Sunday, June 04, 2006

Portrait of a Blogger as a Young Professional

I took ur advice and I'm chilling at the Chicago lib right now
the guy next to me is so dork hot...haha
There are alot of hot guys here actually ;) I know I must sound like a freak
but I'm done fucking with dumbasses
my pussy is now marked "information literate" only lol
lol...i can't believe i;m writing this to a librarian
you're not really a librarian are you ?
you're too young
but hey youre down you know what smart girls want
thats cool fucking shit man Thanks Mr. Zenpro

- College Student/blog lurker, 20, [via Instant Messenger]*
*Before anybody freaks out, I asked the student in question if it was okay to repost the content of the IM. I'll ask before I divulge private IM conversations containing private or personal information...

* * *

A few weeks ago, I received a rather nasty email from a fellow librarian who called me "a self-promoting disgrace to librarianship." The person in question suggested that I take my "burlesque and tawdry personal soapbox" off the AltLibrarian listing. Apparently, my "misogynistic rants and accounts of violent personal history" and "excessive use of profanity and gratuitous disregard for standard practices" are causing harm to the "sense of professional pride and betterment" some librarians feel is needed to promote "a more democratic and informed citizenry."

Well, holy fucking shit. Ask me if I give a rat's ass.

The author of said email suggested that I needed to be "reminded that librarianship faces too many challenges as a profession" to be "distracted by topless women, oversexed co-eds, blatant exhibitionists, and women of questionable dedication to Third Wave Feminism."

Insult my blog friends and readers with obsessive-compulsive, overly academic diatribes?

Time to bring some fucking pain.

* * *

That email has been bugging me for weeks. I'd open up that correspondence, hit reply, and stare at a blank Yahoo window for hours.

Maybe I'm a bit over-the-top. Maybe I shouldn't share so much information in such a public forum. Could it be that my ramblings have been negatively impacting the public perception of libraries and their purpose? Is this stupid personal weblog misrepresenting who I am at work, what I do for a living, the J-O-B?

I've had patrons cross the Cyberspace/Offline barrier, users who've felt just as comfortable asking for help on research projects as they are discussing Casanova kisses and their sex lives (or lack thereof). Maybe that should bother me, but, well, I guess I'm getting used to it.

I figured out a long time ago that most bloggers, in the real world, don't like to admit they are actually bloggers. Likewise, quite a few blog readers would rather not discuss the fact that they spend time reading the online journals of others.

Blogger/reader relationships are, at the primordial level, simply discreet rendezvous of knowledge. It is an intimate, yet very public, affair. The secrecy heightens the experience; the mysterious illusions created by simple CSS and HTML builds an almost sensual, downright seductive corner of the World Wide Web, a world of lovers and monsters, brutes and poets, heroes and villains.

Sometimes, people forget that there is always a very human wizard operating behind the curtains, controlling their own Emerald Cities in this so-called Blogosphere. Those wizards are flesh-and-bone, honest-to-God folks. They blog because they're lonely, curious, or simply bored. They blog because they want to share, to network with others, to document their corner of the Human Experience.

To insult those who blog or read blogs insults the very nature of information-seeking behavior. Humans are naturally curious; we instinctively seek answers to our questions in the same way we seek companionship and intimate relationships.

Advocating the restriction of one's desire to not only build upon their knowledge but to also interact with a world beyond their own is a much greater sin than any use of the word FUCK on this stupid blog.

The human need to answer those Why? questions in life is as natural and beautiful as great sex. What can I say? People have a innate desire to FUCK just as they have an innate desire to KNOW.

* * *

I'd just about given up on responding to that crazy email.

Then I receive an email from another colleague, some stranger whom I've never met. The subject line read simply "Thumbs Up." The email reassured me, at least, that I'm not the only one fed up with some of the batshit aspects of librarianship.

