Friday, May 27, 2005

BLOG: By Love Of Good

I’m a little late to the party, but Blaise Cronin, SLIS Dean and Rudy Professor of Information Science at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science is so arrogant and contemptuous that I had to comment. He denies the validity of people’s opinions, and their right to express themselves in blogs saying that the majority is banal and uncouth, but what right has been bestowed upon him to make this blanket judgment?

The fact that he condemns all blogs in the title of his editorial is the first slap:
BLOG: see also Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish

Okay so I had to look up bathetically.
Main Entry:
Pronunciation: b - the-tik
Function: adjective
Etymology: bathos + -etic (as in pathetic)
Date: 1845
: characterized by bathos
- ba•thet•i•cal•ly \-ti-k( -)l \ adverb
Main Entry: ba•thos
Pronunciation: ba - thäs
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek, literally, depth
Date: 1727
1 a : the sudden appearance of the commonplace in otherwise elevated matter or style b : ANTICLIMAX
2 : exceptional commonplaceness : TRITENESS
3 : insincere or overdone pathos : SENTIMENTALISM
--Merriam Webster Dictionary

Once I knew how I was being insulted, it was easier to get outraged. His whole stance on blogs, especially personal blogs as being narcissistic and trite really irked me. His elitism is so pronounced and acerbic that I wonder how he can even function in everyday society. Does the sight of a strip mall make him start foaming at the mouth? If he’s the type of professor that populates Indiana University then I wouldn’t want to go there. And please notice that I’m not saying it is.

I had to guffaw when I came across this phrase--“crassly egotistical”. It’s so nice that he supplied the words to describe how I think of him. And hold on just a sec there, dude, “Librarians, of course, know better.” What do you think you mean by that? I do know better but what I know is probably not what you want me to know.

The fact that I have a blog should say enough on the subject without going all meta on you and telling you why I like blogs in my blog, but I just had to comment on this guy because arrogance can be highly entertaining.

Oh and the response is even more fun than the original pieece. Find it here.
The fact that he responds to the bad press of his editorial in such snarky and pretentious language really just amazes me. He uses ten dollar words like he’s actually getting ten dollars for each one he writes.

“I write this critique of personal blogging as dean of a school where academic freedom and freedom of speech are constitutive of what we are and what we do. And I do so at the express encouragement of a number of local colleagues who have been dismayed by the manifest intolerance of sections of the blogosphere when confronted with views antipathetic to their own.”

Oh, the hypocrisy! They promote free speech, he says, but only if they like it, he means, and the reason bloggers took offense was because you called us bathetic. I wonder how many of his colleagues had choice words for him when he made himself their mouth piece.

I find it funny that he thinks ‘Hapless souls’ was the most offensive phrase he used, but he doesn’t address any of the more virulent language he employed such as in this question, “Why do they choose to expose their unremarkable opinions, sententious drivel and unedifying private lives to the potential gaze of total strangers?” Whoa man, maybe I’m writing this entry for my family who live in another time zone to read. Would you deny my family the right to know what’s going on with me?

I was going to go through a lot of different examples of how to answer the above quoted question, but the fact that Cronin gives absolutely no examples of what he’s talking about, no references, nor context to his words makes arguing him a pointless endeavor. Even when he ‘responds’ to the bloggers who bashed him in the follow up essay, he does not offer any links or reference to what he refers to.

I just have to shake my head at the whole thing. Yes, there are some blogs out there that I don’t like, but I’m not going to say, “They are sententious and unremarkable” no matter how much I dislike them because you cannot label something like that. Definitive statements that result from personal aesthetics will always be wrong, but an opinion expressed by a personal aesthetic isn’t wrong. If you get what I’m saying, then I’m probably preaching to the choir, if you don’t, leave a comment, and we’ll see what happens.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Hazardous Occupation

There's nothing as innocuous as shelving books, until the book cart you're using decides to attack you. I was pulling the cart when it decided to tip over. I reached out to catch it, and my left thumb jammed against a large skinny book. The silence of the quiet floor was broken by words that are typically only written in symbols and punctuation marks.

Mother of God, it hurt. I nursed my thumb and finished shelving. I tried to go about my day as normal, but the thumb continued to hurt, and it began swelling. I asked my boss about making a workmen's comp claim. He gave me the necessary numbers to call and who to see. Luckily, one of the doctors I could go see was my usual doctor. I made an appointment and went there later in the day. I was worried. Hand injuries can be tricky, and my thumb was giving me some unlovely sensations. The doc checked the joints, and told me I would have one hell of a bruise, but it would be okay. Phew.

