on Opinions

Barring very abnormal circumstances, most humans have opinions and assholes. There’s a subset of humans that like to display these things, both opinions and assholes, for all to see. The internet makes that “all to see” a much larger group than back in a pre-mediated age when you had to actually find a person to be bored by their yammering about what should be done about all the corpses they were dumping in the bog, or to get a peek at their intimate orifices.

The idea behind this blog (especially things in the Library category) is to talk about how I’ve seen the library world work. That’s an accretionary picture and I think it’s important to complain about things and to talk about awesome things, to approach some sort of truth. Inevitably this gets blurred into my opinions and the way I have perceived things, making any truth somewhat subjective. I realize that.

In the past I’ve gotten in trouble for both stating the objective facts of events and for expressing my subjective perceptions. So what is a boy to do if he wants to tell you what his world looks like? Report only inoffensive things, I suppose. Write without passion. Be a public relations organ. These approaches would keep the asshole quotient down, but I can’t do them, not if I have anything to contribute. Saul Alinsky asks and answers something similar in his Rules for Radicals:

Why not use other words – words that mean the same but are peaceful, and do not result in such negative emotional reactions?…As we use purifying synonyms, we dissolve the bitterness, the anguish, the hate and love, the agony and the triumph attached to these words, leaving an aseptic imitation of life.

I agree. If I self-censor here and blandify my stories down to fitting some beige “professional image” we have all lost. Maybe that sounds overwrought but it seems important to depict life as accurately as I can.

But. I also recognize that people don’t want their names associated with their (possibly unflattering) actions for all time on the inter tubes. Not everyone lives in public. That’s why the stories here don’t refer to coworkers or library branches by name, and any individuals are referred to by a general descriptor only (my favourite is Beard Lady, who does not actually have a beard). Obviously, you might be able to pick out some of the characters (especially if you work with me). But this blog isn’t really for my coworkers. It’s for people who want to know what the library world looks like from the inside. More specifically, what my library world looks like, and that is a very idiosyncratic, opinionated, profane, probably self-contradictory thing.

Since writing that I’ve gone through my professional training and been beiged out just a touch. Nowadays you’ll find even fewer stories about characters you could pick from a lineup. Here’s the post where I explain myself a bit about that.

All of this is just to say, my name is Justin Unrau and all of the opinions/cloacae I’m sharing here are mine alone, and not those of my employers, past present or future. Thank you.

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