Saturday, August 16, 2003
"As I consider the ideas of "a library" and the role of "a librarian" I believe, that while my life as a librarian, in the mundane sense, will be filled with the pragmatic goals of a collector, and manager of "things"; I agree with Shera--let us not mistake the objects--the books and other graphic records, for the actual "reality" . The ideas conveyed by these objects are the true reality with which we, ultimately, concern ourselves.
I really cannot discuss this subject without ascending to a high-flung realm. Perhaps it will sound like hyperbole, or utopian gush. But then, if it is ideals we are discussing, after all, then "let there be heights!"
I see a library as a sacred place, which mankind through history has erected in every hamlet and city. It serves as both as a temple and a monument to that which makes us human: the life of the mind and the soul. In this place, our human needs for expression, nurture and community on the invisible, internal plane of existence find a home in the physical world.
Here, we pursue information, of course. We may have the immediate, and urgent "need to know" met. Here we can get the facts for those kinds of needs: information compiled by the whole of human enterprise should be housed here, and freely accessible to all. "All that is best" should be stored up here: treasures of the successful navigation of the human experience, preserved for future generations. Because every generation of man asks the same questions, over and over again.
The librarian is the priestess or priest in this temple, the attendant to this holy mystery, this uniquely human enterprise: the synthesis of feeling, expression, understanding and experience. The librarian should hold herself as the guardian of this collection, and indicate by her presence and devotion to its existence, and use, a belief in the production of ideas, and the communication of them between people; between souls. She stands as the beckoner to all, to come, whatever they seek: the steeping, exploring, pursuing of beauty, symmetry, depth, breadth, other worlds or other minds. Because more than anything we come here to the library to commune with all the great minds and souls. And they are all "great" because of their singularity, and universality.
The librarian attempts to provide the truth: all of them. For there are as many as there are people born. Every piece in every collection, is a truth that will provide something new to build on and illuminate what it might mean to be human, and illuminate a new corner of the world not previously seen, known, heard or understood.
The librarian is the devotee to this sacred trust, founded on the belief that all of human expression is sacred, since it conveys the uniqueness of humanness. It captures the isssue of the human condition. The librarian, by her presence affirms and assures that this essence will be honored, stored and conveyed, to in turn, enrich and expand the human experience of those who seek it. By this affirmation, the librarian defines human life as inherently valuable, and our suffering and ecstasies, exalted."
I feel truly fortunate to work as a "branch priestess" in a beautiful and stately 1930's temple in Oak Park. It is a "libra/scorpio" (est. Oct. 5, this building opened Nov.1 ), like I am, and I love it.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
This morning, (Sun., 4/6), we went to an empty storefront in Wicker Park, where a group of people decided to read the entire 300 plus page Patriot Act aloud for 24 hours. They had been reading since noon on Saturday. All people were invited to stop in, sleep over, whatever, and if they liked, take a turn reading for awhile. We were the "early morning shift".
Besides "the reader", all 300 pages were tacked up on the wall, to peruse, and the walls were covered in sheets of brown paper for people to write reactions to US Patriot, or make any sort of personal expression. People were asked to comment on their "favorite" part of the Patriot Act. Readers would interrupt themselves to dialog with people about what they were reading, and truly a lively interchange and coming together happened, complete with refreshments, dogs, and a videocamera on a tripod recording it all. It made all the legalese and gobbledigook language of PA1 more understandable. I thought I would share with everyone some of the graffitti on the butcher paper walls--a few Chicago voices..... Steph
"Operation : Piss Off the Planet"
"EAT THE RICH QUICKLY"
"So many places in this document refer to millions of dollars to be given to agencies to do more regulating--to set up a new national fingerprint identification system, for example. Apparently, a police state not only keeps the population under "complete" control, but is also financially lucrative. Meanwhile...students sit in my classroom in need of dental care, waiting for the next paycheck so they can get new glasses to see the board. No funds are available..."
"Raise Your Voices in Protest!"