At the same time I'm re-reading the guy's nice message for the hundredth time, I'm sitting in a WiFi-friendly cafe, sipping on my bottomless mug of fairly-traded coffee. I'm supposed to be working on an article for another peer-reviewed journal, a follow-up to my previous scholarly endeavor.

I'm clad in flip-flops (I'm learning to wear them), a straw hat, and baggy jeans. I'm listening to a mix of the Dickies, Fort Minor, Ice Cube, Social Distortion, Billy Bragg, Ministry, and the Alkaline Trio through headphones, reading up on telecentre projects in Nigeria, illiteracy in the Sudan, and NFL star Ray Lewis's recent humanitarian trip to Sub-Saharan Africa.

I log onto Yahoo IM quickly to see if anybody's online. I find that a girl I've never met, some faceless, nameless college student from a university in central Indiana, sent me a long string of IMs while I was offline. Portions of that string appear at the top of this post.

I still have no fucking clue what advice I gave, exactly. Apparently we chatted online several months ago - I helped her figure out how to locate older research articles using print indexes.

Sure, I'm a bit unorthodox in how I maintain this blog and how I do my job. Fine - feel free to hate my methods. But I get the job done - online or off.

If a young woman is sitting in one of the nation's largest public library systems, spending her summer vacation checking out "dork hot" guys and tying information literacy skills to her sex drive, well, I think I've done my job.

I finally found the inspiration to respond to Ms. Your Blog Offends Our Mutual Profession:

Dear Ma'am,
I'm sorry you find the views expressed on my personal web blog offensive or crude. I'm sorry you feel the content is detrimental to the information sciences.

But I'm going to be frank here. A college junior just sent me a message indicating that she's macking on guys in a public library and has tied info. lit. skills to a guy's chances of getting into her pants. That blows my fucking mind. don't think she learned about information literacy through the READ campaign.

I'm sure your coworkers at your prestigious institution have been dying to say this to you, so I'll go ahead and say it...

Why don't you pull that high-and-mighty telephone pole outta your ass and find something productive to do with your fucking life. Try being a human being for once - it's kinda nice and I think library users appreciate librarians from THIS planet.

Jason _. ________, MLIS
The Zenformation Motherfucking Badass Professional

Just so you know, that's how we roll around here at the ol' ZenFo Pro homestead. I'm finally taking the Library Bitch's advice and laying the smack down on folks who treat blogging as some sort of invitation to launch personal and professional attacks.

I think Pia also gave me similar advice a while back - hell, she's been featured in major dailies - regarding lurking bullies.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read Miz Bohemia's awesome Titty-Sucking Loverboy Tales and Cooper's Journey to the Center of Batshit Reader Land now...

I guess I'm just mysogynistic and tawdry like that...

Oh...what the hell...just to piss off the prudish, stereotypical librarian types...



Miz BoheMia said...

..."sense of professional pride and betterment"...

Huh? Who actually believes that our mere writings, saying FUCK and the like and oh yeah, what we do with our genitals actually affect our work, our intellect and personal integrity... wait! Clinto and impeachment and the like come to mind... that misguided fool probably buys into such shit... and to call YOU a mysoginist was one of the funniest things I read cause it couldn't be farther from the truth!

Funny thing is I just read the line where you mention "Titty Sucking Loverboy Tales" (and thanks for the great and oh-so-fun plug by the way!) to Loverboy and I prefaced it with a description of the post and who you are, one of the adjectives used to describe you being feminist... but hey, I am a yoga teacher who likes to get laid and isn't afraid to demand it and pops her boob out in public on a dare and am proud of saying vagina and so then, what do I know? Oooh! Does that make me a woman of questionable dedication to Third Wave Feminism? Coming from the ZenPro hater that's a compliment fo sho! Sizzlin'!

Methinks Miss Hoity Toity Librarian needs a to get laid... and a nice and raunchy lay at that (see? I can hold back! I was about to say she "needs a good fuck" but I didn't!).

And hey, if no one beat me to it yet (because lord knows I can be somewhat verbose!), I AM FIRST!!!!

