Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Oldest What? in the Book.

from "Libraries: the oldest trick in the book" by Amanda Simmons
for The Star-Ledger, Friday, July 09, 2010

Amanda writes, "Remember Napster, the ingenious file-sharing website that allowed users to freely access 'collections' of media? Today, online download sites like the re-envisioned Napster mostly function on a 'pay-to-play' basis, besides one bastion that preceded and outlasted Napster: your local library."

You can tell she's young. She doesn't seem to remember that Napster was a peer-to-peer file-sharing program that allowed users to make content available on the network for others to download.

Libraries don't use our members' content. Librarians are trained to select and purchase content and then make it available to almost anyone.

Also, Napster was ordered to stop sharing copyrighted material (thanks, Metallica), and got shut down.

You hear a phrase and it sounds like something that makes sense, yet it's completely wrong. But if you use it wrongly enough, then the meaning will change. And then anyone not familiar with the new meaning will just appear confused when they hear someone use it with the evolved meaning. But those people don't matter because they are old and will probably die soon anyway.

So in her mind, "the oldest trick in the book" is a good thing.

But a "Trick" is a distraction. Is a misdirection. Is a deception. A trick is a lie.

Does that apply to libraries?

My favorite "oldest trick in the book" is to point in a direction behind someone I wish to distract and say, "Look, the Hindenburg!" And if you know why that would distract someone, you are too old.

Ah, maybe Amanda isn't so young, as she adds, "In my book, the local library has become the one-stop shop for all things media: beach reads, pop songs and chick flicks alike. Best of all, it's both free and legal, unlike nearly all file-sharing websites that essentially offer the same goods."

So maybe she'll agree that the library isn't really the oldest "trick"?

In fact, the Uncyclopedia ("We dare you to cite us in your paper!") says that the oldest tricks are:
The Shoulder Tap; There's Something on Your Tunic; The Cheque is in the Mail; Pull My Finger; He Went That-A-Way and Ahomosezwut.
Ah, Pull My Finger, the real reason Cain beat the crap out of Abel; Abel would not give up on that trick and Cain was too stupid to keep from falling for it. I wish they would put that part back into The Bible. There just aren't enough fart jokes.