I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked... - Howl, Part I, Allen Ginsberg.
It's the end of what feels like a long month and here I am, quoting Ginsberg. This is for a combination of a few things. The first being that the newCardigan GLAM Blog Club theme is 'watch' and that line was the first thing that popped into my head (well, that and Watchman. Quis custodiet ipsos bibliothecam?). Secondly, I re-watched Hackers while I was in Melbourne for VALA, and lastly I'm feeling pretty down about libraries lately.
I wouldn't say I'm draging myself naked through the streets at night, but I am burning for a connection to that stary GLAM machinery. It's not just me though, I've been watching and listening to others and seeing those small cracks form in my fellow GLAMers. Unlike Ginsberg, GLAM types don't tend to pen gutwrenching odes in frustration, elicting imagry of pent up engergy and fighting against the self destructive nature of our profession. No, we tend to quietly quit and move on to other fields, leaving behind gaps that will never be filled (nor will people try to fill).
I've watched promising young GLAMers silently fade away due to the overwhleming status quo pushing against them. Their voices gone, their battles done, a field grown over. I see professional organisations stagnate due to people being elected for the chance to say "I was on a board". I look on as groups fail to question authority and ignore those who try to speak reason. I see collegues roll their eyes when people speak up and push back. I watch us do amazing things but speak nothing of it, waiting for praise to come to us instead.
I'm painting a dreaded picture here but that's on purpose. It's not enough to watch these things from the sideline anymore. I've often wanted to howl into the night air and vent my frustrations, it's far easier than doing something and feels pretty good too. If you like most only watch, then my dear angelheaded hipsters, watch what others do (or don't). Watch what actions people take when in positions of power. Look at those around you and watch for the cracks. See those jobs disapear into the night air, and howl into the night as frustration builds.
If you're throughly depressed by all this then I have a tonic for you. A ray of sunshine to counteract the bitter sweet enui. Angela Galvan's keynote at VALA 2018 was one that made me sit up and think 'I don't want to just watch anymore'.
Watch, and act.