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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

For the record, folks...

Note: the following is reprinted from a comment I added to the previous post. I am putting it here in its own space, on the front page, hoping that I will be able to answer a couple of questions and stop deleting comments. Please, play nicely.

First: This is a personal blog, my cyber-home away from home. My playground, my rules-- and I have no patience with nasty commentary. I have generally allowed anonymous postings because I believe in free discussion; but I insist that it remain civil. If you are rude, or use foul language or racial or ethnic slurs, or otherwise exhibit an unacceptable lack of self-control, I have no inhibitions about deleting your post. As Fr. Jake says, "if your behavior would cause me to show you to the door in my home, I will do so here as well." If the uncharitable comments continue, I will invoke my right to filter them via comment moderation.

Second: I am a real person, an Episcopal priest serving a regional ministry in south central Montana. You may check the Diocese of Montana's website to verify this. I do not post anonymously.

Third: This is not a hearsay story, nor will you find it on Snopes or Urban Legends. Whether you choose to believe it or not, I am telling you what I myself saw and heard, and I have no interest in lying about either. I do not have a copy of the letter. I will ask the librarian about the possibility of scanning it, but whether she allows me to do so will be entirely up to her. This is a small town library, and she may not be interested in participating in this discussion.

Finally: Despite what you might assume from the titles, the books in question are not encouragers of Muslim extremists or terrorists. They are, in fact, Evangelical Christian suspense novels-- described by a friend of mine as "Tim LaHaye meets Tom Clancy." Do your homework, please, before you jump to conclusions or (literally) judge a book by its cover.

6 Comments:

Anonymous MoonScryer said...

I like RoboBishop :)

As to your comment on the previous entry: unfortunately people on the Internet feel the need to bandwagon the PROOF! PROOF! PROOF!! bus before it even leaves the station and call anything w/o a DNA sample in it inaccurate and FUD. There is little to no way to deal with them at times, but at least you are willing to try.

I read some of your other entries - nice blog.

January 11, 2007 6:26 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, PROOF! Because anyone can and will post anything on the internet, and no one is so good they can detect nonsense the instant they see it. It's like the old game of Telephone-- remember, one person whispered something to their neighbor, and so on down the line, and the last person had to say out loud what they had heard and it was never what the first person had whispered? That's the internet and email forwards-- a big game of telephone. Why do you think sites like Snopes exist?

Librarians are out on the internet eight hours a day and see these kind of stories (and all sorts of other "information") constantly. That's why we have a higher standard of proof. It's not that we want a DNA sample or that we don't believe you. It's that a very good library is being slandered without the opportunity to defend itself. Did you ever ask Billings what they sent? It's a pity you should post this kind of thing on an otherwise interesting and well-written blog.

January 11, 2007 9:23 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you or the librarian ever consider that someone (for example, a patron) could have put a letter in the book as some sort of sick joke? That while the book came from the Billings library, they may be entirely unaware of it and have nothing to do with it? I think a scanned copy of the letter would be a good idea.

January 11, 2007 9:41 AM  

Blogger Samantha said...

I'm a librarian at U of Montana and heard about this through librarian.net. I've been contacting my colleagues this morning to find out what's going on and here's what one at Billings Public had to say:

"I can tell you no such letter was issued from this library. The specifics regarding the letter, its sender and the book(s) in question aren’t really there in the blog post. I wouldn’t rule out one of our patrons leaving something in a book as a political statement, though. It’s been done before. Frankly, the library staff wouldn’t have the time to do this even if we had the inclination. (And we don’t!)"

I’ll let you know if I hear anything else. I'm pretty active in intellectual freedom issues in the state and nationally and we are looking into this.

January 11, 2007 10:34 AM  

Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...

I am not speaking for the author of Hoosier Musings here, but is it possible that the posting was not intended to be "late breaking news" or an opportunity to unearth some ungly truth. It is possible that some of us just blog to share stuff with our friends.

Just sayin'.

January 11, 2007 11:31 AM  

Anonymous Tim J. said...

Jane, thanks for your message via Mark; all the same, sorry to have indirectly made you the center of a surprisingly large amount of opinion. Well handled on your part, though, I must say. You're a credit to bloggers.

Hopefully a few more people get it into their heads that, as Bruce and Tripp have pointed out in various places, you just related an event from your day to what you thought was a few friends, with no journalistic or political intent or ambition.

January 11, 2007 12:00 PM  

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