Library Juice 4:47 - December 27, 2001
- A Stand for Freedom "@ your library"
- ia/ - News for Information Architects
- 2600 Wins Ford Lawsuit - Right to Link Upheld
- Veecks vs. SBCCI
- Freenets getting a new lease on life
- _September 11: Contexts and Consequences_ (book)
- 2001 Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award
- KATIE SIERRA
- Interesting articles in the Atlantic Monthly
- Antiwar high-school students struggle to be heard
- Saying Goodbye to Patriotism
- "How the Feds Stole Christmas"
- Amusing searches for December 2001
Quote for the week:
"It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged
to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad."
-- James Madison
Personal homepage of the week: Kate Williams
1. A Stand for Freedom "@ your library"
An editorial by John Berry
"...Fortunately, neither ALA nor any other organizational champions of
civil liberties have taken that bad advice to keep a low profile. ALA
leaders, including past, current, and future presidents Nancy Kranich, John
W. Berry, and Mitch Freedman, have come out strongly against many of the
"Still, I have to agree with [Mark] Rosenzweig that the association and
the profession are neglecting the urgency of the current situation. Our
commitment to free expression and free access for all citizens to
uncensored information and to all opinions cannot take a 'low profile' now.
It is these rights for which we go to 'war.' We must be louder and stronger
in their defense when these rights are threatened...."
From Priscilla Schontz
LIScareer.com is a new website offering career development resources for
librarians, information professionals, students & those considering an LIS
career. The site was designed as a companion to the book Jump Start Your
Career in Library and Information Science and is loosely structured around
the same topics: career planning, job hunting, experience, education,
interpersonal skills, networking, mentoring, leadership, and publishing.
The site, like the book, is primarily aimed at newer librarians and
students, but I hope the advice and resources may be useful to you at any
stage of your career. The site is intended to help you better manage your
career so that you can do what satisfies and interests you. The site will
include practical advice contributed by information professionals, links to
online resources, and information about print resources. LIScareer.com
welcomes contributed articles and suggestions. Please see the Article
Submission Guidelines if you'd like to contribute!
About the Webmaster
I developed an interest in career management and professional development
for new librarians and students through my involvement with the American
Library Association New Members Round Table, through my own experiences
(and experiments) as a new librarian, and through my contact with other
information professionals (new and experienced) who continually inspire and
encourage me. I have 15 years of (pre- and post-MLS) experience in
academic, public, and special libraries. In January 2002, I begin a new job
at the University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch. I am honored to be a
Past President of ALA NMRT. I edit the Serials Review column "Bits and
Bytes" and am working on a new book for Scarecrow Press. For more about
me, see my resume.
- Priscilla K. Shontz
3. ia/ - News for Information Architects
This is primarily a weblog for information architects, on the slashdot
model. Additional sections include "user blogs," "collaborative book,"
"forum," and "newsfeeds." I would call it the LISNews of Information
ia/ is by Michael Angeles
4. 2600 Wins Ford Lawsuit - Right to Link Upheld
On December 20, a ruling was issued denying Ford's complaint against 2600.
Last April Ford Motor Company sued 2600 Enterprises for pointing
fuckgeneralmotors.com at their website. The judge's decision reaffirms the
right of domain name holders to point their websites where they choose.
While the court avoided ruling on important First Amendment issues, it
flatly rejected all of Ford's trademark infringement claims. "This is a
decisive victory and we are absolutely delighted," said attorney Eric Grimm
who argued the case for 2600. "The court ruled consistently with the law
and all precedent."
In an eleven page decision, Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern
Michigan District Court dismissed each of Ford's claims. Ford had asserted
that hyperlinking to their website or referring to it in DNS records
constituted a variety of trademark violations. Judge Cleland rejected
Ford's twisted interpretation of the trademark act, which claimed that by
disparaging Ford's mark and preventing it from "fully exploiting the value
of its mark" 2600's actions constituted a commercial use. The decision goes
on to draw a distinction between cases in which a trademark was included as
part of a domain name, and this case in which "Defendants only use of the
word "ford" is in its programming code, which does no more than create a
hyperlink--albeit automatic--to Plaintiff's "ford.com" site." He later
adding that "programming code, unlike the unauthorized use of a trademark
as a domain name, does not inhibit Internet users from reaching the
websites that are most likely to be associated with the mark holder."
