LJ’s priorities and choices.”

    That’s reasonable, in my opinion. If you stuck to your original point that LJ should have devoted resources to Criticas before the AL blog, you’d be on much more legitimate ground, I think.

    [excerpted] “….’pinhead’, ‘moonbat’, ‘totalitarian’, ‘regressive’, ‘b@tch slap’, etc. – all (and more) posted anonymously, all, I’m told, not to be interpreted as uncivil, but mere parody.”

    Yes, they’re parody and satire. If you think a reasonable person would consider them not satircal and to be taken literally, they’d be legally actionable threats…you could make a criminal complaint about the “b@tch slap” and seek civil damages for the other “attacks” as you call them.

    If you really think the rest of the world regards those elements of this dicourse as you do – serious, substantive, and not examples of satirical discourse and parody – then take legal action. You could get a court to order LJ to provide information that will reveal various posters’ identities.

    In fact, if you really sincerely believe the whole “b*tch slap” thing was meant literally, then you SHOULD in my opinion make a criminal complaint about being threatened by violence.

    But…do you *really* think the rest of the world is going to intepret all these things as you do, i.e. literal and not satircal?

    As for baiting you, I don’t want to but if I did, it doesn’t appear that I or any other commenters here would need to. You have been one of the most prominent participants in the very discussion you dismiss as unworthy.

    I contend that you collude, whether unknowningly or through some sense of irony, with LJ in elevating this blog.

  271. SinceThe70s says:

    Thank you AL! It’s been like this at least since the 70s and there’s been no relief from it or counter-organization to it that supports those with a different (i.e. conservative) world-view in the practice of librarianship,the development of leadership, or from which to impact professional philosophy. We’ve been made outsiders and objects of scorn, particularly at library conferences that invariably host guest speakers who freely verbalize nothing but contempt for anything conservative or religious or (gasp!) Republican to the overwhelming applause of my fellow librarians. Maybe those of us who have been in silent &

  272. John Buschman says:

    Again: be subjected to that as a person, and not a fake “handle” (none of us was a part of the IT blog in the first place) and then tell me it should all be blown off. Until then, you hide and defend attack. John Buschman

  273. truly madly anonymous says:

    Few questions for John Buschman: You listed your rebuttal from 1-3, but what was 2.?

    If they’re anonymous, how do we know that they are prominent and conservative?

    What does semi-anonymous mean?

    The increasingly disjointed quality of your writing suggests a rising level of agitation. I recommend a time-out; maybe a little nap.

  274. Another.Anonymous.COmmenter says:

    Oh.
    My.
    You’re all still talking about this? Really?
    OK, I’ll add one more comment of my own, then, as I do find this to be interesting reading [in much the same way that watching a car crash is interesting].
    So, comment begins: Mr. Buschman, is it really possible that you don’t realize that everyone here – everyone – is laughing at you?
    Have a Happy Day!
    AAC

  275. John Buschman says:

    To the above: don’t care – discussion now civil, name-calling nearly at an end, silly satire at my expense pretty harmless, points hammered over & over (& over). John Buschman

  276. Vegans On Fire says:

    I prayed on this issue last night and had a vision in a dream telling me that posting anonymously on this blog is perfectly fine with Him and thus fine with me. So mete it be, sayeth He.

    –Acts of Vegans 1:2-3

  277. a questioner of Mr. Buschman says:

    “silly satire at my expense pretty harmless”

    It’s good of you to realize and acknowledge that Mr. Buschman…seriously (that is, of course, if you are actually seriously acknowledging it…on the other hand if you are being sarcastic yourself, well, then good for you too for using some sarcasm, satire, etc. yourself!)

  278. AL says:

    My goodness, John, are you still commenting on this? You didn’t “just write” LJ. Your comrade the Humorless Unionator posted the correspondence on one of her many dull blogs and forwarded it all to listservs. You wanted a public battle. You got a public battle. Are you really naive enough to believe that anyone besides you and your totalitarian comrades think this is about “anonymity”? Are you clueless enough to ignore that all the sane people amongst us see through your charade? Please, don’t answer this. Just continue posting your ridiculous comments. The best way to deal with a blowhard is to let him blow hard.

  279. sidney says:

    “Ditto law: the rule of law in our country would somehow have nothing to do with negating that in, say, Abu Gharib?” You’re bringing up Abu Gharib in the context of a library blog you don’t like? Are you drunk or insane?

  280. Detached Amusement says:

    I think this thread took some of the steam out of others posted since. The reaction to Buschman’s comments, not to mention the comments he made, speak volumes. Now I wonder when ALA plan’s to apply for UN membership and who might sponsor it……:-/

  281. a questioner of Buschman says:

    And notice that AL *DID* let John Buschman have his say. She didn’t delete his comments.

