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Gormangate Schadenfreude

‘”I was mugged,” Gorman said afterward. “He did not deliver the speech he told us ten days earlier that he would deliver.”‘

So Gorman feels Andre Codrescu hijacked his keynote at Midwinter by switching topics midstream. Perhaps Gorman has some inkling at this point what it’s like to think you’re inviting someone to the table to talk about one set of issues, only to have them betray you before the cock crows three times.

I missed hearing Codrescu. I had one meeting that ended halfway through, so I began walking toward the convention center, only to run into one or another Important Person I Needed To Speak With, and by the time I showed up, the hordes were streaming out of the center and toward the shuttles.

“He brought up some tired old topic,” said a friend as we headed toward a chic little bar for blood orange margaritas and serious gossip. Oh really? I thought. “Cuba,” she said. We agreed that it was strange Codrescu wasted his moment to talk on behalf of New Orleans. But never mind. The blood orange margaritas were delicious, the night was enchanting and became more so, and the Midwinter ALA President’s Program was far, far from my mind.

The difference between Codrescu and Gorman is that Codrescu grew up in Communist Romania so has authentic experience to back up his comments, while Gorman, when he speaks of blogs or Google or the Patriot Act, is innocent of real experience.

Just six more months, and Gorman–or Gumby, as he is called in some corners–will be the past-president, and the New York Times won’t phone the director of some library in Fresno to get his take on the latest techno-digital issues. I’ve got my short-timer’s calendar at the ready.

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6 Comments

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t get to experience it firsthand; I was looking forward to hearing your reaction. We were assured at the beginning of the event that the transcript would be made available on the ALA President’s website within a few weeks (but after what happened, I’m not holding my breath for that now) and it was being recorded for future broadcast on C-SPAN’s BookTV. So hopefully you’ll still get the chance to respond directly. I’ve posted my own reactions over at the LBR blog, here and here.

    Friday, January 27, 2006 at 7:01 am | Permalink
  2. kgs wrote:

    The hard part for me is how Robert Kent et al. have made it extremely difficult to advocate on this issue without getting sucked into a vortex of nonsense. But the reality is that we will go to bat for many oppressed information professionals as long as they aren’t Cuban.

    As for Gorman on librarians-who-haven’t-taken-cataloging, geeze, I took a cataloging class and I would have been better off with another class in management or reference.

    Friday, January 27, 2006 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  3. Stephen wrote:

    If Codrescu had informed Gorman in advance that he would discuss Cuba, I wonder what might have happened. Would they have disinvited him, told him he could not discuss that, or perhaps Gorman would have come fully prepared to debate him on the subject? Actually Gorman has said very little up to now on this issue. But for all the criticism of Robert Kent et al., it seems to me the ones who are really out to left field are the pro-Castro ideologues, emanating primarily from the SRRT, whose views on Cuba have become so influential within the ALA as to paralyze it from taking any meaningful action. I am glad Andre Codrescu was able to address this issue at the ALA conference.

    Friday, January 27, 2006 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  4. kgs wrote:

    Thinking ahead is not Gorman’s long suit anyway. It doesn’t take much to search Amazon and see that Codrescu, an exiled Romanian, recently wrote a book critical of the Cuban government. Hello, homework police? Gorman probably told him to talk about intellectual freedom… and ended up with someone who found an audience for an issue he hasn’t been shy about sharing in the past. As for Council being out of step, I agree with you, with the caveat that the Kents et al. make it almost impossible to get in step.

    Friday, January 27, 2006 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  5. Stephen wrote:

    Yes, I clicked on the Amazon link you posted to the council list. Looks quite interesting. Many years ago I had a political science teacher from Romania, he and his wife were also active in the local chapter of Amnesty International.

    By the way, I felt Jim Casey’s attack on Codrescu (as posted to the council list) was unfair.

    Friday, January 27, 2006 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  6. Conductor wrote:

    Since you missed the speech, I thought you might like to know that I posted Codrescu’s prepared remarks at cubanamericanpundits.com. He was kind enough to send them to me.

    Monday, January 30, 2006 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

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