I feel a prick

“I’m not good with a needle. . .

Every time I put my hands in my pants I feel a prick.”

Strange how those little moments of movie dialogue make the world make sense. One of the hazards of the “Shandy style” is being misread. Loren, you’re right. Disagreement doesn’t bother me. It would be nice however, if they were disagreeing with what I said rather than what they thought I said.

Speaking of disagreement, take a look at this flopnozzle. When I was still planning on an MLS, I found out that a fellow I just mentioned below, Dr. Jim Parins, had library science as a minor on his Ph.D. in Victorian Literature. He told me that it was the single most practical thing that he ever did in his program. He now is one of the people who runs the American Native Press Archive. One of my favorite projects as an undergrad was contributing a text to their online presence, The Poems of John Rollin Ridge. Who knows, I may still go after an MLS. I think librarians are cool, myself. To each his own. Thanks Sharon. The first thing I told my kids in starting to do their research was to befriend the reference librarians. They are always among the smartest people on any campus. You can stump the specialists easily, but the librarians, well . . .

Librarians are usually the best source of information regarding the debate over intellectual property, but I just received a great link from a tech writer: The Mouse that Ate the Public Domain. I really like the point made at the end of the article, that a large public domain is essential to the health of the arts. That’s the key thing about libraries. They make borrowing possible. Intellectual property is a thorny topic, but one thing is sure:

Borrowing is ubiquitous, inevitable, and, most importantly, good. Contrary to the romantic notion that true genius inheres in creating something completely new, genius is often better described as opening up new meanings on well-trodden themes.

As usual, he uses the Romantics as the bad guys (so, what else is new?) and simplifies their perspective. Coleridge, for example, in his concept of the secondary imagination suggested that artistic creation happens when something divine is combined with something which preexists in our sphere of reference. Completely new? Nah, just inspired. The Romantics were all constantly inspired by borrowings, just as we are now.