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Bob Stein at Stanford Humanities Center

“Blended librarians” in the Bay Area–those of us lovin’ the books and the technology–should try to get to a talk by Bob Stein about books in a networked society 1 p.m. this Friday, March 17, at the Stanford Humanities Center. (The tasty runoff from Stanford’s intelligentsia is partial compensation for living in absurdly overpriced Palo Alto, where we rent a small dump easily worth $1m in this lunatic market.)

The write-up for Bob’s talk, in stiff academic prose, doesn’t do justice to what a lively, unpredictable, broad-ranging thinker and speaker he is, or even how fun the Stanford crowds can be. (Is there a rule in humanities academia that the term “discourse” must appear at least once every 200 words?)

This should be fun. I can’t say what turns you on, and I certainly have avoided becoming an academic, but I get a strong “My people!” vibe whenever I sit among a couple hundred sartorially-challenged middle-aged nerds compulsively thumbing their Treos and chuckling over jokes about post-structuralism. (Substitute “metadata” for “post-structuralism,” and you’d know why I like LITA so much.) I don’t know what the jokes will be at Bob’s talk, but I’m betting that in addition to illuminating the future as it is becoming and (or versus) as it should be, he’ll take a few jabs at several self-satisfied giants and leave us feeling we must all Do Something, Pronto, before it’s Too Late.

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