Monthly Archives: August 2010

Mindset

It’s that time of year again.  We’re just starting to get the hint of autumn in the air here in Minnesota, as the heat and humidity make way for drier air and cool nights.  The faculty and staff are stepping up their pace in preparing for the new year, which is just around the corner.

And the folks at Beloit College have released the newest version of the Mindset List.

I must admit I don’t find this list as jarring as I did the first few incarnations, possibly because the list has done its job in reminding me that the incoming freshmen have a different view on the world. There are still a few items that I find a bit startling:

  • Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
  • Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
  • They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
  • DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
  • Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.
  • Czechoslovakia has never existed.
  • They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

Which items resonate with you?

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Filed under Academia, Miscellaneous

Fear and loathing

There was an interesting post and ensuing conversation on Will Manley’s blog, asking why librarians hate conservatives. It’s a good read, and the comments are very interesting.  I must admit that I didn’t read all of the discussion, as it made me uncomfortable, and a little depressed.

You see, I am a conservative librarian.  And there’s part of me that feels I shouldn’t even say that, for fear of being reviled by colleagues.

I agree with Will: in a profession that holds intellectual freedom up as one of its highest standards, espousing an opinion other than that of the majority is considered unacceptable.

I’ve attended meeting after meeting where speakers assume that the entire audience is liberal, and quips about how idiotic the various and sundry political conservatives are.  And the audience laughs and applauds……and never considers how it would feel if the shoe were on the other foot.  How would you feel, liberal bretheren, if you were talked about as if you were an ignorant rube at virtually every conference?

I tend not to speak up about these things, because, well, it’s not tolerated.  And it’s even worse, since I’m an academic librarian.  Academics are as intolerant as librarians about these things…..and both groups hold themselves up to be the defenders of freedom of speech, academic freedom, intellectual freedom…..as long as you agree with us.  Interestingly, colleague after colleague has come to my office, shut the door, and “come out of the closet” as a conservative.  In academia, too, you need to hide.

I’m writing this in part to stand up with Will in saying that we don’t all espouse liberal politics.  And I, for one, am tired of feeling bullied.

I have to tell you, my stomach is churning at just putting this out there.  And that’s just wrong.  No one should be made to feel afraid to state their beliefs.

OK….have at it, folks.

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Me and mine