Calendrier de l’Avent 09
Happy Birthday Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton VI
4 October 1895 - 1 February 1966
“My God, we ate, slept and dreamed our pictures.”
Buster Keaton remains one of the most influential filmmakers of the silent era. His innovative use of physical comedy caused him to push boundaries and reinvent how films were made. Even to this day his films continue to delight at his extremely impressive stunt work, and his character, who despite never cracking a smile, endears himself to you through every tumble. He never thought of himself as a genius but he was.
"The medium was still in its infancy; comics were pioneering the craft of making people laugh at moving images. Keaton, it turns out, knew it all — intuitively." - Richard Corliss, TIME
[I]t’s impossible to see a world where we keep libraries open simply to pretend they still serve a purpose for which they no longer serve."
Well, white dude with I’m guessing considerable stock in Google, is the library just there for your needs or purposes?
Maybe you enjoyed your exercise in wordplay and making points already made. But what was your point again? Books make libraries so without books libraries aren’t libraries? Books look different so libraries can’t be libraries? Libraries look different so libraries can’t be libraries? You don’t need libraries for books so we don’t need libraries? I’m sorry, what?
Oh but wait, we’re pretending? Pretending what? Pretending there’s an access divide? Pretending there’s a digital divide? Pretending information illiteracy? Pretending folks lack job skills? Pretending college students need help with citation (BAHA HAHAHAHAHHA)? Did I get a Masters in Pretending? I MEAN I DO HAVE A GREAT IMAGINATION SO I PROBS GOT STRAIGHT A’S. OR P’S FOR PRETENDING. I’m sorry, what?
Also read this from BeerBrarian - The End of “The End of Libraries”
On Sunday, October 14th, yet another “End of Libraries” piece appeared. Per usual, it was written by a white male with no use for libraries, because every single time this trope appears, that’s part of the author’s demographic background. Beyond that, it’s a crucial part of the author’s background. It is overwhelmingly affluent white men who argue that because they do not use something, it has no value for anyone. Libraries. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Affordable health care. It’s the same argument.
"The internet has replaced the importance of libraries as a repository for knowledge." Ah, yes, because you can trust everything you read on the internet.
Republicans play this game all the time. “I don’t need it, therefore it’s not important and we should get rid of it.” I can vividly remember the last time I was in a library. It was three weeks ago. I needed to do research and the material I needed was not online. Not every book is completely indexed in Google Books. And yes, an ebook is cheaper and faster than buying a physical copy of a book - but it’s harder to skim through an ebook quickly, and the physical copy at the library costs you nothing (up front; tax dollars etc etc).
Like I said, I was at the library three weeks ago. It was around 4 pm on a Tuesday. And you know what? It was CROWDED. There was a packed sign-up sheet for the computers. Kids and parents abounded in the children’s section. Older people and teenagers read at the tables in the main area. I had to wait in line to check out my book.
Before that, I had spent a lot of quality time on my library’s website. I like to read both physical books and ebooks. My library does Kindle loans. OK, their website is a crappy government website, and it can be a little difficult to navigate, but it’s doable. I read books I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t pay full price for, AKA a big part of the purpose of a library.
Libraries are not useless in the digital age, and even more importantly, they aren’t all empty. Just because YOU, PERSONALLY do not need or use something doesn’t make it a charming but impractical relic of a long-forgotten age.
I work in a library. Here are some of the reasons people come to the library:
They want directions.
They want to collect food/garden/dog waste bags, all handed out free at libraries.
They want to print/photocopy/scan.
They want to access the internet, either on our computers or on their own, via the free wi-fi.
Often this is because they have to apply for benefits, housing or jobs through the official system which is only available online. If they haven’t internet at home, the library offers free internet access. Where else does that? Sometimes they aren’t computer literate, so they appreciate an environment where they can ask for help.
Maybe they’ll attend one of our free IT classes, ranging from the absolute basics to subjects such as Facebook, Office software, job hunting and how to use the Council’s Homesearch website. If they want something specific, such as how to use their own laptop or how to shop online, we can set up a one-to-one appointment, also for free.