Erika said...

omg thats fucking awesome!!!!!
thanks for letting me proofead it and taking out my school name too.
lol i don't think of myself as being a feminist but yeah i love the Washington Center and i do get kinda horny checking out the guys there. The lobby is a really cool place and i can just relax and check my email.

yup you helped me find stuff in indexes. Its not hard really but it can be frustrating when you're looking for old stuff.

i'm not stupid and you aren't either. lol my information literate pussy is safe for now though :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I should laugh or cry at this. I've worked in public libraries for 13 years. I've caught kids doing the nasty in our bathrooms, grown men doing bad things on public computers and homeless guys talking to the reference collection. I'm not a librarian (I work in Cataloging) but I completely agree with you that some librarians need to lighten up a bit.

I'm occasionally offended by excessive swearing but its really none of my business what someone does with their own web page. It's a free country, after all! It seems a bit hypocritical for anybody working in a library to ask someone else to censor themselves.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the woman who wrote you worked at a college. I've never worked at a college library but I've heard some whoppers about people like this.

cooper said...

( "a self-promoting disgrace to librarianship." The person in question suggested that I take my "burlesque and tawdry personal soapbox" off the AltLibrarian listing. Apparently, my "misogynistic rants and accounts of violent personal history" and "excessive use of profanity and gratuitous disregard for standard practices" are causing harm to the "sense of professional pride and betterment" some librarians feel is needed to promote "a more democratic and informed citizenry.)


My I laugh at this?

Yea for baggy pants and flip flops.

KFigment said...

Aside from the whole flip flop movement....Right the fuck on!!!!! This is who and what you are. Despite what people try to deny what you do plays a huge role in who you are, from the way you respond to people to the way others see you. You are now and always have been a librarian. I equate that with someone with a vast amount of knowledge about many topics. Someone who always has the answer and if they don't they are more than willing to find it or help you find it.

You have been doing that for as long as I have known you. How many days and nights did we sit and talk over bad Village Inn coffee. Those conversations were seeking knowledge and understanding of each other and the world around us.

Isn't that what your job is all about? Isn't that who you fundamentally want to be? From everything I know the answers are yes.

People that will insult and demean you are the same ones that are not sure they are where they belong. The put up the front of "professionalism" to hide the fact that they are scared shitless that in 10 years they are going to wake up and realize that they hate everything about their lives.

You and I will never be there and I will never apologize for that so lay the smack down and keep up what you do best which is bring people information in a way that they don't even realize is a lesson.

Love and hugs


Anonymous said...

Tee hee!

I bought a license plate frame from the Curmudgeonly Librarian site that says: "I'm a librarian, and I WILL shush your ass!"

...esp. if you fart!


How's that for professionalism? :-)

Can't stand flip-flops, meself. They give me blisters in-between my tender swimmer toes. I'm sticking w/ my "goddamn hippie!" Birkenstock sandals.

Anonymous said...

Not a librarian but archivist...

Personally, I think librarians do need to just get laid sometimes. And I say fuck all the time in casual conversation. But what do I know? My staff actually LIKES me.

Bob Patterson said...

'I needed to be "reminded that librarianship faces too many challenges as a profession" to be "distracted by topless women, oversexed co-eds, blatant exhibitionists, and women of questionable dedication to Third Wave Feminism."'

Right. Have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up. We've had 30+ years of prudish and introverted nerds promoting the profession and where has it gotten us? Well, according to a recent job candidate the library science degree is in the top 10 lowest paying masters degrees. Lovely.

So forgive me if I say "fuck off!" if your blog is being cited as a distraction to the issues that face our profession.

Get a fucking clue.


kT said...

Hmmm. I worked in my college library. I blog and read blogs because people fascinate me and, really, is there a better source for this kind of first-person confessional?

I've only been reading your blog for a few weeks, but you don't strike me as a misogynist -- and I DO count myself a feminist.