The court further strengthens the right to hyperlink by stating that
"Trademark law does not permit Plaintiff to enjoin persons from linking to
its homepage simply because it does not like the domain name or other
content of the linking webpage." Finally the court held that given the lack
of "connection with goods or services," the standards for unfair
competition are "not satisfied simply because a prospective user of the
Internet may face some difficulty in finding the home page he is seeking."
2600 would like to thank Eric Grimm for doing a fantastic job on very
short notice, and breaking our longstanding tradition of judicial defeat.
We'd also like to thank the Electronic Frontier Foundation for their
continued support and all of our readers who have donated their time and
money towards this case.
5. Veecks vs. SBCCI
In Library Juice 4:18 I had a bit on a scary development in copyright: the
copyrighting of laws and regulations:
That's correct, laws and regulations that govern our lives, if they are
written by consulting firms or other non-governmental organizations, are
being copyrighted. This means that online access to them is limited to
those who can pay. I run into this problem occassionally at work. Title
24 of the California Building Code is copyrighted by a private firm; the
state of California is therefore constrained from releasing it to someone -
a builder, for instance - who needs the information. That person would
have to purchase a copy from the publisher at a pretty high price (or
borrow it from a library that has purchased it). It is not online on
California's websites, and it is not in Lexis Nexis. There is just a note
saying it is not present. This phenomenon is becoming relatively common.
However, it is not necessarily The future Disposition of the Law: the
courts are looking at it.
An important case relating to the copyrightability of laws and
regs, Veeks vs. SBCCI, is being reheard on January 23rd in the 5th Circuit
Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Lots of info about this case, including legal briefs and links to
press reports, is available at http://regionalweb.texoma.net/cr/ .
6. Freenets getting a new lease on life
For many Americans, an Internet connection has become a critical tool, but
many cannot easily afford it. With standard access rates averaging more than
$200 a year, it's easier for people of limited means to get a computer than
it is to maintain an Internet connection. As most free commercial Internet
providers have bit the dust, the freenet movement is being resurrected in
America, after years of decline. Freenets, which offer cheap or free
Internet service and are usually staffed by volunteers, began in Cleveland
in 1986. Over the next decade, thousands of community-based network
providers sprang up all over the country. But when companies such as Juno
and NetZero started giving away Internet, most of the freenets withered
away. A few survived, however, and with the need for low-cost Internet
access still acute today, these organizations are answering the call.
[SOURCE: La Times, AUTHOR: Dave Wilson]
7. _September 11: Contexts and Consequences_ (book)
610-page quest to understand Sept. 11 a surprise hot seller
Grad students' anthology gives events context
"Like many people, we felt compelled to respond," McIntyre, 28, said. "We
wanted to understand this tragedy. So we turned to what we know best."
What the University of California at Berkeley doctoral students know best
is anthropology -- the study of humankind. They dived into piles of
scholarly and literary works in a quest to fathom the disaster.
The result is "September 11: Contexts and Consequences," a 610-page
anthology that combines a history of the Middle East, terrorism and warfare
with a smattering of post-Sept. 11 commentaries from across the political
spectrum. To their surprise, the hefty volume is landing in universities
and libraries around the world.
8. 2001 Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 17:24:03 -0600
From: "Don Wood" <dwood[at]ala.org>
To: Intellectual Freedom Action News <ifaction[at]ala1.ala.org>
2001 Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award
The award will be presented at the 2002 ALA Midwinter Meeting in New
Orleans on Saturday, January 19, at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, Bacchus
"Given annually, the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award
acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of
intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and information
centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted
censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view
materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular
action or long-term interest in, and dedication to, the cause of
"The award was established in 1969 by the GSLIS faculty to honor Robert
Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his 25th anniversary as
director of the School."
