Yesterday the Libray Journal Movers & Shakers for 2012 were announced. Congratulations to them all! To be honest, it’s one of those days that comes and goes without much notice of me, but a couple of people were talking about the winners all over the Twitterverse. I happened to open the link for JP Porcaro from 8bitlibrary and @makeithappenday, and then went to the meeting and forgot about it. When I got back from my meeting people were talking about the comments on the page at Library Journal – namely, that some were moderated/censored. Since I still had the comments in question open in one of my several tabs, I took a screenshot for posterity.
The comments that were deleted refer to Porcaro as a “tool,” a drunk, and question whether or not he deserves the award. They aren’t particularly nice but they don’t seem completely out of line. I would put them in that uncomfortable grey area – somewhat unpleasant statements based upon personal observations.
Some people, such as Anna Creech and Jenica Rogers, questions Library Journal’s moderation. There was also FriendFeed discussion. This morning I checked to see how the discussion went and I found a comment that really goes out of bounds:
I applaud Milli Vanilli for going for, sort of like Porcaro would, and calling Library Journal’s own Annoyed Librarian a crackwhore, well, that made me chuckle.
Aside from Library Journal’s poor moderation which made me actually pay attention to something I’d otherwise ignore, this episode does serve as a reminder about how you behave in professional settings. The only thing I knew about Porcaro was based on stories from people who have worked with him on ALA things and his own online presence. He likes to drink, he likes to party, and he sort of reminds me of the Festrunk brother from Saturday Night Live. He’s a wild and crazy guy! It’s part of his thing, his gimmick. He describes himself as, “‘party king’ of librarianship, our own Andrew WK.” Clearly, he has a healthy ego. Porcaro may be an outlier, and he may annoy people, and that’s OK. When you make that your persona professionally, I think some criticism is to be expected and it’s OK. If he was only getting drunk or being the life of the party after meetings, after hours, and in more private venues, I would be more inclined to see people referencing that behaviour on the Library Journal site as more of a personal attack. Since they are just commenting on the persona that Porcaro has marketed and used to gain notoriety, then it’s fair game. (As an aside, is a dance party at ALA really all that revolutionary? SLA has had several dance parties at their annual meetings for decades. Yet another reason I love SLA…)
Library Journal, party foul. You picked a Mover & Shaker who’s like marmite or Heino – people love him or hate him. That’s cool. Don’t get mad though when people question it and as long as nobody said he was a crackwhore with STDs, deleting the comments only draws more attention to them. To all you professionals out there, just remember about the image you’re projecting. If you want to be a bit irreverent you might have to take some lumps. I’m sick and tired of rolling my eyes at hipster librarian jokes, even though I’m not really a hipster, but as long as I keep talking about obscure bands and buying lots of vinyl, I’m sort of asking for it. (On that note, seriously JP – all of your cultural allusions are so played out. They’re too MTV and not really alterna-anything.) All’s fair on the internet.