The anonymity of being online, not face to face, offers a security that allows some bloggers to be more open and honest than they might be otherwise. But it also offers a false sense of power to people who want to be non-productively angry and destructive.

Fuck that.

The ZenFo Pro said...

You'd be surpised, actually, what goes through some library folks' minds. No clue - came out of nowhere. At first, I thought it was a joke. The full email, however, was like a frigging manifesto. What's really funny is I KNOW there are library employees who read those excerpts and thought, "OMG...that sounds like [insert name here]at my library!"

No sense in lying...anybody who's ever worked in a library knows there are quite a few, well, nuts in the Information Tree. Relatively sane people, I hope, still make up the majority.

The Feminism angle did seem a bit odd. I was actually a little afraid to post about it. Lol...hey, I'm a guy blogger and most of the people who swing by seem to be proud owners of vaginas ;)

She probably does, indeed, need to get laid. Actually, she needs to quit her library, invest in a vibrator factory, and just let all that energy out...

You are so welcome. And thanks for reading. I know some local college students - and some of my coworkers - think I'm a bit out there, but, well, I was in a meeting today involving information literacy and I had to FIGHT the urge not to not bring this up. Lol...I'd kinda like to keep my day job ;)

Seriously, that's awesome. Hey, and gals who know how to use print indexes to find shit are, well, damned sexy - so says the ZenFo Pro :)

Hey, your pussy's your pussy. Do with it what you want. Your body, your rules. Enjoy your summer vacation!

Feel free to laugh and cry. I did. Cried because I was laughing so hard, actually. the email bugged me, well, because its silly for someone to take the time to write somebody who they don't know about a web site they obviously don't like.

Lol...I won't confirm or deny the woman's type of library. Professional courtesy. I so want to, but, well...back when I started this blog and started getting emails from folks, I decided to keep that kind of information confidential, names and such as well. I also delete almost all emails related to blogposts (specifically ones addressed to "The ZenFo Pro" alias) on a regular basis - and I do respond. I use the same policy for my blog, ironically, as I do with real-world library patron emails - I protect user privacy and confidentiality.

Lol...maybe I need to get laid...hell...that sounds a bit OCD... ;)

Laughing my ass off, chica.

I figured you'd like the baggy jeans and flip-flops. I've been teased about my lack of diverse footwear...but I feel so nekked without boots.

* * * * *


ebbye said...

You do realise that despite all the bad press you seem to be getting; they are actually reading your blog!
It's the same bloody crap again and again, freedom of speech means that you can write what you like and if someone doesn't like it then don't bother reading it!
So my point is that you intrigue them and don't play up to the academic librarian stereotype...
thank god!

EsotericWombat said...

Man, well done. I should really get my ass in gear about being disreputable though. Can't help but think that if bloggers are getting alluded to in hatemail like that and I'm not one of them I've fucked up somehow.

Rock on, dude.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Kfig: know, being full of random shit isn't a bad thing - I'm starting to realize that it's not necessarily a bad thing.

And I do recall those trips to VI and Denny's (I always wonder what happened to our favorite "Hair Programmer" and his tendency to fall into skanky-ass "rabbit holes" fondly. I think a lot of my colleagues - the same folks who, oh, write bitchy emails, for example - reflect too much on their time spent studying in college and not enough time looking at how their lives have interacted with information through the human experience.

Building a wall of empty liquor bottles, having female roommates threaten to drag your hot-yet insane girlfriend out by her hair, writing power ballads for Jeffery Dahmer (Quasihomonecropheliac is still one of my GREATEST artistic masterpieces) just to shock 'n awe, and the like are just as much responsible for my own personal accumulation of knowledge as anything I learned in Library School.

And you know what? I know I'm not the only one. I once heard a LIS prof begin a rather lengthy description of the history of libraries by stating that librarianship was a racket - he'd become a librarian because, well, he had nothing to do after Vietnam and libraries were great places to "pick up women and zone out" in late 1960s.