"2001-high school librarian Deloris Wilson and the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, for their following efforts:
When the principal of Louisiana's West Monroe High School ordered
librarian Deloris Wilson to remove Heartbreak and Roses: Real Life Stories
of Troubled Love; Gays In or Out of the Military; Everything You Need to
Know About Incest; and Everything You Need to Know About Abstinence from
her library shelves on May 2, 1996, Wilson protested. When she was then
told to remove all books with sexual content, she responded by pulling over
200 books, including several Bibles. The principal rescinded that order,
but Wilson filed a formal grievance and a complaint with the ACLU of
Louisiana protesting the removal of the four titles and was eventually
named plaintiff in a suit the ACLU filed on October 3, 1996 against the
Ouachita Parish School Board. It wasn't until August 17, 1999 that a
settlement was reached and all four banned books were returned to the
library. In the meantime, Ms. Wilson endured hostility and professional
isolation at West Monroe High School, where she continues to serve as a
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), based in San Francisco, was
founded in July 1990 to defend our rights to think, speak, and share ideas,
thoughts, and needs using new technologies, such as the Internet and the
World Wide Web. EFF identifies threats to basic rights online and advocates
on behalf of free expression in the digital age. More information is
available on their website: http://www.eff.org/."
9. KATIE SIERRA
Katie Sierra is a 15-year-old anarchist who lives in Sissonville, West
Virginia. She recently made international news after her high school
suspended her for wearing a t-shirt critical of the war in Afghanistan, as
well as for her efforts in organizing a student anarchy club at the school.
Her legal protest of the school's decision was turned down by the courts.
There is an international effort to support her and her fight against the
Infoshop.org: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Katie Sierra: Let's see..my name is Katie. I am a former student from
Sissonville High School. I'm a 15-year-old 10th grader. In my spare time I
go to shows, read, and write poetry.
Infoshop: Why did you get suspended from your high school?
KS: I was suspended for wearing a t-shirt that spoke of political views.
Also, for having possession of the flyers in my purse.
Infoshop: What did your T-shirt say?
KS: Well, there's more than one. The one I got suspended for said "Racism,
Sexism, Homophobia..I'm so proud of the people in the land of the so called
"Free". Then the next week after my principal allowed me to wear them
again...and then made me take it off again said "When I saw the dead and
dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national
security. God Bless America."
Infoshop: What happened in court?
KS: Besides staring at Mr. Mann's strange comb-over and missing thumb lol.
I didn't win. I don't really know why. At least everything I said was
factual, but everything Mann said was opinion or hearsay. ...
Katie's page on Illegalvoices, which has lots of links to press reports:
10. Interesting articles in the Atlantic Monthly
The Heavenly Jukebox
by Charles C. Mann
Rampant music piracy may hurt musicians less than they fear. The real
threat -- to listeners and, conceivably, democracy itself -- is the music
industry's reaction to it
Was Democracy Just a Moment?
By Robert D. Kaplan
The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the
American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve
the world -- or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider
themselves bastions of freedom.
Who Will Own Your Next Good Idea?
By Charles C. Mann
Some corporations want to lock up copyright even tighter. Some naive
intellectuals want to abandon copyright altogether. Where is a "do-nothing"
Congress now that we need one?
Life, Liberty, and ... the Pursuit of Copyright?
An Atlantic Unbound Roundtable featuring Lawrence Lessig, John Perry
Barlow, Mark Stefik, and Charles C. Mann
Can the sum of our ideas be reduced to "intellectual property"? Or should
all information, all knowledge, be set free? As we rethink our institutions
governing copyright and intellectual property in the digital age, what
touchstones, what principles, should we look to? What is at stake in the
legislative battle over the ownership of culture?
