Skip to content

Council Back-and-Forth on the Codrescu Speech

The ALA Council list has had some back-and-forth on the aftermath of the Codrescu speech, two of the posts by Gentle Writer. Rather than present snippets–since as you know, snippets will make hair grow on the palms of your hands–I’ll link to the January list archives and then present my biased, one-sided, but entirely correct and on point summary of the discussion so far, which you are welcome to dispute. (Incidentally, ALA is too broke to afford indexing ALA lists through its Google Appliance. ‘Least, so I’ve been told…hence, you have to be very determined to follow ALA history through the list archives.)

First, unable to let things go, Gumby (Gorman) forwarded a post from Robert Kent to the ALA list, and then proceeded to argue with it. (Kent is the nut job who has almost singlehandedly ensured the Cuban librarian issue in ALA is too radioactive for most members to touch. I continue to believe he’s funded by Castro.)

I pointed out that Codrescu, a Romanian exile, had recently written a book critical of Cuba’s politics.

Then a couple of posts called Codrescu a racist for saying Katrina had pushed the criminals out of New Orleans. Oddly, as I point out on the list, it seems to be the ALA members (including the virulently pro-Castro Rosensweig) who assumed the criminals were persons of color. Interesting slip, indeed.

Informal transcripts of the talk indicate that someone gave Codrescu three fatuous questions, and being a writer and thinker, he rose above them to say what he thought. Was he primed in advance by the Cult of Kent? No doubt he was. But points off to Gumby for not doing his homework. A thirty-second search in the notoriously inefficient search engine he regularly reviles could have ensured he wouldn’t be “mugged” by the speaker’s opinions. I’m not sure how, once invited, one can then tell a speaker what to say, but having had to suffer through Gumby’s talk at LITA Forum–my dues at work: being lectured to on bibligraphic control in the 1950s–not to mention suffering the slings and arrows of Gumby’s well-practiced idiot statements to national press, all I can say is such, such are the joys.

Rosensweig then proceeds to spread the manure of the Big Lie, which is not surprising from someone who runs a library dedicated to Marxism. Put me in a green dress and call me Mary McCarthy, but it’s not McCarthyism to point out that Rosensweig has a strong point of view on this issue, one informed more by early Engels than by the evidence. But he’s kind of cute when he’s off his meds, at least until he decides to do real damage. You elected him, by the way–oh yes you did, either directly or because you didn’t vote. You think ALA was extreme on the Alito vote? You have no idea!

A silly tempest in a teapot, but that’s Council. This issue made me a pariah in ALA two years ago, and I’ve been hesitant to wade back in lest Kent again begin quoting me to the point of embarrassment. In one ALA position I hold, my “welcome” was an excoriating lecture on how I’m Not A Team Player; my predecessor actually “offered” (threatened, is the correct word) to accompany me to meetings and supervise my actions. I’ve even had assaults at MPOW, the sort of thing I’ll fill you in on over a Rusty Nail at Annual if you like (and what a sick puppy that person was to drag my job into this issue–but I’m not the only person to have suffered this way). I can laugh at all that now–I laugh a lot at ALA, and it helps–but if you think I have been cautious on this issue, you’re right.

I wonder what the implicit List Of Things One Can’t Talk About will look like at Annual… and what boring pot of oatmeal they’ll invite to Midwinter 2007.

Posted on this day, other years: