Friday, August 25, 2017

Addendum: I'm also tired of "if you can't effect major social change, do nothing," or a Twitter attack on Little Free Libraries

An LFL heinously upholding neoliberalism.
Okay, the next post will be about writing or something, I promise.

But I came home after a full day and a long drive to see this on the news and on Twitter--on the traditionally slow "news dump" time of Friday afternoon:
  • Against precedent of having the Justice Department vet pardons, Trump throws yet MORE red meat to his base and pardons the convicted Joe Arpaio.
  • Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on Texas and Louisiana, drenching it in torrents of rain and wind so strong it's swaying concrete buildings.
  • Trump disgracefully issues an order banning transgender service members, after the Joint Chiefs had individually indicated it's a terrible idea on so many levels--not just rights but fighting strength.
  • He also might deputize school safety officers to enforce immigration arrests in the schools, where children are supposed to be safe. 
  • This is on top of threatening to hold U. S. hostage, via the debt ceiling, to pay for the ridiculous, racist, and unnecessary wall that he swore to the Trumpettes that Mexico would pay for. With no sense of irony, one of his cabinet said "It'll be like the Maginot Line." Uh, yeah. Ask France how that one worked out.  Maybe they ought to go for Hadrian's Wall instead.
 And this is just an hour's worth of news.

But what's most important? What's A#1 on the radical librarians' agenda this evening? (Google them if you want to. I don't want to give them the link.)

Little Free Libraries.

That's right, the little free-standing book houses where you can take a book and leave a book. Where little kids can get books for free (and so can adults).  Where someone in your community cared enough to put the time and effort in to reach out to neighbors.

They don't solve the problem of inadequate library funding, say the rad librarians. True enough.

They make people feel good without a radical tearing down of the oppressive structures that enable systemic privilege blah blah blah and you can fill in the rest of this speech yourself.  True enough.

But shouldn't a small good get the benefit of the doubt?

Apparently not.

I'm tired of the false equivalence thing not only because in the media it gave us Trump (Hillary's emails! Hillary's emails!--remember that?) but because in giving equal weight to horrible things like white supremacy and the trans ban and things that just aren't quite correct enough, like the Little Free Library, we're squandering an opportunity.  And with things the way they are, we don't have the luxury of wasting opportunities to set things right.


heu mihi said...


Anonymous said...

Really the 'problem' with LFLs is that they tend to occur in areas where there are already tons of libraries and bookstores; they don't pop up in book deserts where they're really needed. But I still support them anyway! They're cool.

undine said...

Heu mihi--you're welcome!

nicoleandmaggie--I know that's the criticism of LFL, and it's true--but instead of "let's destroy something nice because not everyone has it" how about "let's hope this raises some consciousness and spreads to areas where they don't have it"?

Anonymous said...

We had one outside the place I work, in an under-resourced community, and one night it
got burned to the ground. All that was left in the morning was a pile of ash.

Some of the neighborhood kids had been playing with fireworks (it was around 4th of July) and my theory is that they decided to put fireworks inside the LFL to see what would happen.

It was sad.

undine said...

Anonymous--I've heard of that happening. The LFL seems to be a magnet for destructive curiosity or sometimes just plain meanness; the LFL site has a whole section about preventing vandalism. It is sad.