Um... I don't think its a coincidence that LSU's SLIS program attracted just as many former French Quarter bartenders, tattooed peircing guys, local indie music legends, former Wild Children, etc., as it did stereotypical library folks. Hey, somebody has to produce the Badass Arsenal of Motherfucking Intellectual Liberty and Freedom.

(lol...I so hope one day there's a professional org called B.A. M.I.L.F... ;)

MM: there's two votes against the flip-flops and one Yea vote? ;)

Whoo-hoo. Cross-disiplinary pollination...that rocks! And I do have more training in archival preservation, so that just warms my burlesque lil heart.


Hey, thanks for the support!

Is it too late to nominate ya for L-person of the year?

Hey, thanks for commenting! Yeah, people blog because they generally like people. Unfortunately, there seems to be a contingent of people who believe blogs are somehow about professional development or other horseshit.

Pu-Leaze! Like I'm gonna add the ZenFo Pro blog to my resume...

Blogs do offer a lot of freedom and basically serve as a media best suited for preserving the individual experience - personal, almost archival documentation of honest-to-God human beings. That's cool.

Sadly, there are folks who take the Web way too seriously.

I checked out your blog - awesome page! Thanks for the linkage, too! It will be returned assoon as Blogrolling is functioning again...

- MORE -

Cowgirl said...

OMG this is fucking hysterical. One of my favorite posts.

You are learning to wear flip flops? *gasp*

kendra said...

i always thought the altlibrarian webring was a refuge from the bunheads. don't tell me they took it over too!

this is why i need to get into library school and fight the stereotype.

kT said...

Oh, if we're voting on the flip-flops? I vote Hell No. Especially if the alternative is boots.

Boots are sexy guy footwear. Flip-flops are not. Just my opinion, of course.

Casey Kochmer said...

thanks this made me laugh

blarg, damn ether space ate my first post answer... wonder if there is a index somewhere in the blogsphere of all the lost posts?

Tell it as it as! Life is to be live so live it.. Its amazing how stuck up people get, so its good for you to tell it at face value. This is such a prudish society and it bothers me that people can't relax and accept their human nature rather than forcing some stupid overlay of a fake social nature... gads it frustrating! They won't listen, it takes years to shove a telephone pole that far up the ... and so its not an easy operation to get it removed but at least by speaking out in truth perhaps we all can begin to shift the silliness of society to be more realiztic...

The ZenFo Pro said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by! And the pick-me-up...

Hey thanks, man.

Yup. Learning foot at a time ;)

Yeah, they find every inch of cyberspace, sadly. They may HATE the very existence of the World Wide Web, but, well, they are always looking for more shit to bitch about.

Congrats on Library School. Rock on!

Lol...yeah, prefer boots, myself. But someone told me I should probably relearn to be a bit more flexible in how I dress...

No flip-flops at work, however. There's the whole safety thing...OSHA regs, etc.

Casey: prob. Yeah, blogger was misbehaving last week...some sort of server malfunction.

Yeah, I wonder if there IS a hidden corner of the blogosphere where posts disappear like socks in a dryer...

Christina said...

You probably did more for information literacy in a few IMs than most librarians do in a year (me included)!

Keep up the good work.

I'd stick with the boots, but then again, I'm always dropping things and stubbing my toes.

And to your librarian correspondent: wtf?

Anonymous said...

Good smackdown, brother. Sometimes you just need to draw a line. Especially when it comes to the stereotypical prudes who are so wrapped up in themselves that they think they encompass the whole of whatever it is they do (in this case, librarianship).

Sometimes it takes a good smack to send them back into reality.

I've been lucky of late not to receive as many attacks as I used to, primarily because I've been drifting in and out of cyberspace the past few months. But I'm settling back in right now, so we'll see if satire draws as much fire as rants about the biz did. Should be fun.

You are who you are, bro, and cannot be nothing other than that - hell, it's why we keep reading. Rock on.

Peace, J

PBILibrarian said...

You rock