And why does talking and thinking about technology attract so many nincompoops?
Yes I should be doing other work but I am going to allow myself a little rant. A library blog I read pointed me to this piece in the Christian Science Monitor about restoring the noble purpose of libraries. The blog (which shall remain nameless) said that it was a thoughtful essay. Hmm.
Instead what we find is yet another knee-jerk reaction against technology. The writer argues that libraries are "a direct heir to the Enlightenment" but that libraries today are filled with the "jingle of ringtones, clattering keyboards and unquenchable printers."
He argues that
In some libraries today it is actually impossible to find any place quiet enough to simply read and study undisturbed. What I call the postmodern library – the library plus technology – deconstructs itself.
A library plus technology is now "postmodern"? So we can throw in a bit of po'mo'phobia in along with the technophobia. Does he even know what postmodernism is - or does he just have a sense that its "bad' and therefore we get to throw it in with that technology stuff? And arent printing presses technology? Books too? They were quite a breakthrough in their day and probably led to lots of fulminating on the part of community college librarians from Laredo concerned that getting information into the hands of hoi polloi readers would lead to asullying of notions of truth and knowledge.
The rest of the piece is kind of sad. It seems he is mostly motivated by a feeling that his status is being diminished by all this technology and "sexier" information scientists. As a remedy he proposes offering coffee and talking to students and faculty against the backdrop of the fun and humorous posters of the imaginary interviews he does with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston. I bet those can anchor us right back in the firm ground of the Enlightenment but for the life of me in thinking about them I can't get the word pastiche out of my head. Must be pollution from some of that postmodernist crap I had to read in graduate school.
Maybe I shouldnt rant about this sort of thing but I find it significant that it is these sorts of viewpoints that are aired in the popular press. The predominance of this sort of thing makes life that much harder for those of us who have to work in the trenches of using technology in colleges and universities. plus I think its just anti-intellectual. And I am rather attached to some librarians and information scientists who are amazingly smart, and intellectual and forward thinking. I'd hate to see them get thrown in the same category as this guy.
But, talking of media and pastiche, there is a fun little video of what the coverage of the moon landing might look like if done by today's media. Enjoy.
This one is from Jerz's Literacy Weblog