11. Antiwar high-school students struggle to be heard (fwd)
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 00:50:37 -0500 (EST)
From: Mark Hudson <hudsonm[at]telerama.com>
To: srrtac-l[at]ala.org, plgnet-l[at]listproc.sjsu.edu
This article shows the chilling effect the current patriotic outpouring is
having on freedom of expression and the spirit of critical inquiry in high
schools. Libraries ought to be a sanctuary from this kind of intellectual
intimidation and not contribute to it, as I believe we are doing when we
allow U.S. flags, reproductions of U.S. flags, and nationalistic messages
to proliferate all over the interiors of our library buildings.
12. Saying Goodbye to Patriotism
Published on Monday, November 12, 2001
Saying Goodbye to Patriotism
by Robert Jensen
A talk delivered to the Peace Action National Congress, November 10, 2001
This summer I wrote a book review for an academic journal -- one of
those terribly important pieces of writing that will be read by tens
and tens of people, some of them actually people outside my own
family. The book is about the history of governmental restrictions on
U.S. news media during war, and it's a good book in many ways. But I
faulted the author for accepting the American mythology about the
nobility of our wars and their motivations. I challenged his
uncritical use of the term patriotism, which I called "perhaps the
single most morally and intellectually bankrupt concept in human
By coincidence, the galley proofs for the piece came back to me for
review a few days after September 11. I paused as I re-read my words,
and I thought about the reaction those words might spark, given the
reflexive outpouring of patriotism in the wake of the terrorist
attacks. I thought about the controversy that some of my writing had
already sparked on campus and, it turned out, beyond the campus. I
thought about how easy it would be to take out that sentence.
I thought about all that for some time before deciding to let it
stand. My reason was simple: I think that statement was true on
September 10, and if anything, I'm more convinced it is true after
I also believe that nestled in the truth of that assertion is a
crucial question for the U.S.-based peace movement, one that we
cannot avoid after 9-11:
Are we truly internationalist? Can we get beyond patriotism? Or, in
the end, are we just Americans?
That is a way, I think, of asking whether we are truly for peace and
I realize that framing of the question may seem harsh. It may rub the
wrong way people who want to hold onto a positive notion of
I mean the statement to be harsh because I believe the question is
crucial. If in the end we are just Americans, if we cannot move
beyond patriotism, then we cannot claim to be internationalists. And,
if we are not truly internationalist in our outlook -- all the way to
the bone -- then I do not think we truly call ourselves people
committed to peace and justice.
Let me try to make the case for this by starting with definitions.
My dictionary defines patriotism as "love and loyal or zealous
support of one's own country." We'll come back to that, but let's
also look beyond the dictionary to how the word is being used at this
moment in history, in this country. I would suggest there are two
different, and competing, definitions of patriotism circulating these
Definition #1: Patriotism as loyalty to the war effort.
It's easy to get a handle on this use of the word. Just listen to the
president of the United States speak. Or watch the TV anchors. Or, as
I have done, be a guest on a lot of talk radio shows. This view of
patriotism is pretty simple: We were attacked. We must defend
ourselves. The only real way to defend ourselves is by military
force. If you want to be patriotic, you should -- you must -- support
I have been told often that it is fine for me to disagree with that
policy, but now is not the time to disagree publicly. A patriotic
person, I am told, should remain quiet and support the troops until
the war is over, at which point we can all have a discussion about
the finer points of policy. If I politely disagree with that, then
the invective flows: Commie, terrorist-lover, disloyal, unpatriotic.
Love it or leave it.
It is easy to take apart this kind of patriotism. It is a patriotism
that is incompatible with democracy or basic human decency. To see
just how intellectually and morally bankrupt a notion it is, just ask
this question: What would we have said to Soviet citizens who might
have made such an argument about patriotic duty as the tanks rolled
into Prague in 1968? To draw that analogy is not to say the two cases
are exactly alike. Rather, it is to point out that a decision to
abandon our responsibility to evaluate government policy and
surrender our power to think critically is a profound failure,
intellectually and morally.
Definition #2: Patriotism as critique of the war effort.
Many in the peace-and-justice movement, myself included, have
suggested that to be truly patriotic one cannot simply accept
policies because they are handed down by leaders or endorsed by a
majority of people, even if it is an overwhelming majority. Being a
citizen in a real democracy, we have said over and over, means
exercising our judgment, evaluating policies, engaging in discussion,
and organizing to try to help see that the best policies are enacted.
