Wednesday, October 01, 2008

an elegy for rigor

remember when people used to do PROPER RESEARCH?!? and remember when people actually were INTELLIGENT with sophisticated VOCABULARIES and CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS and knew that in order to understand something, you generally required CONTEXT?!? i lament those days.

i am NOT a luddite. i love technology. i love the ability to download free episodes of gossip girl on rapidshare super-quick and watch them on my flatscreen monitor. i have a blog roll that's fairly epic (though skewed to craft/design/entertainment) and know how to set up rss feeds with my eyes closed. i know what twitter is, i've assessed it and find it stupid. i like facebook NOT for networking, but because it panders to my voyeuristic tendencies. i'm a dogged blogger and i'm fairly up to date on large-scale trends.

i feel like in the librarian community, we're so desperately afraid of being rendered obsolete that we're willing to throw our lot in with any new "web 2.0" doodad that crosses our path, just to show how "with it" we are and how "reactive" to the needs of our clients.

not to burst anyone's bubble...but i have yet to come across a research question in my 10 months of working professionally that could have been answered with a blog...ANY blog. however, the issue gets dichotomized and polarized, to the point where i don't feel like we can really voice our (valid) criticisms of relying on this technology without being accused of having some kind of retrograde attachment to paper and ink...of not being in tune with the "24/7" needs of the "crackberry" community. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?

i like to fancy myself that i'm pretty hip. granted, i'm not on second life, but equally granted, second life is for losers (this is understood). the information profession is basically full of people who think that you "should" be on second life or are frantically signing up for myspace without realizing that myspace is for kids AND dead (in equal measure). my point is this: if you were to have some kind of "information professional trend-spotting olympics" i could TOTALLY represent and not only represent, TOOL most of the n00bs out there, who aren't only n00bs, but are like, loser n00bs. the kind who watch bravo. the kind who are like always 10 steps behind and when they're on the ball, they're on the ball with stupid stuff, like naomi klein or michael moore. the kind who take nuit blanche seriously. actually, it's making my skin crawl.

there was a recent library conference where a parliamentary library in australia surveyed their clients and found out that their clients value BREVITY over ACCURACY. well, me and my manedward tufte would probably agree that the bullet-pointing of information in our society is what is leading to our rapid intellectual degradation, the collapse of analytical ability, and the appallingly abysmal levels of political consciousness and civic engagement (my extrapolation).

what we also fail to understand, as information that by blindly incorporating blogs for the SAKE of being "on board" with web 2.0, we are ENSURING our OBSOLESCENCE. any idiot can google information and find a blog and pass it over. my job is to do the editorial selection and quality control. this is MUCH harder to do. i've been given the tools to separate the wheat from the chaff (i actually think i was born with them, but that's another story). people will ALWAYS need researchers. they will NOT need people to do their web browsing for them (unless you're the pope - dr. rei and dotytron and i, inspired by our trip to the vatican, spent a good, long afternoon looking for a bathroom in rome speculating on the habits of the pope. it must suck to be the pope. you're like in this inbetween world. where you ride around in a car and you probably wear sweatpants on your day off but you aren't hip to popular culture)

tonight for dinner i made broiled feta with poached eggs and rosemary focaccia. i took slabs of feta, brushed them with chili oil from this jar of spicy chilies that ex-supervisor T gave me (she didn't make 'em, she bought 'em and thought i should have them), and broiled it in the oven with some olives. i poached some eggs, and served the whole mess with some toasted slices of rosemary focaccia and grape tomatoes roasted in the oven, tossed with garlic, basil leaves, salt and pepper. it was fantastic. a no-fuss meal that took all of 15 minutes active prep time.



Chris said...

Facebook may get all the hype, but Myspace is still huge - 3 times as many page hits as FB - check out these stats (

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...

chris (i'm assuming this is c64),

crippled again by a myopic us-centric data gathering methodology: