Critical Linking

Critical Linking: January 9th, 2012

Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

Bowheads seem to be recovering from the harvest of Yankee commercial whaling from 1848 to 1915, which wiped out all but 1,000 or so animals. Because the creatures can live longer than 200 years — a fact George discovered when he found an old stone harpoon point in a whale — some of the bowheads alive today may have themselves dodged the barbed steel points of the Yankee whalers.

There are whales alive today that were alive when Melville wrote Moby-Dick. I don’t know why this blows me away, but it does.

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My problem with Wolf is longstanding and is not about how she looks or climaxes – but it is about how she thinks, or rather doesn’t. She comes in a package that is marketed as feminism but is actually breathlessly written self-help. Her oeuvre, if I can use this word, is basically memoir, in which she struggles to tell some heroic truth that many others have already told us. The great trick is to present this material as new, and to somehow speak on behalf of all women when she is infinitely privileged and sheltered.

That’s just one of the contenders for The Hatchet Job of the Year.

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This category in can be broken down into various subcategories. We have sexual harassment, we have mentally ill patrons, we have fights and drunk people and screaming kids. And it’s not just “problem” patrons that make it stressful, either. Librarians often act as a sounding board for people who just need to talk, and sometimes that can be stressful on us. It’s not easy hearing about a woman who has lost her home or how a kid’s father is in jail, etc. We are there for people, as we should be, but we are human too and it all takes an emotional toll.

I’ve noticed this in my local library; librarians are on the front lines of dealing with people the rest of us try to avoid dealing with.