rteeter's blog

Meme de la meme

1. Owns a cat(s)? Not currently. Have lived with a cat and his owner.

2. Drives small sensible, economical car? 1991 Honda Civic. 30 mpg on the street/40 mpg highway.

3. Wears comfortable, sensible shoes? Yes.

4. Reads constantly? As much as possible.

5. Never goes out? Not much.

6. Sexually inexperienced? Happily married.

7. Friends are all librarians? No, but some are.

8. Could care less about fashion? I don't care about fashion. I do care about language, though. I don't care one bit about fashion, and you can't care less than zero, so I *couldn't* care less about fashion. If you could care less about something, you might care quite a lot.

9. Leans to the left when it comes to politics? Oh, yeah.

10. Was a nerd in high school? Yeah, sure, ya betcha.

11. Wears hair in a bun? No, ponytail.

12. Is constantly covered in dust? No.

13. Librarian by day/Bacardi by night? I guess so. Can I be Bacardi if I have a shot at home before bed?

14. Do you wear glasses? Yes.

15. Are you female? No.

16. Abilities in the yarn arts? No.

I score it 10 points out of 16 (62.5%).

The public library didn't escape this chill

I didn't obsess about religion, but every now and again a question would pop up, and I hunted for answers in the only place I thought might have some. Picture it: the public library in the pre-Internet period of the 1980s and early 1990s. Most of what I'd read about Islam exuded a textbook tone. Lots of reference, little risk. Then, on February 14, 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. This "unfunny valentine," as Rushdie would later call the fatwa, demanded of Westerners more than a collective tiptoe around theocracy. Many people in the West did take a stand against the death warrant and I'd be disingenuous to deny that. But the commentaries I tracked down at the public library seemed satisfied with merely explaining Muslim outrage; they steered away from asking if the Koran is as virgin, as divine, as the effigy-burners would have us believe. What happened to the religiously respectful yet intellecutally messy West I'd fallen in love with? Was multiculturalism losing its mind?


In a crucial sense, I think so. I say this because my trips to the library coincided with the era of Edward Said. He was the Arab-American intellectual who, in 1979, used the word Orientalism to describe the West's supposed tendency to colonize Muslims by demonizing them as exotic freaks of the East. A compelling theory, but doesn't it speak volumes that the "imperialist" West published, distributed, and promoted Edward Said's book?


Within a decade, Said was all the rage among young academics-turned-activists in North America and Europe. Their worship of him effectively stifled other ideas about Islam. By the time Salman Rushdie came out with The Satanic Verses, Said's acolytes stood ready to denounce as "Orientalist" (read: racist) just about anything that affronted mainstream Muslims. In my experience, the public library didn't escape this chill.


I began to regain faith, in both the West and Islam, after the mid-1990s. Praise Allah for the Internet. With the Web making self-censorship irrelevant -- someone else is bound to say what you won't -- it became the place where intellectual risk-takers finally exhaled. They reasserted what makes the West a fierce if imperfect incubator of ideas: its love of discovery, including discovery of its own biases. And as the critics probed Islam, I picked up on some jaw-dropping aspects of my religion.

-- Irshad Manji, The Trouble With Islam (Muslim-Refusenik.com)

Questia adverts on Yahoo's libraries page

Questia is advertising on Yahoo's directory page for library links: http://dir.yahoo.com/reference/libraries/

RSS feeds not updated

The RSS feeds don't seem to have been updated since Wednesday. The last new story was the one about West Palm Library. I tried the articles*, index*, and lisnewscom* feeds.

This just in: lisnews.rss seems to be up-to-date.

Which version of RSS to use?

Hi, all.

I've got a Web page where I track news articles on a certain subject. I've set up an RSS feed to go with it. All I really need for each item is a headline, link, paper and date (which can go in description), and the date I posted it (pubdate). It looks like RSS 2.0 will do everything I need. But I notice some of the cool kids use RSS 1.0 (which is actually more complicated that 2.0, but that's another whole megilla).

Any ideas? Post a comment here or send me a comment via www.interleaves.org/~rteeter/comment.html.

RSS descriptions breaking

The RSS feeds that include descriptions (descriptions.rss and others) seem to be breaking whenever there are ampersands in the descriptions. Can something be done to XML-encode ampersands?

Articles in RSS, but not on Web site

In case Blake (or someone else equally powerful) is reading this:

Sometimes I see articles showing up in my RSS reader that don't show up on the Web site until hours later. Right now, I'm getting the story "What Librarians Really Mean." Also, I notice it's dated Friday, Aug. 22, at 2:00 a.m., a day and a half from now.

Is this a bug or a feature? Could it be a gift for "RSS bigots"? ;-)

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