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The Emperor Has No Clothes!

I do hope that everyone reading this knows the story of the little boy and the emperor. As an youngster I was already drawn to my present profession. I'm a librarian and I've been that for almost twenty years. Now I have to cry out... HELP!!! The whole system of public libraries or even books to read at school is becoming an absurdity. Gently but steadily we're heading into the mindless nothingness that is mediocrity. Libraries are spending their money now on games and gaming rooms, teachers ask their pupils to read pulp fiction, etc. Long time ago someone wrote that the center can't hold, well darlings, the center isn't there any more. There's nothing to hold us back to falling once more into a society in which high culture is only for the very few. The fact that really good writer's just pass away and aren't even mentioned any more is only symptom of the disease that is spreading all over the western world. Why, oh why, aren't there more people standing up. I want a Michael Moore for culture and the arts please whose books are a delight to read as Gore Vidal's essays were. Is essay writing dead by the way? No need to check if this content is inappropriate for children under 18 because it's very much their future that hangs in the balance now. More people need to make a stand against it all. Get the masses moving towards high culture is essential to the existence of our civilization. This will matter for our future, and nothing else will.
ValR ValR 41-45, F 4 Responses Aug 9, 2012

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We have been heading slowly towards mediocrity for some time. In the UK hundreds of branch libraries have been shut in the past three years and those that remain open have to appeal to the "market" by stocking mass appeal DVDs, games and CDs that you can find anywhere. There is no statutory duty for a local government to fund library provision. Professional librarians are being replaced by well-meaning, but unqualified, volunteers. No value is placed on learning for its own sake, for the transformative power of good literature for society. Culture is once more the preserve of a wealthy elite. We need libraries to stock good books and provide quiet advice and a gentle refuge for the enquiring young mind.

Essay writing may be dead outside of academia. Even if some people have the talent to expand an argument in prose, there seem to be fewer still with the patience or ability to understand what they have written!

The problem is that its the cultural capital that is gained in your youth that is used as the currency of progress when you get older, and those with it in high places don't want to share it around as they fear for their position, and the people that are lucky enough have some cultural capital and do want to extend it are not in high enough places.<br />
Some say its easier to control those who don't know what delights in culture are out there.<br />
The greatest tragedy in the world is the myth that there are no great books anymore. There are plenty of them, just gathering dust in a dirty warehouse somewhere, unread, and unloved.<br />
Release them, and give us back our culture!!

My impression is that anything really worth reading is "ob<x>jectionable" to someone who makes an issue of it if the book is in school or a tax-supported library. That makes dumbing down inevitable.

Some of my family has grown very rich with pig farming. The problem isn't the existence with the pig, the pig farm as such. It goes far further than just claiming that certain things aren't as good as others. I don't see the point of objecting to junk food, but I do see the point of objecting to the means that certain people employ to cover up the fact that fast and easy isn't necessarily the best. Why should anyone be without a good book to read, either at school or society at large. Is it better to keep opera for those people who deserve it? Is it more normal to claim that the ownership of knowledge is for the few people who have either the money or the breeding, or even both. My uncle the pig farmer lives an idyllic life with his castle, but I don't think that society will get any better with his taste in reading material or favorite music to boot. Don't the objectionable argument against me because I do know what I'm talking about. More and more children will get a poorer education and make society in the future the poorer for it. Don't try to insult me with only a few lines of meager English.

I think you mis-perceived the point of my comments.

Think anew, my friend.

Let me rephrase that: by reading your comment, there is no doubt that you did not understand my comment. My point was that any literature worth reading seeks to make a point. Given the high likelihood that someone will find that point "objectionable" and insist that the work be removed from circulation, it becomes very difficult for schools and public libraries to offer material of any value. Indeed, I read recently of a group of parents getting Alice in Wonderland removed from their local public library because they found something objectionable in it. This creates a strong negative incentive against making works of merit available and, instead, to substitute games and works so mindless that no one could find them objectionable. Pigs and pig farms don't factor into the analysis.

Lol... you're way to rational there. The point is that we all want our pork as cheap and as nice as possible. Nothing wrong there but then the pig farmer tries to cut corners and the damage is done. Libraries who buy into the gaming idea don't do it because of any objectionable argue but rather because of a false belief that it's giving what the majority of the people want. Total democracy is a dangerous myth. Although Alice in Wonderland is a nice children story there are reasons to think that the author went a bit over the mark in his hidden meanings. Perhaps the people who objected are too protective or even too political correct, they actually still care for the end result and not the instant satisfaction.

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Games in a library? Budgets are cut and they're buying games? The politicians really are forcing social stratification on the public.

Oh yes, gone are the days when kids of all layers of society would be stimulated to learn languages, to learn about the arts... Perhaps I do type many mistakes here but then again English is my fourth language. I don't see a timid child like myself years ago being motivated to reach for the stars any more. Rather shooting down stars in games or reading about the gossip of teenage stars. Why do children need to know about the weird social life of some of teenage celebrities? No, I bet that not many of the children in the not so distant future will even overcome dyslexia, like myself ages ago, to learn about the better things in life. Shame, shame, shame. More people need to stand up and say: j'accuse!!!