Sunday, August 3, 2008

Who Watches the Librarians?

I'm excited about the new Watchmen movie.

I never read Watchmen when it was originally published in comic book form; I wasn't reading comics in 1986 as I was busy trying to grow up and become an adult. (And look how that turned out.) But I read the graphic novel a few years later and was hooked. Luckily, Watchmen never caught on like Batman or the X-Men, so I was able to pick up all the single issues for probably a quarter apiece. I still have my Watchmen tee-shirt from 1986.

I don't claim to be an expert on Watchmen. In fact, I can be pretty sure that I've never read the complete text, all that crap about birds just bores me, sorry.

But you might have noticed that I altered my banner to say, Quis Custodiet Ipsos Bibliothecarii. I don't know Latin. But I know that Quis custodiet ipsos custodes means "Who watches the watchmen?"

But for my page, I wanted to find the Latin for "Who watches the librarians?" And I couldn't find it. I found a reference to bibliothecarius as modern Latin for librarian. It's just my guess that it's plural would be bibliothecarii for librarians. Dunno, just my guess.

I've seen reference to the word: "The librarii a bibliotheca or bibliothecarii, who had charge of the libraries, were usually slaves or freedmen," but not the phrase, quis custodiet ipsos bibliothecarii. And that disappoints me.

It disappoints me that no one ever thought librarians needed supervision or oversight. That we have the reputation for being honest and trustworthy. Yeah, sure, that's a good thing. But come on, don't you want to read some history about those ruthless librarians who controlled all access to information and ruled with an iron fist? Where are those tales about medieval librarians who kidnapped and enslaved children, or the curse of the Egyptian librarian which causes the mummy to rise from its sarcophagus to reclaim overdue library materials?

So we need this. I'm leaving this up at least long enough for the googly to index it. I'm just doing my part so future evil, bad-ass librarians can have the phrase ready for them (to put on their evil tee-shirts).

Anyway, if you are interested in reading Watchmen (and really, you should read it), you might want to also read The Annotated Watchmen.

[oh, a note: if you want a Rorschach tee-shirt now and can't wait for official merchandise, someone bought me one of these shirts. It resembles the image of Rorschach from Chapter I, page 15, third panel. I wore it when I went to see The Dark Knight, but no nerds acknowledged it.]