When the jingoists start throwing around terms like "anti-American"
and "traitor," we point out that true patriotism means staying true
to the core commitments of democracy and the obligations that
democracy puts on people. There is nothing un-American, we contend,
about arguing for peace.
That's all clear enough. As I have said, I have used that line of
argument many times. It is the best way -- maybe the only way -- to
respond in public at this moment if one wants to be effective in
building an antiwar movement. We all remind ourselves, over and over,
that we have to start the discussion where people are, not where we
wish people were. If people feel "love and loyal or zealous support
of one's own country," then we have to be aware of that and respond
But increasingly, I feel uncomfortable arguing for patriotism, even
with this second definition. And as I listen to friends and allies in
the peace-and-justice movement, I have started to wonder whether that
claim to patriotism-as-critical-engagement is indeed merely
strategic. Or is it motivated by something else? Are we looking for a
way to hold onto patriotism because we really believe in it?
I think it is valuable to ask the question: Is there any way to
define the term that doesn't carry with it arrogant and
self-indulgent assumptions? Is there any way to salvage patriotism?
I want to argue that invoking patriotism puts us on dangerous ground
and that we must be careful about our strategic use of it.
At its ugliest, patriotism means a ranking of the value of the lives
of people based on boundaries. To quote Emma Goldman: "Patriotism
assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one
surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born
on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander,
more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It
is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to
fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon
People have said this directly to me: Yes, the lives of U.S. citizens
are more important than the lives of Afghan citizens. If innocent
Afghans have to die, have to starve -- even in large numbers -- so
that we can achieve our goals, well, that's the way it is, and that's
the way it should be. I assume no argument here is needed as to why
this type of patriotism is unacceptable. We may understand why people
feel it, but it is barbaric.
But what of the effort to hold onto a kinder and gentler style of
patriotism by distinguishing it from this kind of crude nationalism?
We must ask: What are the unstated assumptions of this other kind of
patriotism we have been defending? If patriotism is about loyalty of
some sort, to what are we declaring our loyalty?
If we are pledging loyalty to a nation-state, we have already touched
on the obvious problems: What if that nation-state pursues an immoral
objective? Should we remain loyal to it? The same question is obvious
if our loyalty is to a specific government or set of government
officials. If they pursue immoral objectives or pursue moral
objectives in an immoral fashion, what would it mean to be loyal to
Some suggest we should be loyal to the ideals of America, a set of
commitments and practices connected with the concepts of freedom and
democracy. That's all well and good; freedom and democracy are good
things, and I try to not only endorse those values but live them. I
assume everyone in this room does as well.
But what makes those values uniquely American? Is there something
about the United States or the people who live here that make us more
committed to, or able to act out, the ideals of freedom and democracy
-- more so than, say, Canadians or Indians or Brazilians? Are not
people all over the world -- including those who live in countries
that do not guarantee freedom to the degree the United States does --
capable of understanding and acting on those ideals? Are not
different systems possible for making real those ideals in a complex
If freedom and democracy are not unique to us, then they are simply
human ideals, endorsed to varying degrees in different places and
realized to different degrees by different people acting in different
places? If that's true, then they are not distinctly American ideals.
They were not invented here, and we do not have a monopoly on them.
So, if one is trying to express a commitment to those ideals, why do
it in the limiting fashion of talking of patriotism?
Let me attempt an analogy to gender. After 9-11, a number of
commentators have argued that criticisms of masculinity should be
rethought. Yes, masculinity is often connected to, and expressed
through, competition, domination, and violence, they said. But as
male firefighters raced into burning buildings and risked their lives
to save others, cannot we also see that masculinity encompasses a
kind of strength that is rooted in caring and sacrifice?
