Meet the 21st century librarian: Book-smart. Bush-deranged.
My column previews the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans (hey, maybe that’s why they needed the National Guard). It opens tomorrow with Madeline Albright (here’s the schedule) and the First Lady is scheduled to speak on Monday. Cokie Roberts is the closing speaker.
Popular speakers at past ALA conferences: Bush-bashers Richard Clarke, RFK Jr., Gloria Steinem, and E.L. Doctorow. A featured benefit screening of Michael Moore’s conspiracy-mongering Fahrenheit 9/11 drew an SRO crowd of 2,000+ in 2004. Dissenters are mocked on ALA mailing lists and conference events.
A reader pointed me to conservative librarian blogger SHUSH, who posted a few of the wacky responses to Laura Bush’s ALA invite from left-wing librarians, such as notorious Marxist ALA-councilor-at-large, Mark Rosenzweig:
I have now seen what I suspected was coming all along, the announcement of Laura Bush’s appearance at the ALA Annual conference in New Orleans.
I must, with the weariness and frustration that accompanies the anticipated yet still painful, hereby protest that this event turns our conference into a grand political photo-op for the administration of President George W. Bush, whose administration bears such a heavy responsibility for, among other things of which I will remind you, the debacle of the response to hurrican Katrina and for its on-going aftermath.
Mrs. Bush is anachronistically called the “First Lady”, with the fake gentility which is the hallmark of our provincial cult of the Presidency, but what she is, in politcal fact, regardless of her surfeit of — to me — rather cloying charm and her much publicized attachment to libraries as the no-political-downside way of demonstrating Bush Administration largesse, is the First Supporter of President Bush and one his most valuable public relations assets.
She is being deployed at ouir conference in New Orleans at a crucial time in the national political cycle, when Bush & Co. have “approval ratings” at an all time low, while his party is trying to maintain its congressional stranglehold through upcoming mid-term elections.
Yes, Laura Bush “likes libraries”. She once worked at one, briefly, before she married Dubya. Her chosen “First Lady philanthropic effort ” — always de rigeur for the wives of Presidents, — has been American libraries and she has the power to give away a good deal of prize money to libraries on a political “as-needed” basis. Good PR for the Administration. Good for some libraries whose plight falls under her gaze.
On the other hand, she supports virtually every policy of her husband’s administration — tax cuts for the rich, the dsestruction of social security and Medicare, the privatization of public lands, the hand-outs to corporations , the support for the plundering by Big Oil, the covering for the abuses of the pharamceutical industry, the invasion and occupation of Iraq (and the lies that were told to enable it), the blockade of Cuba and the threats to Latin America, the nuclear sabre-rattling, the USAPAtriot Act, covert domestic surveillance, the attacks on the Bill of Rights and the entire Constitution, the flaunting of international law, and, let’s not forget, “Gitmo” and Abu Ghraib and Haditha.
When you see her smiling demurely on the platform that we have provided for her and basking in the standing ovation Americans love to give to celebrities, know too that the smirking faces of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfield are up there too, and that every clap of the hands and whistle and whoop are taken by them — and by the media who will witness this — as endorsement of their policies and their administation.
ALA Councilor at large
Like I said, somebody has been inhaling too much photocopier fluid.
Betsy Newmark points out: “These librarians are all eager to take a stand bashing Bush whenever possible, but they have not been so willing to stand up for other librarians. This is the same organization that refused to pass a resolution condemning Fidel Castro for jailing librarians.” (Background from Nat Hentoff.)
Jack Stephens blogs at Conservator on libraries and freedom.
More right-thinking librarians representing diversity of thought in the ALA left-wing echo chamber:
Bunny the LibrariCon