To help me out, he gave me a bunch of samples of Celebrex. I've never taken a medication that had it's own commercial before. I decided to look up Celebrex tonight b/c I obviously didn't know anything about it. When the doc handed me the packets, I quirked an eyebrow and said, "Isn't this for allergies?" Because it seems like every medication on television is either for allergies or male impotence and well, I'm not male, and I'd hope my doctor knew that. He laughed and told me that it's geared more for arthritis. Oh, so I'm taking old people medicine. I could feel the gray hairs sprouting.

What have I learned about Celebrex after ten minutes of research?

"Stop taking Celebrex and call your healthcare professional right away if you get a burning stomach pain, black bowel movements that look like tar, or vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds," From the FDA's patient sheet emphasis my own. Vomit like coffee grounds? That just freaks me out on so many levels.

If I survive the medication, I will never ever shelve books again. Well, if I don't survive, I guess the same holds true still. Either way, I'm not letting those book carts have another chance at me. They can go maul somebody else. This vampire only needs to be bitten once to learn her lesson.

Monday, May 16, 2005

What's that big, bright thing in the sky?

Well, exams are over. I did see two streakers before the end. (They were nothing to write home about.) We are now in intersession, and I'm taking some time off. When I go back, it will be on the day-side shift, but never fear, I am sure I will have more fun and wacky stories to relate to you. Why am I so sure? One word: co-workers.

Plus in July, I will be taking a studio art class to amuse myself. I'll be rubbing shoulders with students everyday, and bonus, they'll be art students. Hijinks will ensue. Trust me.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

So I get this phone call around 3AM the other night...

Vampire Librarian: Hello, Library X.

Caller: Hi, is it busy in the library?

VL: No, not too bad.

Caller: How about on the 1st floor?

(The 1st floor is the quiet floor and three floors below me.)

VL: I have no idea.

Caller: Well, I was thinking about streaking. Do you think it's a good time to do that?

VL: The library's pretty empty, and people are leaving steadily. The ones who are still here won't appreciate the disruption.

Caller: Gotcha. Maybe I'll come by some other night.

VL: Sounds good. If you want maximum exposure, around midnight is best.

Caller: Thanks. Bye.

VL: Thank you for calling the library.


Friday, May 06, 2005


It's that time of year again when eyes start twitching, hygiene is forgotten, streaking becomes a form of stress relief, and sleep becomes a mythical creature. Yes, exams are upon us once again. To assist you, your helpful vampire librarian has dug up these "study aids" because you know simply doing the assignment or studying for the test is crazy talk.

1. Professors ARE sadistic. Time to get back at them.

2. For when you're put on the spot and can't think fast enough.

3. Medication.

4. Spells, spells, spells!

5. Or you could just rely on good old luck.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Confession Time

You know I actually do like helping students. I know I give them a lot of grief and poke fun at them, but when they have a real problem or question, I do honestly try to help them, and when I'm able to give them the information they need, I feel good or conversely feel bad when I'm unable to assist them.

Granted at 3am, a student doesn't have many research options immediately available to him. My library only has a slim collection while all of the bigger research libraries don't open till 8am. The databases are available, but often there's only a citation for the article they need. The limitations can be frustrating.

More often than not though, I am not approached with a research question but a computer question. Printing, saving, accessing problems arise frequently, and I am the desperate student's only IT hope.

I have gotten the dubious honor of being known as something of a computer expert. I am wary of the title because I have had no formal training. My success usually can be attributed to dumb luck, pedantry, or rote action. I don't know why a .pdf won't print beyond the first page in a particular program, but if you save it and open it again, the whole document will now print. I don't know why a document you emailed to yourself appears as gibberish when you open it. I can maybe help you clean it up, but the gibberish is gibberish to me too. That is odd that the computer won't recognize your memory stick. Let me try it. Oh, the memory stick is a little too wide to plug in completely to the front USB port. We'll have to plug it into the back. There now it appears to be working. And if all else fails, why don't we restart the computer or move to another one to see if the problem will just miraculously go away.

Yes, miracles do happen, and when the student turns to me with a relieved smile to thank me, attributing the miracle to me, I get a queasy feeling in my stomach like the computer goddess will smite me for falsely taking praise that is due to her.