Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More fallout from the ALA

Apparently the head of the ALA is apoplectic about the brewing controversy created when Andrei Codrescu verbally castigated the ALA leadership for failing to defend Cuba's independent librarians. Below is a message from Robert Kent, of the Friends of Cuban Libraries. Below that is a message that Michael Gorman of the ALA sent Mr. Kent. It's getting quite nasty. At least light is being shed on the ALA's hypocrisy.

To: Various
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:56 AM
Subject: Let the Library Bloggers Revolt Begin!
Dear webloggers:

After a prolonged period of simmering, a major story has exploded within the
ALA in the form of Andrei Codrescu's brave discussion of the Cuban library
issue during his Jan. 22 keynote speech at the ALA's San Antonio conference.
Below is an enraged message on this subject sent to the Friends of Cuban Libraries
on Jan. 27 by ALA president Michael Gorman. He also published it on the ALA
Council listserv, which presumably means his comments are in the public domain.

Gorman's message contains wild charges and distortions. As for his charge of
defamation, let him sue! Since when did telling the truth grounds serve as
grounds for a successful defamation lawsuit? And since when was an impartial
defense of intellectual freedom the preserve of "foaming rightwingers" and
"crackpots?" Using his logic, the people who protested Nazi book burning in the
1930's must have been limited to "foaming left-wingers." And as for his accusation
that Andrei Codrescu showed "rudeness" by raising the issue of library
repression, book burning and cover-ups at, of all places, an ALA conference, since
when was it rude for a guest to inform his host that his house was on fire?

We in the Friends of Cuban Libraries hope all of you, the webloggers who
specialize in library and intellectual freedom issues, will keep the public
informed of this sensational breaking story. Judging from past history, the
mainstream library press will give only feeble coverage to this very important issue,
so it is up to you to alert the public to the sad depths to which the ALA has
sunk under the influence of people such as Michael Gorman, Mark Rosenzweig and
Ann Sparanese. The well-meaning but negligent majority on the governing ALA
Council needs to wake up and take action to rescue the association from the

And please send me the e-mail addresses of other sympathetic library and
intellectual freedom bloggers, so I can urge them to join the ranks of your
principled revolt.

By way of background, Gorman refers to his ongoing refusal to answer my
messages to him. He is referring to the case of Victor Rolando Arroyo, a
distinguished Cuban journalist and librarian who is now serving a 20+ year jail term.
Like all of the Cuban librarians arrested in Castro's 2003 crackdown, Victor has
been named as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Late last
year Victor went on a hunger strike to protest prison conditions, and he was
near death in October. At that time I sent appeals to Gorman, asking him, out of
the goodness of his heart, to express compassionate concern for a fellow human
being who was near death. But Gorman contemptuously refused to respond to the
Friends' appeals to save Victors's life. Perhaps Victor was dismissed by
Gorman as just another "foaming right-winger" (along with Nat Hentoff, Ray
Bradbury and Andrei Codrescu). But thanks to the intervention of human rights groups,
the Cuban regime finally agreed to improve Victor's prison conditions, so he
ended his hunger strike.

A response to Gorman's Jan. 27 message will be issued in the near future by
the Friends of Cuban Libraries. We will keep you informed of new developments.

Keep up the fire,

Robert Kent
Co-chair, Friends of Cuban Libraries

Subj: Your latest misrepresentations
Date: 1/27/06 1:15:27 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: michaelg@csufresno.edu (Michael Gorman)
To: RKent20551@cs.com
CC: various

File: Kent,R.message,Jan272006.doc (30720 bytes)
DL Time (48000 bps): < 1 minute

Mr. Kent
Your "report," given below is entirely typical of your many utterances in the
past and of the behavior of your friend Mr. Codrescu. That is, it is
tendentious, riddled with inaccuracies, defamatory, and motivated by the kind of
foaming right wingery that is, alas, all too common in political discourse these
days. Just to begin with, I was not "stunned" by Mr. Codrescu's remarks,
though I was surprised as we had several conversations about what he was going to
say (and for which he was paid). The surprise was irksome for three reasons.
First, I am old-fashioned enough to think that it is both rude and devious to
accept an invitation to speak on a topic and use the opportunity to attack
your host (ALA). Second, I had based the second part of the program on my
response to some of what he had agreed to say and had to revise those remarks on the
fly, thus destroying the purpose of the meeting and letting down the audience
who had come to hea r about the topic advertised. Third, had he had the
elementary courtesy to tell me he was going to speak about Cuba, I would have been
better prepared to counter his mis-statements and false assertions.
I have not "repeatedly dodged" questions about Cuba. I have not chosen to
answer your fulminations but, then, I would have no time for my many other
duties if I were to engage in correspondence with every half-wit and crackpot who
communicates with me.

Mr. Codrescu seems to share your curious delusion that everyone who lends
another person a book is a "librarian." Few others do.

Congratulations on your tawdry little coup.

Michael Gorman
PS There is one near-true statement in your message. C-SPAN is going to
broadcast the event (I believe it's C-SPAN 2, but then who bothers about
accuracy?) MG


Robert said...

I love it when moonbats do the Texas two step when they're hit head-on with their hypocrisy.

beautifulatrocities said...

HA! Codrescu is just the one to bitch-slap these effete poseurs. As for Gorman, what a fucking unprofessional response