Losing my cool (as if I ever had any)

I sent Blake some email today. In some ways I wish I hadn't. It was a brief note on why I haven't really commented on his "10 blogs" story (other than starting a kerfuffle over whether it's plausible to make distinctions about types of online writing).

Those who know me well enough know exactly what the problem was. Those who don't, well, don't need to know. It has to do with interpersonal relations and personal attacks.

But the incidents involved mostly happened a few months back. Blake didn't encounter them. I sent the mail this late because the story's made it to so many places (and the list is on LISWiki). Unfortunately, memories of the whole set of incidents resulted in email that was snarkier than it needed to be.

When you write a lot and don't always make an idiot of yourself, you establish a profile of some sort. When you have a profile, you're a target. And there are some who will look for quotes to take out of context and misinterpret for their own purposes. I know that. I should be used to it. Mostly, I am.

This time, at the end of a tough work week, I vented. Blake caught the heat. My bad.

Consider this a public apology to match the semi-apology I sent to Blake a little while ago. An apology to Blake, that is; not bloodly likely you'll see me apologizing to or recognizing the existence of the other party involved.

Oh, and GregS, if you're reading this: Why can't Bloglines find a feed for Shush?


I'm not on bloglines because once upon a time I was and then it stopped working so I asked Blake and another guy about it and they made it work again and then it stopped working again and since I wasn't paying for the priviledge I figured I'd just leave it be instead of eating up another person's time. I handcode my site which seems to be part of the problem and I'm not nearly as technologically bright as I pretend to be.

As for everything else... yeah I think I'll just leave that alone...

I'm just pointing out that things have not changed much in the LIS press since the last century in spite of the numeric differences. This is just a fact. I'm not saying it's good or bad. It's just a fact--the WM domination of the library press.Blogs allow a few different voices to be read.The refereed periodical system is primarily WM.Here are the generally accepted "top ten" LIS journals edited mainly by WM:JASIST,Library Quarterly, Information Processing & Management,Library & Information Science Research , Journal of Documentation,ARIST ,Scientometrics , Library Trends ,J. Am. Medical Informatics Assoc., MIS Quarterly.So, you see, the WM conduct as well.It's much appreciated that you endeavor to help broaden the pool and we know you do. No one likes to hear that things have moved so little...and there is real pain in seeing this is so.
    Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color.

As I expected, you've used the "you can't recognize The Problem if you're part of The Problem" line. That's your right.

I find one thing objectionable in your commentary--namely, the same thing you'd find objectionable if it was used for, oh, women, Hispanics, blacks, asians: "wmc" carries the explicit assertion that All White Men Say the Same Things--it's a "chorus." But, of course, it's OK to bash white men. Oddly enough, usually it's the majority within a field that can be bashed without fear of being called a bigot--but that's not the case in librarianship.

I've always been a feminist (except to women who regard it as inherently impossible for men to be feminists, or those who define "feminists" along the "all sex is rape" line). I've always pushed for diversity. I've always been a social liberal, even back in the days when I was a Kuchel Republican (most of you probably aren't old enough to know what I mean). I live in a state that has no majority group (except perhaps women), and I like that. I've done my part to encourage professional writing from people who aren't white or male (although, particularly in the case where I rescued a paper from accidental oblivion, I was not aware of the sex or race of the author at the time).

And I increasingly find it offensive to hear something like "wmc"--to be told that I'm just like every other white male, that "we" are all some "chorus." Particularly from someone whose work in the field I've generally admired.

Blogs give us a way to evade the dominance of the White Male Chorus (WMC) in library and information science.Men always say they are gender and color blind because the dominant culture has already won.
Here's the Feb. issue of AL: Editor-Leonard; Managing Editor- Gordon; Senior Editors-Beverly and George. (75% wmc).Regular commentary: Will, Joseph, Andrew. (100% wmc). ALA Exec. director-Kieth. I teach in a LIS program. My students are 65% women. I try to give them opportunities to hear voices other than the wmc and it is a challenge.
In my blog reading I seek newer writers,different tone, less ego, more wit, different kinds of insight, and creativity. The wmc has come through my letter slot for years. American Libraries has never had a woman or minority editor. One gets weary. One only notices the dominance of the wmc if one is not part of the wmc. The blogs give respite from voices not in the wmc. I'm glad others see blogs as a way to expand what they read.
When LIS feeds went down I had to make my own list, which I shared in this set of comments because I thought Matthew did such a fine job expanding the way to think about online communiction.
Don't get me wrong. I don't disregard or ignore the writings of the wmc. As an editor of books and journals I have encouraged women and men to write and publish. I simply say in online reading I have an opportunity to read what new librarians say. I read a lot online in blogs, journals and all the other things Matthew wrote about. I polled 10 collegaues [librarians and LIS profs] and the ONLY familiar blog to more than one was LIS news...and this isn't "really" a blog.
Also, so far, blogging does not add to tenurability. I'm working to change this for those coming up.

This comment thread has taken a strange and wondrous turn from my original apology. I didn't realize I was talking about Authority or offering my own stance on what people should or should not read. But hey, conversation is usually a good thing, so even if it doesn't really pertain to my post all that well, fine with me.

I must admit I never thought to categorize the blogs I read by color of skin or gender of writer--or by their religion or sexual preference either, for that matter. Nor do I intend to do so now. I know that quite a few of the most interesting bloggers I know are female--certainly dozens, quite probably more than a hundred. I know some of them are nonwhite or hispanic. I know some of them fall into both "categories." And, frankly, I'll be d*ned if I can tell from the opinions stated or writing style or whatever what categories they fall in--and for a whole bunch of them, whom I've never met, I really don't know. Or, to be honest, care.

