‘Tain’t funny. Never was.

I don’t think this will be a blind item for anyone on Web4Lib, and I’m not going to get into that discussion directly. After all, I’m not a Code4Lib person: Never was, and am really not likely to be now.

[Note added 12/20: I’m not a Code4Lib person because that’s not where my interests lie. That has nothing to do with the nonsense, which came from a non-Code4Lib person in any case.]

Nor, for that matter, is the Tailhook candidate who said something offensive, made a truly offensive joke of it later…and then proceeded to keep refining modifying that stupid joke. (I’m sorry, but “refining” is the wrong word. No matter how much gold leaf you apply to excrement, you’ve still got…well, you know.)

I don’t intend to apologize on behalf of my entire gender. I sure don’t intend to apologize for people of primarily Northern European ancestry. There are schmucks of all genders and all ethnicities. There are people who just don’t know when to shut the fark up.

They should, maybe, learn.

I was doing some backchannel communication as this thread went on, looking for someone who might be acquainted with the primary offender and could tell him to put a lid on it. No luck. Too bad.

I would make a comment about Neanderthal attitudes, but I see no reason to insult Neanderthals.

I will say this: Any time there is a professional gathering at which any group–whether it’s women, blacks, Jews, short people, old farts like me, or people with fashion sense–is made to feel uncomfortable for who they are (where they are), something’s wrong. “You’re not one of us“–usually not said–is a powerful and dangerous message. Steps taken to write those wrongs, particularly steps that don’t directly harm other groups, are usually good things. Objections to those steps ought to be thought about long and hard…and resorting to asinine humor is rarely the end result of long, hard thinking.Oh, and claims of indirect harm because of positive steps for others that don’t directly benefit you: You might want to think that through a little better as well. There are substantial indirect benefits when more groups receive equitable treatment and feel as though they belong–unless, of course, you’re insecure enough to need others to look down on and exclude.(Remember back when I said I couldn’t understand how my marriage to a woman could in any way be lessened by same-sex couples being able to formalize their love? Different example, but maybe the same situation. And yes, I still believe that.)

6 Responses to “‘Tain’t funny. Never was.”

  1. Jon Gorman says:

    I’ve attended the past two conferences and been on the mailing list. I’ve enjoyed the conference and It saddens me a bit to hear that you would decide not to attend a conferenced based on comments from people who…

    a) Aren’t on the code4lib mailing list or have ever had much interaction with the community. (Stab in the dark, but if they were I’d imagine they would have responded on that list, not web4lib).

    b) Haven’t been to a code4lib conference. I haven’t double-checked the attendance list for 2006, but I did for 2007 and they’re not on it. Given their relative lack of involvement on other fronts I can only hope that they’re not interested in attending.

    c) Are deriding and making fun of efforts that are coming from people who have been involved with the conference and are taking purposeful steps to try to address the issue that some in the community have seen the previous conferences as uninviting.

    I probably should just keep out of this whole mess. But what sadness me is that the only way that people involved with code4lib could have avoided this would have been not to offer these scholarships. I can’t imagine that these people would have responded differently to the same type of announcement coming from another group of people in an attempt to encourage diversity in LITA or similar.

    I guess I want to ask, are you planning on staying a “Web4lib” person, whatever that would mean?

  2. Jon Gorman says:

    I thought I should leave one follow up. I’ve only responded in this particular forum because you’re not the first person who I’ve heard associating the comments made by the certain individuals with code4lib. In other words, this post was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Ross Singer and K.G. Schneider have already offered some good arguments on the mailing lists why the conference shouldn’t be equated with the behavior of individuals on the web4lib list. I probably should have just posted links to their comments.

    I took it somewhat personally probably because I’ve stepped up to try to be a chair of the social activities. Really a chance to try to help organize the social activities this year more than anything. The said happy hour is something provided by the hotel, not by the conference. I’m a happily married man and plans for social activities at the conference certainly don’t come near what was implied. Members of code4lib were insulted and derided as well as just women in general.

    Indeed, my job of organizing social events is off to a great start, mainly due to the efforts of other people who who have stepped up to the plate. Excellent help has come from both women and men. (I make no claims on matter of minorities as I have not met them all in person). It would be a great loss if any of them left over this.

  3. walt says:


    That’s what happens when you (well, when I) post while upset.

    The fact that I’m not a Code4Lib person and not likely to become one has nothing, zero, zilch to do with the nonsense from a third party (who, I assumed from the start, was not a Code4Lib person).

    Code4Lib people appear to be doing the right thing with the two scholarships. My applause.

    The reason I’m not a Code4Lib person is (a) I’ve never attended, (b) over the last few years, I’ve been a lot less involved in actual coding–in tech at that level–than I was, say, from 1968 through 2000 or so, (c) when I was on the list or at least viewed postings, it was at a level probably appropriate for the name but one where I couldn’t contribute much of anything (or even necessarily understand the conversation).

    The key phrase that probably confused you–and I can see why it would–is “am really not likely to be now.”

    Which is to say: I’m really out of the systems game entirely at this point. I’m mostly writing, editing and investigating. It’s me–it’s not Code4Lib.

    Yes, I’m still a Web4Lib subscriber–because a lot of what I do concerns use of the web in libraries, but not at a coding level.

    Apologies for the ambiguity.

  4. Jon Gorman says:

    Afterwards I suspect that’s what you probably meant, hopefully you didn’t mind the lecture too much.

    I can certainly understand the reasons for not going to Code4lib that you gave and I’m glad it’s not due to some of the reason’s I’ve heard other people give to not attending.

    Meanwhile, here’s to hoping web4lib still averages out to the pretty decent list it’s been in the past ;).

  5. Jon Gorman says:

    I meant to say “I suspected”, of course ;).

  6. walt says:

    Lecture? No lecture. You provided a worthwhile clarification and helped to distance Code4Lib from this particular sore point.

    And no, I’m not ready to throw out the list over one repeated bit of nonsense. Never have been.