"Most of the Patriot Act was written before 9/11/01. Who in our government knew in advance that it was going to happen? Who was involved in its planning, financing and implementation?"
"That's the question you're not supposed to ask (what's the matter with you--don't you watch TV?)"
"Thursday, 4/3/03, I received a WARNING LETTER from Chicago City Colleges for organizing students for "non-educational activities" in the past months. We have had open discussions about 9/11, the war in Iraq, immigrant rights, a teacher's strike and the cutting of student services. Your Patriot, and Chicago City College Instructor, J. Karmen"
"It really amazes me how numb I've become. Coming here I looked right past two blazing fire trucks--Now I find my liberties curtailed in my sleep. I was thinking of Cindy's labia, our love seeming nothing like fire or trucks or fire trucks, but being much like lost freedom."
"USA Patriot Act (AKA-"we're doomed")--The most disgusting thing that ever came down the pipeline, subject only to the disgustingness of Domestic Security Enhancement Act or Patriot ACT II (AKA-"we're fucked" or "so long America, the dream is over".)
"9/11 is for Bush what the burning of the Reichstag was for Hitler. "He will ride our corpses to the gates of Rome!"
"Not if we stop his ass, hard-core, like we need to do and are fully capable of doing!"
"Patriotism holds no political ideology, but to totalitarianism, opposition by definition, is subversion"
[surrounded by cartoon stars] "stars..like when a cartoon character gets hit on the head & they are really confused...that's how I feel...like I got hit with a flag"
"PATRIOT=Shut up & behave?"
"They can do surveillance without declaring why. If they find something they get past the 4th Amendment by declaring that they suspected the subject of terrorism. They can provide a POSTHOC reason for monitoring someone!"
"the police are rioting--why are WE the ones getting arrested?"
"foolish America--you believe the lies , applaud the killing, but what will you do the day Bush targets you?"
"They can have my penis when they pry it from my cold,dead hands"
"Sect. 1008: Use of biometric identifier scanning system with access to the FBI integrated automated fingerprint ID system..."(say Hi to the camera!)
"Section 1007: "authorization of funds for DEA police training in South & Central Asia" (more fun in the Sun and job opportunities for our nation's youth)
"Some adults sat around coming up with the USA Patriot Act. They started by saying: "We need a catchy acronym that will make it seem palatable" "Dude. Wouldn't it be Totally Cool if we could make it say PATRIOT?" "Cool, let's DO THAT!"
"Sect. 812 : "post-release supervision of terrorists" (like they're ever getting out...is this before or after they're executed?)
Or whoever they define as
According to Section 814 : Any hacker, or for that matter, any computer factory worker or any programmer who makes a mistake or fails to remove a bug is liable to any company that loses money or has its commerce (even foreign commerce) interrupted"
"Is that right?--Of course not, but it is a heinous crime: "commercius interruptus".
Sect. 802: "to intimidate or coerce a civilian population [is domestic terrorism]"
Sect. 507: Disclosure of Educational Records
"Democracy closes at 11pm"--has been discontinued for lack of popular interest
"I [heart drawing] civil liberties!" (cancelled until further notice due to poor Nielsen Rating tm)
"It feels good to have support and know we're not alone, but please don't forget to talk to strangers, the people on the bus, in the line at the store...Break away from what you know. listen and speak. This is the only answer: outreach,outreach,outreach"
Sunday, August 03, 2003
Friday, August 01, 2003
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Anne Rice, a lifelong New Orleanian is a staunch Catholic yet she writes obsessively of homoerotic vampire orgies of sex and blood. New Orleans is ruled by Scorpio and therefore, the planet Pluto. Pluto of the nether regions, the underworld, the id. That which is hidden and yet, therefore, ultimately powerful. That which we do not control, that which controls us. The spiritual, sexual realms--the unconscious. Fed by unremitting heat and jungle wetness, the city is bathed in a steam of compulsion and desire. One breathes this steam and is initiated, transfomed. New Orleans is in you now, and you will hunger for it. It has you.