On the Offensive ??

Mary Ann Meyers wrote this on the recent attacks from Dr. Laura and others on the ALA.


I
think
public libraries, the ALA, and librarians still must find an
effective
way to let people know the who and why of the public library
profession;
but we won\'t be able to do that until we better establish our own
understanding of ourselves. I also believe that we should be
prudent in
where we choose our battlegrounds. We can be \"right as rain\" and
the
\"bearers of the Truth\" in our own minds, feel tremendously
passionate
about what we do as public servants (as we understand [?] that
description)--and gain a lot more foes than supporters. I believe
we do
prefer supporters, and we must find a way to let the public know how
the
library profession helps them.


As far as anyone wanting to shut down Dr. Laura, my feeling is that
the
best way to counter her is to stand back *for now* and watch market
economics work for us for a change. Have you seen her show? Almost
as
dull as the BushGore debates. Her personality is too hot for
television, and it will do her in. That\'s the value of intellectual
freedom--as has been said in the past (paraphrase--sorry, don\'t have
the
attribution or citation), it\'s best to allow all the ugly, smelly,
weird
and dangerous ideas to come out from the dank corners of their
putrefying birthplaces into the fresh air of the marketplace of
ideas.
Out in the clear light of day they can be examined in all their
ill-formed and horrifying aspects by every citizen. All are able to
grasp the dimensions and examine the qualities of ideas and to
dismiss
those that are offensive and malformed. The fresh air of public
examination puts a face on an enemy, diminishes its power, exorcises
it
from serious and dignified consideration, banishes it from public
acceptance. If we repress the hate-mongers, they fester like boils
in
our society.


If you want to counter Dr. Laura\'s attacks, the first offensive
strategy
is to encourage people to really hear the nonsense she spews--and as
James Casey indicates, rely on the good sense of people and their
experience of what libraries add to their lives. Prudence is good.
To
act impetuously in fear and anger against propagandists is not a
good
strategy.


Cordially,
Mary Ann Meyers
ljmmam@hypermall.net

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