Our study spaces are very popular. Often they are all taken by ten past nine, after we open at nine. The number of people who have asked me how much it costs and looked surprised when I explained that using the library space is free and doesn’t require you to be a member surprises me.
They want to read the newspapers or magazines the library buys (recently expanded with the launch of an emagazine service—I get to read SFX for free now, which is cool).
They’re researching their family tree and want to take advantage of the library’s subscription to Ancestry.
They want to consult the planning documents for a local development or the register of local voters.
They want to participate in a council consultation.
They may have come to seek advice from an agency that operates a drop-in session at the library, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or the police.
They may be attending an event, either run by the library (an author talk, a book group, baby Rhymetime) or by an outside company who have rented the meeting rooms (theatre productions, ESOL classes, yoga). The library itself has regular events for babies, children, teenagers, adults, adults with mental health difficulties, adults learning English…
We have regular class visits from the local schools. We read them a story and they all choose a book. Sometimes we go to them. It was actually really lovely to see how many children came into the library, talking excitedly about the Summer Reading Challenge we came and told them in Assembly.
Children still look for books when they’re doing their homework, you know. Children who weren’t born at the time of the Millennium and have grown up with the internet.
People actually still read books. Over thirty thousand items were issued in my library last month, and while we certainly have DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs, Talking Books, Language Courses, all those added together can’t be more than a couple of thousand.
Free books. I’m sorry, I am never over how wondrous that is. Thousands of books, free to borrow and read. (And for those incapable of making the journey to the library, we have a Housebound service.)
For all these reasons, we are really busy. Dozens of people join every day. Hundreds of people walk through the doors every day. Of course, there are people who don’t make use of libraries, who don’t need them. But really, someone who can’t remember the last time they went to the library can have no idea of the role they play.
Libraries are not irrelevant. Libraries are not cultural artifacts. Libraries are living and changing, a resource and a social space, free at the point of access, engaging the community, offering a wide range of services, accessible to all. And what other institution can you say that about? Libraries are important.
People go to the library for books. People go to the library for e-books. People go to the library for technology. People go to the library for human contact. People go to the library for educational and free programming for their children. People go to the library for fun. So learn your shit before opening your mouth. Maybe a librarian can point you in the way of the basics. (via inautumn-inkashmir)
Libraries for me mean a free climate controlled space, knitting patterns, and recipes. Also mine rents out DVDs and has a good sized selection of graphic novels, which really helps us keep our entertainment budget manageable. I only wish I lived within walking distance of mine, the library may be free but the bus sure isn’t.
Yeeeep. Libraries are still needed. I’m fortunate to live within walking distance of mine. I utilize it weekly. Last time I was there was Friday. I’d go there more often if the librarians weren’t horrible people. As it is, I do use the hold service on books I want and they travel from the one in Roseburg to my local one and I pick up the books and am gone. I think the library is the one place I go to the most out of everywhere.
And like, what about the fucking reference section? A library is basically the ONLY place you will find some of those books, unless you’re asble to afford to shell out 1000 dollars for a text. And a lot of information is ONLY in those books, or ONLY in books that exist only in physcal format, and are expensive/out of print. But there’s no way anybody could possibly want that information. RIght?
Like, the Dewey Decimal system books are still in copyright, so you only get the base information for it online, and thew books themselves are expensive as FUCK. The library was the only place I could ever find them.
giddygirlgumption and I took our kids to the library literally 3 hours ago. And it was the second time we’d been in three days. My daughters have been going to this library since they were 9 months old and newborn respectively. They attended storytime, they’ve poured through the children’s section. In fact, there’s a little teddy bear that stands about 2 1/2 feet tall that is post upright with welcoming arms when you get to the children’s floor (the entire basement). My daughters have been attending this library since they were shorter than this bear and they now tower over it. In fact, the older girl volunteered there this summer.
We’ve checked out music, dvds, books galore, done research and they’ve both learned the Scratch programming language in classes there. The library is part of our life, part of our normal. And we’re not alone when we go there.