My response is, yes, of course men often exhibit such strength. But
do not women have the capacity for that kind of strength rooted in
caring and sacrifice? Do they not exhibit such strength on a regular
basis? Why of course they do, most are quick to agree. Then the
obvious question is, what makes these distinctly masculine
characteristics? Are they not simply human characteristics?
We identify masculine tendencies toward competition, domination, and
violence because we see patterns of different behavior; we see that
men are more prone to such behavior in our culture. We can go on to
observe and analyze the ways in which men are socialized to behave in
those ways. We do all that work, I would hope, to change those
But that is a very different exercise than saying that admirable
human qualities present in both men and women are somehow primarily
the domain of one of those genders. To assign them to a gender is
misguided, and demeaning to the gender that is then assumed not to
possess them to the same degree. Once you start saying "strength and
courage are masculine traits," it leads to the conclusion that woman
are not as strong or courageous. To say "strength and courage are
masculine traits," then, is to be sexist.
The same holds true for patriotism. If we abandon the crude version
of patriotism but try to hold onto an allegedly more sophisticated
version, we bump up against this obvious question: Why are human
characteristics being labeled as American if there is nothing
distinctly American about them?
If people want to argue that such terminology is justified because
those values are realized to their fullest degree in the United
States, then there's some explaining to do. Some explaining to the
people of Guatemala and Iran, Nicaragua and South Vietnam, East Timor
and Laos, Iraq and Panama. We would have to explain to the victims of
U.S. aggression -- direct and indirect -- how it is that our
political culture, the highest expression of the ideals of freedom
and democracy, has managed routinely to go around the world
overthrowing democratically elected governments, supporting brutal
dictators, funding and training proxy terrorist armies, and
unleashing brutal attacks on civilians when we go to war. If we want
to make the claim that we are the fulfillment of history and the
ultimate expression of the principles of freedom and justice, our
first stop might be Hiroshima. We might want to explain that claim
If we are serious about peace and justice in the world, we need to
subject this notion of patriotism to scrutiny. If we do that, I would
suggest, it is clear that any use of the concept of patriotism is
bound to be chauvinistic at some level. At its worst, patriotism can
lead easily to support for barbarism. At its best, it is
self-indulgent and arrogant in its assumptions about the uniqueness
of U.S. culture.
None of what I have said should be taken as a blanket denunciation of
the United States, our political institutions, or our culture. People
often tell me, "You start with the assumption that everything about
the United States is bad." Of course I do not assume that. That would
be as absurd a position as the assumption that everything about the
United States is good. I can't imagine any reasonable person making
either statement. That does raise the question, of course, of who is
a reasonable person. We might ask that question about, for example,
George Bush, the father. In 1988, after the U.S. Navy warship
Vincennes shot down an Iranian commercial airliner in a commercial
corridor, killing 290 civilians, Bush said, "I will never apologize
for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are."
I want to put forward the radical proposition that we should care
what the facts are. We should start with the assumption that
everything about the United States, like everything about any
country, needs to be examined and assessed. That is what it means to
be a moral person.
There is much about this country a citizen can be proud of, and I am
in fact proud of those things. The personal freedoms guaranteed (to
most people) in this culture, for example, are quite amazing. As
someone who regularly tries to use those freedoms, I am as aware as
anyone of how precious they are.
There also is much to be appalled by. The obscene gaps in wealth
between rich and poor, for example, are quite amazing as well,
especially in a wealthy society that claims to be committed to
In that sense, we are like any other grouping of people. That doesn't
mean one can't analyze various societies and judge some better than
others by principles we can articulate and defend -- so long as they
are truly principles, applied honestly and uniformly. But one should
maintain a bit of humility in the endeavor. Perhaps instead of saying
"The United States is the greatest nation on earth" -- a comment
common among politicians, pundits, and the public -- we would be
better off saying, "I live in the United States and have deep
emotional ties to the people, land, and ideals of this place. Because
of these feelings, I want to highlight the positive while working to
change what is wrong." That is not moral relativism -- it is a call
for all of us to articulate and defend our positions.
