Tuesday, May 9, 2017

And you were only joking

I did not think I would be writing a blog post about Annoyed Librarian in 2017. On the one hand, I feel like it's a funny conceit whose time has come and gone--a librarian who has contrary takes on literally every subject in libraryland. You would think that Twitter has rendered this particular conceit obsolete, especially with the anonymous garbage fire Hot Take Machine that is LIS Grievances. Normally I would offer you a permalink, but that particular account is such hot burning garbage that you're on your own. But, much to basically everyone's chagrin, the Annoyed Librarian is still a thing.

Much like Drake, Annoyed Librarian started at the bottom. By which I mean that she (and I am using "she" instead of "they" because she identifies that way on her About page) published her blog on a Blogspot platform. And, much like Drake, now she's here. And by here, I mean she's publishing fairly prolifically on the Library Journal platform. There's something truly admirable, I suppose, about a blog that started in Aught Six still producing content all of these years later. I mean, the Unified Library Scene started in 2014 and some weeks a blog post never makes it to being published. So, props for her tenacity I guess.

Because we're still torturing this comparison: much like Drake, the Annoyed Librarian has kept it real from the jump. I mean, when hasn't she said what we were all thinking about how we, the Special Library Snowflakes, are just always going on about something dumb? It's her capacity to keep it real from the jump that makes Annoyed Librarian the hero we really all need right now. And does it really matter that her attempt at satire fall flat and come across as angry rants that remind us of Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud?

Old man yells at cloud

I mean, look, satire is hard to do well. It requires that the person writing the satiric piece have just the right tone. You have to write so skillfully that you can hold that contrary point of view and also let the audience know you're winking at them, that you're in on the joke. And sometimes when you're writing as much as Annoyed Librarian writes, you have to write quickly. And when you write quickly, you don't always have the the capacity to be that skillful.

You know the expression about good, cheap, and fast don't you?

Look, much like how boys tell stories about Drake, we like to tell stories about Annoyed Librarian. We like to say that she's toxic and not funny and that she's everything wrong with librarianship. Well, most of the time we forget she's a thing until we're forced to acknowledge her. And then we say she's toxic. And most of us are able to recognize poorly written satire when we see it (ahem) but some people aren't. I know you're not supposed to read the comments, but if you look at the comments of her most recent gem, a lovingly crafted satirical masterpiece about the Little Free Library movement, you can see that at least some people take her seriously.

I would like to say that Annoyed Librarian's time has come and gone but as long as Library Journal gives her space on their site, it hasn't. And probably we'll all go back to forgetting her until we remember her and yet another person will write yet another hot take about how damaging her brand of writing is for librarianship.

But until this time, maybe the Annoyed Librarian is the hero we all need. Probably not, but maybe.

Stay positive,

No comments: