Monday, June 28, 2010

Everybody sucks. But Walter Hunt sucks most.

From, "‘School Sucks Project' inserts message in libraries' books" by Dave Choate, June 24, 2010 4:25 PM.

Cathleen Beaudoin, director of The Dover Public Library reported that "over 5,000 bookmarks” from the School Sucks Project and Freedomain Radio were inserted into the books in her library and that it took over 30 hours of staff time to remove them all.

In the United States of America, anyone can become part of the government so long as they meet the requirements of the office. So when I hear that there are groups in America where the members are opposed to government of any form (School Sucks pushes for an end to "public, government-funded education"), where government sucks, then I have to wonder who their members are. Because if government sucks, and most anyone can be elected to government, then I would have to guess these groups believe that we all suck already.

Unless there's some demarcation line where the sucking starts. If government sucks, then do I suck when I decide to run for office or am I cool until I win the seat? If the voting is happening and it's 6:00 and and I'm slightly ahead of my opponent, yet there's still a chance she could win, have I crossed over into sucking? Or do I have to win? Or do I have to be sworn in?

In some jurisdictions it's only convicted felons who can't become part of government by holding a seat in public office, so are felons the only Americans who don't suck?

So I'm still not sure who these groups are against. Literally, we have a government of, for, and by "the people." So we must all suck all the time.

But about the bookmarks:

“It's not that we object to the content of the bookmark. Everybody has a right to believe in whatever they want to believe in,” Beaudoin said. “We do have a specific policy that prohibits [leaving bookmarks in library books].”

The policy is that you can express your beliefs in the library, so long as it's not expressed through bookmarks:
Beaudoin said the issue is not what was written on the bookmarks, and she added had the groups approached the library to put up a poster or pamphlets promoting meetings and the like, the library likely would have granted approval. The manner in which it was done, and the possibility that the philosophies espoused would be linked to the library itself, is what forced the removal of the thousands and hundreds in Portsmouth, Beaudoin and List said.
So you can put a sign in the library espousing beliefs the library does not support, but once that opinion gets inserted into a book, the library users, um, get confused? Like they believe now that the library supports all the ideas found in all the library books? Are my library patrons going to attack me with, "Hey, in the book, the killer murdered a child, why do you want to murder children, librarian?" And I'll have to tell him that we don't want to murder children, unless he reads it on a bookmark.

Why not just say that the bookmarks could damage the books? If every guy with a car wash business and every lawyer and tax preparer and tarot reader and strip-o-grammer and wedding planner and auto salvager and gator trapper all left bookmarks in the books, then that could damage the binding.

That's what's so crazy about creating policy; you have to target behavior without hurting anyone's feelings. You can't have a policy that says, "No Drunks Allowed." Because then you label someone as a Drunk and that could hurt his feelings. You have to say, "No Public Intoxication" which is the same thing, but then the Drunks can't sue you. Because targeting the good people from the fine nation of Drunkylvania is just racist.

So remember, crazy people of America, you can use the library as your own personal thumping tub if you:

a) ask the librarian if you can hang your sign in the designated place of kookiness with all the other kooks,
b) don't try to stuff 5,000 bookmarks in the library books unless you print your message on something that the librarian will find amusing, like a fake wedding photo or fake $10,000 check or a real slice of liverwurst,
c) wear your political opinions on your clothing. If you ask the librarian to post your sign, but she refuses, then remember to ask her for a safety pin. When she gives you one, just pin your sign to your shirt. Now it becomes a free speech issue. Remember, attaching your message to library property and it's a policy issue; attach the message to yourself and it's Free Speech issue which the library can't fight.

There is no sight more devastating to the librarian than the sight of a safety pin being brought out to pin the poster or pamphlet which has been denied library space to the supporter's clothing.

Damn you, Walter Hunt, inventor of the safety pin! the library would say because she looked it up. ...Yeah, I know you've been wondering all through this post who that guy is...