We can make that statement without having to argue that we are, in
some essential way, better than everyone else. We can make that
statement without arrogantly suggesting that other people are
inherently less capable of articulating or enacting high ideals. We
can make that statement and be ready and willing to engage in debate
and discussion about the merits of different values and systems.
We can make that statement, in other words, and be true
internationalists, people truly committed to peace and justice. If
one wants to call that statement an expression of patriotism, I will
not spend too much time arguing. But I will ask: If we make a
statement like that, why do we need to call it an expression of
patriotism? What can we learn by asking ourselves: What makes us,
even people in the peace-and-justice community, want to hold onto the
notion of patriotism with such tenacity?
When I write or talk with the general public and raise questions like
these, people often respond, "If you hate America so much, why don't
But what is this America that I allegedly hate? The land itself? The
people who live here? The ideals in the country's founding documents?
I do not hate any of those things.
When people say to me "love it or leave it," what is the "it" to
which they refer?
No one can ever quite answer that. Still, I have an answer for them.
I will not leave "it" for a simple reason: I have nowhere else to go.
I was born here. I was given enormous privileges here. My place in
the world is here, where I feel an obligation to use that privilege
to be part -- a very small part of, as we all are only a small part
-- of a struggle to make real a better world. Whatever small part I
can play in that struggle, whatever I can achieve, I will have to
achieve here, in the heart of the beast.
I love it, which is to say that I love life -- I love the world in
which I live and the people who live in it with me. I will not leave
That "it" may not be specific enough for some, but it's the best I
can do. Maybe it will help to answer in the negative, for I can say
more clearly what the "it" is not. I can describe more clearly what
is the America I do not love.
The America I love is not this administration, or any other
collections of politicians, or the corporations they serve.
It is not the policies of this administration, or any other
collection of politicians, or the corporations they serve.
The America I love is not wrapped up in a mythology about "how good
we are" that ignores the brutal realities of our own history of
conquest and barbarism.
Most of all, I want no part of the America that arrogantly claims
that the lives and hopes and dreams of people who happen to live
within the boundaries of the United States have more value than those
in other places. Nor will I indulge America in the belief that our
grief is different. Since September 11, the United States has
demanded that the world take our grief more seriously. When some
around the world have not done so, we express our outrage.
But we should ask: What makes the grief of a parent who lost a child
in the World Trade Center any deeper than the grief of a parent who
lost a child in Baghdad when U.S. warplanes rained death on the
civilian areas of Iraq in the Gulf War? Or the parents of a child in
Nicaragua when the U.S. terrorist proxy army ravaged that country?
Soon after 9-11, I heard a television reporter describe lower
Manhattan as "Beirut on the Hudson." We might ask, how did Beirut
come to look like Beirut, and what is our responsibility in that? And
what of the grief of those who saw their loved ones die during the
shelling of that city?
We should ask: Where was the empathy of America for the grief of those
Certainly we grieve differently, more intensely, when people close to
us die. We don't feel the loss of a family member the same way as a
death of a casual friend. We feel something different over the death
of someone we knew compared with the death of a stranger. But we must
understand that the grief we feel when our friends and neighbors
became victims of political violence is no different than what people
around the world feel. We must understand that each of those lives
lost abroad has exactly the same value as the life of any one of our
family, friends and neighbors.
September 11 was a dark day. I still remember what it felt like to
watch those towers come down, the darkness that settled over me that
day, the hopelessness, how tangible death felt -- for me, not only
the deaths of those in the towers but also the deaths of those who
would face the bombs in the war that might follow, the war that did
follow, the war that goes on.
But humans are resilient; in the darkness we tend to look for light,
for a way out of the darkness.
I believe there is a light shining out of September 11, out of all
that darkness. It is a light that I believe we Americans can follow
to our own salvation. That light is contained in a simple truth that
is obvious, but which Americans have never really taken to heart: We
are part of the world. We cannot any longer hide from that world. We
cannot allow our politicians, and generals, and corporate executives
to do their dirty business around the world while we hide from the
truths about just how dirty that business really is. We can no longer
hide from the coups they plan, the wars they start, the sweatshops
For me, all this means saying goodbye to patriotism.
