Archive for February, 2011

Dan Snyder is a Jerk

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 by thebibliophile
HE OBJECTS: Washington Redskins owner says a City Paper piece defamed him.

Dan Snyder

Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington, DC Professional Football team, hasn’t liked the (accurate) coverage of the Washington City Paper, in an article written by 20-year City Paper veteran reporter Dave McKenna. The article, “A Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder,” received overwhelming response on the local scene and from fans. It was, however, still a local story, from a beloved edgy local paper. Then Snyder decided to sue.

Now the Washington Post is covering it and the article, Snyder, and the debacles the article highlights, are getting national coverage.

I don’t even really like football like that. But I don’t like to see a local institution like the City Paper ganged up on…even when they run offensive cover pages of Marion Barry, it’s still the Washington City Paper.  And shout out to Mike Madden, still fairly new as Editor at City Paper, for handling his business – his response to Snyder’s accusation of an anti-Semitic cover to let him know when Snyder was “ready to go after the real anti-Semites,” is a classic zinger. And it pointedly draws attention to the fact that Snyder owns a team with a name that many find offensive and racist – anti-Indian if you will, and refuses to change that name.

Washington City Paper image of Dan Snyder

The cover is touchy. I agree with Mike Madden that the Snyder image is intended and drawn to resemble a devil – a high school graffiti.  And yet…Jewish people have long been depicted as devils. So it’s touchy. It goes right up to the line….however, I’ve seen depictions that are truly anti-Semitic; images that use age-old caricatures – and when I look at this image, I think its touchy, that it goes up to the line, but I don’t look at it and say immediately “it’s anti-Semitic.” I do look at it and think, this is touchy ground given the historic depiction of Jewish people throughout global history.” Additionally, the documentation of Snyder’s non-response to Asian actors auditioning at Six Flags being encouraged to “do a Jackie Chan impression,” suggests that Snyder cares about challenging racist behavior when it impacts only him…..which is a problem….in chocolate city….

In a stroke of genius, the paper has published all the letters it received from Snyder and his representatives. Washingtonians should raise money for the paper’s defense. Snyder is being a bully…And seems to have forgotten the First Amendment amidst his rage.

That said, I don’t like the constant references to Snyder’s height. It’s unfair – and part of a masculinity project that suggests to be a real man you have to have “real” height. Problematic.

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Libraries & Social Justice According to Phillip Pullman

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 by thebibliophile

Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam

 

“The public library, again. Yes, I’m writing a book, Mr Mitchell, and yes, I hope it’ll make some money. But I’m not praising the public library service for money. I love the public library service for what it did for me as a child and as a student and as an adult. I love it because its presence in a town or a city reminds us that there are things above profit, things that profit knows nothing about, things that have the power to baffle the greedy ghost of market fundamentalism, things that stand for civic decency and public respect for imagination and knowledge and the value of simple delight.”

                                                   – Phillip Pullman, Author

Author Phillip Pullman gave a stirring speech about the austerity cuts in Britain that are impacting public libraries. The speech is entitled, “Leave the Libraries Alone. You Don’t Understand their Value.”  It is a beautifully argued speech. What Pullman suggests is that there is a “market fundatmentalism,” a real belief that the Chicago School of Economics approach that the free market solves all, has convinced society that all things must bend to the market, be controlled by the market, and dictated by it. Pullman says that public learning matters more than profit, and in fact, is not about profit to begin with.

What a beautiful beautiful idea.