Even if you think you can replace every single function of a library with something else, you shouldn’t. Why? Because a library is a place you can go, as an individual human being, and interact with other individual human beings, without feeling pressured to buy one single thing or spend one single cent (unless you have an overdue fine. Then you should really pay your fine). We have a rapidly dwindling number of those around.
Summer commission piece - finally finished!
This was one of the most enjoyable and time consuming commissions I’ve ever had the pleasure to do. Everything was hand drawn and painted onto a white Jansport backpack with sharpie and acrylic paint.
Calendrier de l’Avent 08
Vito Russo’s “Why We Fight” Speech, delivered at an ACT UP rally in May 1988.
A friend of mine in New York City has a half-fare transit card, which means that you get on buses and subways for half price. And the other day, when he showed his card to the token attendant, the attendant asked what his disability was, and he said, “I have AIDS.” And the attendant said, “No, you don’t. If you had AIDS, you’d be home dying.” And so, I wanted to speak out today as a person with AIDS who is not dying.
You know, for the last three years, since I was diagnosed, my family thinks two things about my situation: 1) they think I’m going to die, and 2) they think that my government is doing absolutely everything in their power to stop that. And they’re wrong, on both counts.
So, if I’m dying from anything, I’m dying from homophobia. If I’m dying from anything, I’m dying from racism. If I’m dying from anything, it’s from indifference and red tape, because these are the things that are preventing an end to this crisis. If I’m dying from anything, I’m dying from Jesse Helms. If I’m dying from anything, I’m dying from the president of the United States. And, especially, if I’m dying from anything, I’m dying from the sensationalism of newspapers and magazines and television shows, which are interested in me, as a human-interest story, only as long as I’m willing to be a helpless victim, but not if I’m fighting for my life. If I’m dying from anything, I’m dying from the fact that not enough rich, white, heterosexual men have gotten AIDS for anybody to give a shit.
You know, living with AIDS in this country is like living in the twilight zone. Living with AIDS is like living through a war, which is happening only for those people who happen to be in the trenches. Every time a shell explodes, you look around and you discover that you’ve lost more of your friends, but nobody else notices. It isn’t happening to them. They’re walking the streets as though we weren’t living through some sort of nightmare. And only you can hear the screams of the people who are dying and their cries for help. No one else seems to be noticing.
And it’s worse than a war, because during a war people are united in a shared experience. This war has not united us; it’s divided us. It’s separated those of us with AIDS and those of us who fight for people with AIDS from the rest of the population. Two and a half years ago I picked up Life magazine, and I read an editorial which said, “It’s time to pay attention, because this disease is now beginning to strike the rest of us.” It was as if I wasn’t the one holding the magazine in my hand. And since then, nothing has changed to alter the perception that AIDS is not happening to the real people in this country. It’s not happening to “us” in the United States; it’s happening to “them,” to the disposable populations of fags and junkies who deserve what they get. The media tells them that they don’t have to care, because the people who really matter are not in danger. Twice, three times, four times, The New York Times has published editorials saying, Don’t panic yet over AIDS. It still hasn’t entered the general population, and until it does, we don’t have to give a shit.
And the days, and the months, and the years pass by, and they don’t spend those days and nights and months and years trying to figure out how to get hold of the latest experimental drug, and which dose to take it at, and in what combination with other drugs, and from what source, and how are you going to pay for it, and where are you going to get it, because it isn’t happening to them, so they don’t give a shit. And they don’t sit in television studios, surrounded by technicians who are wearing rubber gloves, who won’t put a microphone on you, because it isn’t happening to them, so they don’t give a shit. And they don’t have their houses burned down by bigots and morons. They watch it on the news and they have dinner and they go to bed, because it isn’t happening to them, and they don’t give a shit. And they don’t spend their waking hours going from hospital room to hospital room, and watching the people that they love die slowly of neglect and bigotry, because it isn’t happening to them, and they don’t have to give a shit. They haven’t been to two funerals a week for the last three or four or five years, so they don’t give a shit, because it’s not happening to them.
