There are some things you just shouldn’t do because it’s just mean, or maybe stupid, or possibly something that would bring a smile to Dick Cheney’s or Sean Hannity’s face—which is only a short step from giving Satan a sensual foot rub. Basically, things YOU JUST DON’T DO. These include:
- Going alone and unarmed into the scary basement of a freaky house (or, for that matter, your own basement or backyard at night when there is a suspicious or frightening sound emanating from it)
- Punching babies in the face
- Bringing any dish to the cookout that’s been updated with new and surprising ingredients by a newspaper or magazine recipe section
- Pulling on Superman’s cape, spitting into the wind or pulling that mask off the ole Lone Ranger…or messing with Jim
- Saying anything bad about Beyoncé on social media
- Calling for the removal of public libraries from society
Well, maybe that last one got an exemption of some sort recently from the Oval Office. Oh, who am I kidding? Even before the current administration, I’ve seen people trying to destroy the whole concept and institution of public libraries for at least a decade. No doubt they are the people who also think teachers should pay for all the classroom supplies out of pocket and that poor people just need to yank harder on those bootstraps while working 20-hour days at three minimum-wage jobs to end up as famous business-people who can one day be elected to destroy civilization as we know it.
To be perfectly honest, I spent a whole lot of years (and still have partial ownership of a house) in a town where one of the most cherished annual activities of the city council was to cut the public library’s budget just a little bit (or a lot) more because apparently inflation doesn’t exist, and no one should have ready access to knowledge, entertainment and a safe public gathering space.
Yes, I lived somewhere where people were convinced that the only thing standing between them and a cushy retirement in the Cayman Islands was a librarian’s salary. I mean, that library is truly staffed by superheroes because they keep things going despite having a constant fiscal gun to their literary heads—but they shouldn’t have to be superheroes to keep the library open. No library should have to go through that, though many do.
I’m saying all this largely because of the story that was published recently by Forbes online titled “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money,” written by Panos Mourdoukoutas (the story has since been deleted; get the story about that here).
Naturally Forbes will publish some other gems along the lines of “Corporations should take over police functions” (Robocop) or “We should make intelligence and science things to be ridiculed to improve society” (Idiocracy…or the actions of almost every Republican politician and pundit for the past 20 years). Right? Right!? C’mon Forbes, you might let the librarians down but surely you don’t want to let the extreme libertarians down, do you?
Now, the article I linked to above breaks a lot of this down, already, and literate non-Trumpite denizens of social media’s saner neighborhoods had a field day dragging the author and Forbes on Twitter (here, and here…also here…and hey, here too..oh also this and that one…just to share a few), but here’s my own bullet list to consider for those who have a brain and don’t hate libraries because gun-loving anti-healthcare blue-eyed white Jesus told them so:
- Not everybody has access to tablet readers or other mobile devices
- Not everyone has easy access (or even access at all) to the Internet (so having those devices means nothing and besides, plenty of people rely on libraries to access the Internet…including to look for jobs even though some of y’all think they’re all just lazy porn surfers)
- Amazon and other businesses don’t do wide-scale social charity like that. Privatization doesn’t mean better access; it means controlled access
- Physical books can go places it isn’t wise to bring electronic devices, and physical books don’t need power
- Many libraries now serve the function with movies that rental places (which no longer exist much) used to, and many people still want to watch movies on something other than Hulu or Netflix
- Libraries provide meeting spaces and the ability to publicly gather
- Many libraries provide spaces for free meals to kids and teens who otherwise don’t have access to three squares a day
- Libraries provide ways for families of very small children to interact and to grow those little minds and develop their social skills
- And a thousand other things I can’t think of right now (a few of which are mentioned in some of those tweets I linked to above)
Basically, libraries are spectacular. Stevie Wonder “Songs in the Key of Life” wonderful. Getting a fat refund from the IRS at tax-filing time kind of goodness.
If you don’t want part of your tax money going to fund public libraries, I don’t want my tax money funding emergency response people to pull you out of your mangled car after you have an accident because you’re laughing so hard at how FOX News just owned those liberal snowflakes again.
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