Friday, February 25, 2005

Quote from an unhappy librarian

One of the most fascinating aspects of playing witness to the evolution of blogs has been watching traditional media adapt to the new and rapidly-changing landscape. Add Michael Gorman to the list of those feeling prickly in the presence of the interlopers.

He's the president of the American Library Association, and he apparently has some issues with those involved in the new medium:
"[The] Blog People (or their subclass who are interested in computers and the glorification of information) have a fanatical belief in the transforming power of digitization and a consequent horror of, and contempt for, heretics who do not share that belief ... Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs.'"
Carmi again: First, I guess I'm one of those so-called Blog People. Who woulda thought? Second, I find it sad that a person whose career has been built on opening the minds of all generations would so derisively dismiss an entire genre because of the limited writing skills of a few. I guess we now know that the ALA's elitism extends clear to the top of its leadership.

Thoughts?

14 comments:

Terry said...

Its definitely a sad statement. I've done my share of proofreading for publishers and I know firsthand just how poorly written some "mainstream" authors are. It all gets cleaned up afterwards. The only difference I see is that blogging allows a lot more voices to be heard, albeit without editing. It also provides a voice for some decent writers who don't have the luxury of an agent, or exposure to the traditional literary world. Sure, some people cannot write well, but where else are they (or actually we, because I never wrote a single thing in my life until I started blogging) going to learn? BTW, my first short story will be published April 1st, thanks to a contact I made while blogging!

Gwen said...

I'm surprised to hear Michael Gorman say this too; I always think of him as a library visionary. To give him some credit, though, there are a lot of very dull blogs out there. I have to range far and wide to find something I want to read that's educated, thoughtful, and has good content. Your blog, for example, Carmi, always has great stuff in it, but it is one of the few that I like a great deal.

pat said...

'" ...Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs.'"I had no idea I was supposed to be writing epic, high quality novels in my blog - what was I thinking?

...BuTT SeRioUsLY...
Gorman's comment sounds snobbish and elitist. It is true that not every blog is well written or may have content that is life-changing on a grand scale, but I think blogging is about communicating. As varied as the published book world may be, so be the Blog world.

Excuse me while I go think this through again on my blog.

sxKitten said...

As a compulsive reader (20 pages of complex texts a day at a bare minimum or I get the shakes and start hallucinating) AND a blogger, I have to say I find his comments ill-considered at the very least. Not to mention offensive.

He also seems to have missed the fact that a lot of people blog, and read blogs, for the personal angle - differing reactions to and interpretations of the same "accumulation of random facts and paragraphs."

Jenny said...

Well, he's got me pegged for sure. I only read the funny pages, and I rarely get the punchline.

Red said...

You know people can write shitty books and good books, shitty blogs and good blogs. Hell some people think they can sing.
What I want to know is..

What's up her...
I mean, sounds like she needs to be retired....

Diva said...

It is obvious that he has never stumbled across your blog.

CanEragon said...

Some stuffy librarians need to be holed up in the back archives covered in dust contemplating Chaucer !

Although I don't write with the expertise, poise and grammatical finesse of a professional reporter or writer, I do think I/we bring perspective to a once "one sided" and tunnel visioned journalistc core.

Present company "excluded."

How rude of him to make such a judgement. I wonder if He writes anything "readable!"

Jeremy

Trillian said...

As a librarian and a "blog person" myself, I don't agree with Mr. Gorman's thesis. Usually, libraries are on the cutting edge of technology, embracing new ways of transporting information. I'm sorry to see such a limited perspective in an otherwise very open-minded profession.

mcgibfried said...

i thought all knowledge was obtained from the accumulation of random facts and paragraphs... well, that and mad magazine.

Mellie Helen said...

Yoo no, I am a bloggur and have mayd it all the way throo hi skool and for that person to cumplain that wee bloggurs are kinduh dumm or sumpthin is just not very nise. Just becuz we don't sit around tapping out long tecknical stuff doesn't mean we aren't focused and abul to concentrate on -- ooooh, something shiny!

A Woman Changed said...

I love to read and have a deep appreciation for books, especially old ones. I think it's true that the written word 50-100 years ago was more formal, conveying its message at a higher reading level. And the whole tactile experience is pretty cool - old leather books especially. That being said, blogging has allowed millions of people an opportunity to be self-published, garner a little public exposure and let their voices be heard. Uncontrolled by an editor or publisher. Yes, a lot of blogs are trashy. But so are a lot of books. And tv shows. And broadway plays. And songs on the radio. Blogging is an amazing opportunity to reach out and meet new people and gain/share insight. I'm thankful that I found several high-quality blogs that I read most every day - including yours, Carmi. Your words are easily as interesting and mind-expanding as one of my old, leather books.

Moogie said...

I write for my own personal enjoyment. I am not, nor do I consider myself, to be an author. I love to put my thoughts down in words, I love to share stories about my children, I love to, well, just write. I do this for my family and friends. I'm not talented, and yes, there are spelling errors at times that I miss (though I do try) and grammatical errors. I'm a financial analyst. That's my profession, and I've never even hinted that my talents lay in the written word. That's reserved for folks like you.

I guess my point it (and it's still a bit early yet so I might not make sense), I'm not trying to become famous. So if it's not well written the the grammatical sense, who cares? I have a lot of friends in the blogging community that visit anyway and that's all that matters.

Neil said...

Not a big fan of the man or the statement made. Think of the millions of blogs out there. How can you sum up your feelings on them in general and those who write them by reading a few as I think he stated.

Random paragraphs and fact collecting...I think this is a good thing. A lot of bloggers are young and this is their start to writing and putting their opinions out there. For someone like Gorman to come along and dismiss them is really quite surprising and amazing at the same time. Appologies should be made for such remarks as I'm sure many bloggers belong to his association and were easily offended.

But what do I know? I'm just a blogger in his eyes with nothing valuable to contribute.