Thursday, November 16, 2006

fetishizing librarians

okay, so maybe it's because i kind of fell into pursuing this profession as a default thing (ie. i was sick and tired of getting varicose veins and making 10 rubles a day working as a professional cook...and i couldn't stomach jumping through the hoops of academia to get my phd)...but now that i'm in library school, i'm finding the fetishizing of the iconography of the "librarian" to be a very odd and unsettling phenomena. it's like this thing that's been taken up by magazines like "bitch" and "bust" and there's action figures, and there's a certain checklist of "must-haves" in order for one to qualify (ie. you must love party girl, you must be of a certain age group and class and apparel) in this weird subsect of women. it's like an offshoot of the whole 50s revival, d.i.y./olympia, recuperation of knitting, indie rock zeitgeist thing.

which i guess individually, are all things i kinda like and have no beef with (except for indie rock...and knitting is too slow for me...but i really do love mid-century modern furniture and design)'s just the way that they're being taken up that's giving me the heebie jeebies. there's definitely some class/race/privilege issues there, and it's also a terribly convenient image for one aspect of popular feminism to rally around. i mean, no one's making migrant farm worker action figures, or midwife action figures, or federal prosecutor action figures. there's also a lot of issues surrounding library outreach and library relevance that i find questionable. anyway, the point is...i find it kind of icky...the same way i find most cliched things kind of icky...the same way i dislike it when i can look at someone and pretty much figure out their's the same reason why i despise myspace. it reduces people to lists of interests, and presumes a connectivity...that you are what you consume.

the high point of my library experience yesterday was being able to go up to a group of teenagers using the computers and say: "i don't know WHO is listening to rick ross, but you gotta turn the volume down, or get headphones"
the low point was the response: "i'm already turning it down, girlfriend" !!!!! which was kind of funny, but still.

tonight for dinner is sushi kaji!!! we got seats right at the sushi bar...i'm definitely going to be taking pictures of each course...chef kaji grates fresh wasabi and makes his own soy. BOOYASHAKA *gunshots* *lickshots* *airhorn*

last night i also made this dessert consisting of caramelized apples and walnuts, on top of (but baked on the bottom and subsequently inverted onto) a cornmeal cake thing. it was only lightly sweet, which was very nice. we had it with ice cream and battlestar...i think we've hit the slow part of battlestar...three epsisodes in a row last night where very little plot development happened...lots of love stuff and extraneous side stories.



guess said...

i agree with most of what you say but i think that the idea of librarian as super hero is appealing and can have connotations that break down race/class/gender issues around access to information and fancy expensive education. also i think you are disregarding the oppositional role librarians have often taken, for instance their work in the states around publically fighting the patriot act. This is an interesting discouse i would love to continue.

mercedes g. lee, esquire said...

is this the coach?

to me, it's preaching to the converted. the people (mostly women, mostly white women, mostly middle class women) who are taking up and are (i would argue) the audience for this particular iteration of "librarian" are themselves the products of privileged access to education and fancy expensive need a master's degree for crissakes!!!

i also question whether the re-appropriation of the image is in and of itself transgressive (dubious...i'm kind of referencing baudrillard's simulacrum) or whether it's just another facet of late capitalist hegemonic (forgive me the use of that term) rubric.

i don't think i'm disregarding the oppositional role that librarians have taken...i'm wondering why LIBRARIANS are being privileged over other oppositional (and more highly marginalized, if less easily recuperable) figures.

mercedes g. lee, esquire said...

p.s. please don't take my comments to be antagonistic or that i'm not listening to what you have to say. i'm also interested in continuing this conversation.

sg said...

disagreement is necessary and hopefully will not ever be taken as atagonistic. I started to write a response but I am too stupid right now, this conversation requires liquids like tea, water or juice

mercedes g. lee, esquire said...

if you say you're stupid one more time, i'm going to lecture YOU.

the reason i like having you around is that you keep me on my toes !