Maybe it's growing up in California, but I never learned the need to specifically seek out either one particular Kind of Person or conspicuously steer away from that Kind of Person. I'd rather pay attention to what they have to say. So far, that's worked fairly well.

And if I'm part of the White Male Chorus, so be it.

Will Manley's column is the first thing (and sometimes the only thing) I read in American Libraries.

I do read some of the blogs you mentioned, and I don't read some of the others primarily because I never have heard of them.

I also pop over to http://librarianoutreach.blogspot.com/ because I agree with that librarian's take on undocumented immigration, and upon occasion a few other things. (I ofen see things from L2 and L3 here at LISNews as well so I don't stop there as frequently as some other sites.)

It is interesting the different views of the MSM that we hold, White Male Chorus vs. Left-leaning conspiracy theorists.

"I handcode my site which seems to be part of the problem." That's probably nearly all of the problem. Most of us less-savvy or more-recent folks use blog software, and most or all of it these days automatically sets up an RSS feed (with WordPress, two: one for posts, one for comments) as part of its default setup. If I had to "roll my own" or sign up, for a fee, with a third party, I probably wouldn't have a feed either...but then, if I had to roll my own, I wouldn't have a blog!

(Not that I have anything against programming; that, combined with design/analysis, was the core of my library jobs for 25 years or so... Which may be why I never much wanted to do any programming on my own time.)

So: Question answered. Thanks. When LISFeeds is back, I'll try that route again.

My reading tends to focus on blogs that provide new content and new ideas. Those that overuse the first-person I seldom read. Pontificators abound in academe and the blogs are a place to read new voices. If we look at American Libraries--a journal I read, every issue--it is dominated by a very white male chorus. Even the humor column. This is the same POV we get in 90% of the MSM.
    Now, as soon as anyone points out that a white male chorus has more than its share of the stage there are immediate cries that it isn't fair to notice this..saying this is reverse descrimination, hasn't George Bush told us affirmative action is unfair? It's still true. White males dominate our discourse. This isn't to say they won't get read, or don't deserve to get read, but at least blogs provide a little bit of space on stage for people from different vantage points different viewpoints. In addition to LISNews I check in often (at least until LISFeeds returns)to:Bookslut,The Shifted Librarian,librarian.net,Feel Good Librarian,Tinfoil+Racoon,HispanicTips,CaveatLectorBlackCommentator,Ex LibrisConversational ReadingThe blogs are new set of voices that provide different insights. I am grateful to have access to these many new voices that don't have regular space in the MSM.
      I tried to write about all this last summer..I had a long set of short posts developed about LIS blogs and then Hurricane Katrina happened and it all seemed unimportant.[Being John Malkovich and LISNews].
      I think that everyone has a top 10 blog list whether we present it to the world or not. And it is not the fault of the person making the list if one is not on it.
      Of all the things that show how POVs vary consider the lists of top fiction. I have just served 4 years on the ALA Notable Books Council and very few of the books selected are on the NYT best seller list.

That was heat? I've gotten far worse over spelling errors! No need to apologize to me at all, you had good points.

If you were using the LISFeeds rssify thing ( I can't remember) email me.

I do read a number of online publications blogs, serials, stream of consciousness ramblings, and they all have some value to me or I would not read them. However they all have their own character and as I librarian I can differentiate on their authority because of their format, author's credentials, regularity and the like.

Of course these judgments on authority are subjective, but they apply only to me (at this point) and I find them useful. It is somewhat like sorting the mail. I do get a few magazines a week and lots of credit card offers, and some bulletins from societies to which I belong, and the electric bill.

I know I have to pay attention to the electric bill (or as my Canadian friends call it the hydro bill) but it really does not interest me very much. It is somewhat interesting that I used 847 KWH last month, but after that reading it (and paying it) is an obligation.

I like some of the magazines I get, but some I simply toss away without opening- especially those I never asked for but get because of various positions I have had. I get CIO magazine and I don't read a word of it, but they won't stop sending it. However I like the nursing journal I get, and I like the magazines from the societies to which I belong as I joined because they matched my interests.

I get junk from the Republican party- Republican swag sometimes - membership cards, address labels, pseudo-autographed photos of elected officials. That stuff is usually accompanied by a request for a check so it gets about 3 seconds of time.

Back to the point of this.... some things online I read because they are almost an obligation, an obligation I feel to remain current on the state of the industry so much as librarianship and information management are an industry. Some things I read for entertainment, some for political enlightenment, and some because it irritates me and I feel a need to see the other side of an issue.

All of these have value to me, but the values are not comparable. It is not an apples to apples comparison but more like an apples to aardvarks analogy. I love apples, but I only see aardvarks at the zoo. I'm OK with that as I know how much I value both, and I know where to find both if I need either.

This line of discussion caused me to step back and look at who publishes. Back when I chaired the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianshipof ALA we did a national survey that found men published and edited 3x as much as women.[hence the term "WMC"-white men's chorus].
I want the world to be more expansive, to have room to pay attention to more kinds of voices. So, I have to say that all sides take responsibility for things staying so static in the print on paper world...but this electronic world looks to be shifting to greater inclusion.
Thanks for reading & understanding.

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