Statues and Titles and Bears, Oh My

Yours truly, the angry feminist metadata librarian, has re-found herself to be an accidental-archivist in a national archive these days.* And boy, oh boy, I hear we are now globally worried about Erosion of History. As if there’s a pandemic or a crisis. I hear that we are worried about removing statues. About removing titles – classic titles! – or attaching a slide clarifying the context and background of said titles. How can one stay silent in times like this? Our common legacy is being cancelled.

Or so I hear. So, just to set the record straight: removing a statue or giving extra background info to Gone with the Wind is not, by any mean, cancelling/eroding history. But hi, you know what is?

Limiting access to government papers and decisions is erosion of history.

Defunding archives and museums is an erosion of history.

Destroying historic buildings and communities is an erosion of history.

Defunding history studies and humanities studies is an erosion of history.

Letting people is power to get away with blatant lies about the past, and allowing newscorps to repeat these lies because of “neutral reporting” is to erode history.

And, just so we’ll be clear about the censoring/book burning allegory: Libraries are weeding out books constantly because they are not temples to books nor mass book storage. Yes, public opinion is one factor in the consideration. So if you like a book – borrow it! It’ll help to keep it in circulation. If you love a book – buy it! Then it’ll be on your shelf. There is no endless shelf space in libraries, but nobody is burning books. It’s bad for the environment, and it’s bad karma.

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*(Oy, where have I been in the last *checks notes* three years? Here, there, everywhere. Still around, doing similar things in slightly different azimuths. Amazing that you’re still subscribed here. It is lovely to see you again).

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