    Several dozen (or hundred?) comments up Buschman made an analogy between people who disagreed with him anonymously and the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan, however, suppressed dissent, while AL didn’t. (We commenters didn’t either, but considering that we don’t control the blog, only contribute comments to it, we couldn’t have suppressed dissent if we wanted to.) So the analogy was a spurious one.

    I posited, though, that none of the criticism – sarcastic, satirical, farcical or hyperbole-laden though it may be – actually caused Buschman any material harm. His last comment indicates that he now agrees, and for that I am glad.

  282. dennis in nj says:

    phooey, i thought this was going to be an anti-twopointopian rant!

  283. someone says:

    Nah…while AL gets good mileage in the long term out of the twopointopians, the whole Buschman et. al. thing (apparently) provided the most-commented on AL post in a while (thanks in part to John Buschman himself).

  284. Annoyed With Sidney says:

    Sidney, you’re abusive and smug. And to the AL: KEEP BLOGGING YOU’RE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!

  285. Annoyed With Sidney says:

    That should have been: Keep Blogging! You’re a breath of Fresh air!

  286. John Buschman says:

    “Are you really naive enough to believe that anyone besides you and your totalitarian comrades think this is about ‘anonymity’? Are you clueless enough to ignore that all the sane people amongst us see through your charade? Please, don’t answer this.”

    Sorry AL, I’m afraid I can’t let pass this allusion to my perceived credulousness and mental state without answer.

    Yes and yes.

  287. P.B.I. Librarian says:

    I’ll only be posting once since the PLG twits, obama-heads, and assorted other left-wing moonbats like posting under others’ nicks. In fact, the only reason I even saw this is because I’m MARRIED to someone who is still a librarian, and she’s an AL fan.

    I haven’t posted to my old blog in three years. Why? I left this miserable, irrelevant cesspool of a community for a real job with Big Pharma. BTW, that’s not an insulting term, Red Rosy. I LIKE doing meaningful work, helping people, and making a bucket of money at the same time.

    I make more money in a year than my former director and the socialist head librarian combined, and I haven’t had to A) see a loony patron’s genitalia, B) encounter vomit/feces/semen in my daily work or C) have to deal with any Volvo-driving, Birkenstock-wearing (with nasty, gnarled toes exposed, usually) hippie librarians, and I have a full-service coffee bar in my building less than 100 yards from my office.

    I see that all the same pinko, patchouli-smelling dirtballs are right where I left them. Funny – the PLG thinks the outside world cares what they think about anything…and they’re so wrong it’d be laughable if it were even worth the oxygen TO laugh at them.

    To Berry, Red Rosy, and all your little friends: “No, You Can’t!” Your ideology is failing miserably and publicly, and the cool thing is that once your Kenyan is finished no Democrat will be electable for another fifty years…and you can sink even deeper into the morass of obscurity than you are right now.

    Ha Ha… The really cool thing is, when you’re living on catfood and morphine because the communist healthcare system you screamed for won’t pay for your treatment for your weed-induced lung cancer, I’ll be retired on a beach in Costa Rica with access to the best private doctors money can buy. You’ll reap what you’ve sown, and so will I.

    Have a nice life! I know I am.

    -PBI (former) Librarian sends

  288. G A Dickson says:

    Old saying: If you don’t have any enemies, you are not making a difference.

    AL speaks for me.

  289. PBI kinda right.... says:

    “weed-induced lung cancer”. Actually, an extensive 2006 study from UCLA (paid for by the feds) found that weed smokers have a slighty lower cancer rate than the general population. “liberal media” seemed to miss that one.

  290. Like Wow Man says:

    “”weed-induced lung cancer”. Actually, an extensive 2006 study from UCLA (paid for by the feds) found that weed smokers have a slighty lower cancer rate than the general population. “liberal media” seemed to miss that one.”

    They were too stoned at the time the report came out.

  291. Picard says:

    Whatever. Birkenstock makes a fine sandal.

  292. huh says:

    “Whatever. Birkenstock makes a fine sandal.”

    The finest sandal made by slave labor in China.

  293. Bill says:

    “I don’t think children should be exposed to pornography at their public library”

    That’s a silly way to phrase it. Children aren’t often ‘exposed’ to pornography, but they do ‘seek it out’ and, often, ‘enjoy it quite a bit’ as an ‘exciting part’ of their ‘maturation.’ It’s also completely normal and not scary at all. It’s just kids watching videos of things that are new to them.

    Sex is a really huge part of the primate brain. I’m sorry if that embarrasses you.