Sunday, May 25, 2008

My son, the movie lover

Today, the family and I are planning to see the Indiana Jones movie.
It did not get wonderful reviews and I have no idea how my son will take it. He's 17, autistic and into movies with bad language, bathroom humor and nudity.

We told him it would be like the stunt show we saw at Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios. He said, "Cool."

He's reading right now, a book he'd read back in third grade. He said it's easy (it's a level 1 reader) and I wonder why he's reading it. He often does things that match what might have been done in a certain year. If the dates and days of the week correspond to the dates and days in bygone times, that's what sets him on his current course.

He's not stuck in the past, just exploring it.

Anyway with movies, when we took him to see a Star Wars movie (the one with Jar Jar Binks), he kept grabbing my arm, pressing the light-up button on my watch, wailing quietly, "it'll be over soon!"
Our hope was that he'd absorb some stuff for socialization on the playground. Oh well.

He was getting past certain babyish movies, not fully out of Disney animation (well, who is these days, Pixar rocks!), but We, the Grown Ups were starting to get tired of them.

Later that summer we all went to see "Austin Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me," and it was an eye opener. One friend criticized me for taking my little wee son to a movie with suggestive and somewhat bawdy humor and the occasional bad word. I thought she was nuts for taking her kids to see movies with more violence in them.

Anyway, it was one of my son's favorite movies. I think he got it into his template: "good movies=nudity, grossness, bad words and mom & dad laughing their heads off"

Friday, May 09, 2008

Can librarianship be conservative? I don't think so.

I've recently become acquainted with someone who wants to change the library profession. 

She's not a first-adopter. Rather she's conservative and wants librarianship values to be more in line with her personal ones. She reads Shush and other blogs listed in the sidebar there.

I understand some things about conservatism, and occasionally I share some of those views. 

I am not, however, a fan of President Bush, nor do I think that the United States is infallible in its national policies.

And I am staunchly liberal as a librarian. I believe in the right to read whatever, the right to listen to whatever. People who complain that we let youth check out R-rated movies don't understand that the ratings are NOT the law--they're self-imposed by the motion picture industry--including theaters. And I'd prefer that people who complain about this educate themselves about what their kids are watching.

Sometimes a PG-13 movie has violence that is more disturbing than a few cuss-words and a full-frontal.

My new acquaintance would like to impose restrictions in public libraries for this purpose. She thinks that when we don't, her values are being dismissed. 

I'll say that's all well and good for a private library, maybe a private school library or a church or synagogue library. But in a public library, we are open to all sorts of viewpoints. That is the beauty of liberalism: Liberals will support a conservative's right to her/his opinion and values and the public library is the place--both physically and symbolically where this support is most evident.

And so, I am wondering, if there are more like my new acquaintance out there and will they try to change the profession? Do they know that they shoot themselves in the foot if they impose restrictions on the right to read? Because first it's the right to read. Then it's the right to think for oneself.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Facebook Dilemma: Be nice to that nerdy girl

Say you're on Facebook, or some other social networking website. When you contact someone from your past or present, and click on that "Add Friend" button, how much time do you give them to respond before you start thinking they are not interested? 

And how many people do you add as friends, who are just lovely acquaintances, colleagues or folks you know who are just on Facebook? People you might see almost every day anyway?

In other words, is Facebook making you a better friend or a shallower one? For an interesting take on Facebook, please read Scott Dobson-Mitchell's excellent blog piece about how Facebook seems like a continuation of the kind of socialization you might experience in high school.

Maybe that's why I'm on Facebook. In high school, I was--or felt like I was--a socially outcast fat, braces-wearing nerd of a girl. In Facebook, while I don't feel like Ms. Popularity, I feel that I'm among friends and more in control of my destiny. You all can't see that I'm a pizza-face this morning, or in desperate need of exercise or abdominoplasty while I'm sending you some cyber refreshment or feeding your virtual pets.

And my friends are so kind on Facebook. They feed my pet, pet my cat and poke me, all in the nicest way. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with this at all. Is this because we are NOT f2f that we have to be extra nice to one another?

I give up. I like Facebook. I like the ease of social networking online. So please don't diss me if I send you some Good Karma, a Lucky Cat or a charming invitation to participate in something silly, but not morally reprehensible.

Just don't poke too hard.