That is the paradox: September 11 has sparked a wave of patriotism, a
patriotism that has in many cases been overtly hateful, racist and
xenophobic. A patriotism that can lead people to say, as one person
wrote to me, "We should bomb [Afghanistan] until there's no more
earth to bomb."
But the real lesson of September 11, which I believe we will
eventually learn, is that if we are to survive as a free people, as
decent people who want honestly to claim the ideals we say we live
by, we must say goodbye to patriotism. That patriotism will not
relieve our grief, but only deepen it. It will not solve our problems
but only extend them. I believe there is no hope for ourselves or for
the world if we continue to embrace patriotism, no matter what the
We must give up our "love and loyal or zealous support of one's own
country" and transfer that love, loyalty and zealousness to the
world, and especially the people of the world who have suffered most
so that we Americans can live in affluence.
We must be able to say, as the great labor leader of the early 20th
century Eugene Debs said, "I have no country to fight for; my country
is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world."
I am with Debs. I believe it is time to declare: I am not patriotic.
I am through with trying to redefine the term patriotic to make
sense. There is no sense to it.
That kind of statement will anger many, but at some point we must
begin to take that risk, for this is not merely an academic argument
This is both a struggle to save ourselves and a struggle to save the
lives of vulnerable people around the world.
We must say goodbye to patriotism because the kind of America the
peace-and-justice movement wants to build cannot be built on, or
through, the patriotism of Americans.
We must say goodbye to patriotism because the world cannot survive
indefinitely the patriotism of Americans.
Robert Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas
at Austin, a member of the Nowar Collective
(www.nowarcollective.com), and author of the book Writing
Dissent:Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream
(www.peterlangusa.com). He can be reached at
13. "How the Feds Stole Christmas"
How the Feds Stole Christmas
By Gary Krist
Sunday, December 16, 2001; Page B05
"The federal government is the Scrooge of the season."
- D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton
The American people liked Christmas a lot --
But the Federal Government clearly did NOT!
The feds hated Christmas! They did -- every one!
They hated the chaos, the crowds and the fun.
"It's wartime!" they cried. "We have to be wary.
The prospect of Christmas is simply too scary."
(For they saw in the season's delightful excesses
The makings of untold security messes.)
"Those tourists will come to D.C. on their jaunts
And want to see all of our usual haunts.
They'll fly in from places like Flint or Peru
And expect to see Congress, the Archives, the Zoo.
"But how to distinguish, amid all the revels,
The innocent tourists from terrorist devils?
We've got to be hard-nosed -- too bad if they frown!
We've got to take action to lock up the town!"
So those Grinches did issue an edict to close
All tours of the White House to regular Joes.
"No visits allowed -- not sooner, not later --
For you never know who is part of al Qaeda."
This order, however, was only the latest
Of numerous acts to defeat those who hate us.
For one Grinch named Ashcroft already had taken
Draconian steps that left liberals shaken.
"It's crucial," said he, "to adopt zealous measures
In order to safeguard our national treasures."
14. Amusing searches for December 2001
Funny searches leading to pages on libr.org were few and far between this
month; who knows why? Overall site stats went down halfway through the
month, as college students went home for vacation and people took time off
from work. There were no searches for "gas mask bong" or variations
thereof, and there were no searches for "vitameatavegimen," which, for
those who don't know, was the fake product that Lucille Ball's Lucy
advertised on the I Love Lucy show when the character took a disastrous
stab at acting in commercials. There were plenty of searches for
hairygirl, as there will continue to be; however, I no longer consider this
an "amusing search." Hairygirl.com is a porn site featuring young women who
don't shave off any body hair. There are many things that could be said
about that, but I am thinking, "That's a hoot" isn't really one of them, or
at least not an interpretation that I want to continue to endorse. (I
don't know how that search found libr.org initially, but now it finds
the word in "amusing searches.")
The funny searches in December are thus limited to:
"jim casey" "jesus christ"
brainiac behavior engine
questia username password
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