April 17, 2019

AT THE INTERSECTION OF FAHRENHEIT 451 AND THE NOTRE DAME FIRE: Don’t Oppress My People With Your Public Libraries! As David Thompson writes:

Further to recent rumblings in the comments, Captain Nemo steers us to the Twitter feed of Library Journal, a “global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators,” and which proudly directs its readers to the mental exertions of Ms Sofia Leung:

Our library collections, because they are written mostly by straight white men, are a physical manifestation of white men ideas taking up all the space in our library stacks. Pause here and think about this.

Ms Leung, an academic librarian, is unhappy that public libraries in the US, a white-majority culture with a white-majority history, tend to have, among other things, lots of books by authors with pale skin. This, we’re told, is an “interesting mini-eureka moment” that our Queen of Intersectional Rumination feels compelled to share. When Ms Leung discovers that public libraries in China and South Korea have quite a few books by Chinese and Korean authors, I’m sure she’ll be equally aghast. Every bit as offended.

Ms Leung airs her distaste for “white men ideas” — as if they had been uniform across continents and throughout history — while reminiscing about attending a “white AF conference” two years earlier. I was unsure what the “AF” might refer to and searched for some literary or scholarly explanation. It then occurred to me that a “white AF conference” is, to borrow the woke vernacular, a white as fuck conference. Which is how not-at-all-racist academic librarians convey their thoughts, apparently.*

Rod Dreher describes Ms. Leung’s actions as “A Smokeless Cathedral Burn:”

Do you not see what’s happening here? Those who control a culture’s memory control its people. Sofia “Social Justice Work Is Library Work” Leung wants to throw certain books down the memory hole because they are racially impure. If this catches on, then some sane institutions stand to inherit some valuable books tossed out by woke universities … unless Sofia Leung Thought requires the burning of those whiteness grimoires so they can’t pollute the minds of others ever again.

Why can’t universities simply expand their collections to include books and documents from a greater diversity of writers, scholars, and artists? If Leung was calling for that, who could possibly object? Not me. But she’s not calling for that at all. She’s calling for getting rid of books and documents that incarnate “whiteness,” whatever the hell that is.

As Ray Bradbury wrote in the introduction to the 50th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451, “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches.”

* Curious how the mainstream left sounds increasingly like the mirror image of the alt-right, huh?

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Remember, when taxpayers tire of supporting this sort of “woke” academic bullshit, we’ll be told that it’s because of “anti-intellectualism.”

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