And we read on the front page of The New York Times last Saturday that Anthony Fauci now says that all sorts of promising drugs for treatment haven’t even been tested in the last two years because he can’t afford to hire the people to test them. We’re supposed to be grateful that this story has appeared in the newspaper after two years. Nobody wonders why some reporter didn’t dig up that story and print it 18 months ago, before Fauci got dragged before a congressional hearing. How many people are dead in the last two years who might be alive today if those drugs had been tested more quickly? Reporters all over the country are busy printing government press releases. They don’t give a shit; it isn’t happening to them, meaning that it isn’t happening to people like them: the real people, the world-famous general public we all keep hearing about. Legionnaires’ disease was happening to them because it hit people who looked like them, who sounded like them, who were the same color as them. And that fucking story about a couple of dozen people hit the front page of every newspaper and magazine in this country, and it stayed there until that mystery got solved.
All I read in the newspapers tells me that the mainstream, white, heterosexual population is not at risk for this disease. All the newspapers I read tell me that IV-drug users and homosexuals still account for the overwhelming majority of cases and a majority of those people at risk. And can somebody please tell me why every single penny allocated for education and prevention gets spent on ad campaigns that are directed almost exclusively to white, heterosexual teenagers, who they keep telling us are not at risk? Can somebody tell me why the only television movie ever produced by a major network in this country about the impact of this disease is not about the impact of this disease on the man who has AIDS but of the impact of AIDS on his white, straight, nuclear family? Why, for eight years, every newspaper and magazine in this country has done cover stories on AIDS only when the threat of heterosexual transmission is raised? Why, for eight years, every single educational film designed for use in high schools has eliminated any gay-positive material before being approved by the Board of Education? Why, for eight years, every single public-information pamphlet and videotape distributed by establishment sources has ignored specific homosexual content?
Why is every bus and subway ad I read and every advertisement and every billboard I see in this country specifically not directed at gay men? Don’t believe the lie that the gay community has done its job and done it well and educated its people. The gay community and IV-drug users are not all politicized people living in New York and San Francisco. Members of minority populations, including so-called sophisticated gay men, are abysmally ignorant about AIDS. If it is true that gay men and IV-drug users are the populations at risk for this disease, then we have a right to demand that education and prevention be targeted specifically to these people. And it is not happening. We are being allowed to die, while low-risk populations are being panicked — not educated, panicked — into believing that we deserve to die.
Why are we here together today? We’re here because it is happening to us, and we do give a shit. And if there were more of us and less of them, AIDS wouldn’t be what it is at this moment in history. It’s more than just a disease, which ignorant people have turned into an excuse to exercise the bigotry they have always felt. It is more than a horror story, exploited by the tabloids. AIDS is really a test of us as a people. When future generations ask what we did in this crisis, we’re going to have to tell them that we were out here today. And we have to leave the legacy to those generations of people who will come after us.
Someday, the AIDS crisis will be over. Remember that. And when that day comes, when that day has come and gone, there’ll be people alive on this Earth, gay people and straight people, men and women, black and white, who will hear the story that once there was a terrible disease in this country and all over the world, and that a brave group of people stood up and fought and, in some cases, gave their lives, so that other people might live and be free. So I’m proud to be with my friends today and the people I love, because I think you’re all heroes, and I’m glad to be part of this fight. But, to borrow a phrase from Michael Callen’s song, “all we have is love right now. What we don’t have is time.”
In a lot of ways, AIDS activists are like those doctors out there: They’re so busy putting out fires and taking care of people on respirators that they don’t have the time to take care of all the sick people. We’re so busy putting out fires right now that we don’t have the time to talk to each other and strategize and plan for the next wave, and the next day, and next month, and the next week, and the next year. And we’re going to have to find the time to do that in the next few months. And we have to commit ourselves to doing that. And then, after we kick the shit out of this disease, we’re all going to be alive to kick the shit out of this system, so that this never happens again.