Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Librarian Bait

Bizarro is brought to you today by Mixed Messages.

This cartoon is not funny per se, it is more poignant than anything. I think the average reader gets the meaning in a glance and says, "True. Who needs the library now that we have the Internet?" Or, if you're W, you might say, "Hah. They left the 'S' off of 'Internets and added an extra 'R' to 'libary.'"

Thinking further, you might realize that the cartoon doesn't actually make any sense. If a library were put out of business by the Internet, it would be a library museum, not an Internet museum. But that sign would confuse readers and not get the idea across. I think this may be the only time in my 25 year career that I've come across this kind of phenomenon.

In spite of this flaw in logic, a number of people who deal with libraries in various capacities have contacted me wanting to use this image for everything from fund raising to entertaining their local library's troops.

This drawing was a pain to execute, the strip version was even worse. Since I worked so hard on it, I've posted it here to get a little more mileage. Thank goodness for the Internet, I was able to find a wide variety of reference photos of the New York Public Library in a matter of seconds.

Click the image for a clearer view.

22 comments:

KiltBear said...

I know it is YOUR art, but interpretation kind of went:

Yup, the internet has replaced the library for searching for current information, and the library is relegated to capturing frozen historic information from it in paper form, forever destined to be in the past.

Museums also "curate" providing editorial services on shows currently on display or in their current collection. So I see this working "forwards" as well as "backwards."

The best part is that it instantly touches something inside and makes one (me) think about the changing roles.

Karl said...

When I first looked at this cartoon I think I got the wrong meaning ( not the GWB kind though). I thought you meant that libraries were using computers with internet access so much, that no one was reading books anymore. Maybe this is sort of the idea of the cartoon.

My small local library has one area with about sixteen desk top computers and they're always occupied. Since I have a computer at home, I just go there for the books (the ones with lots of pictures).

Pagani said...

Depressing. :(

The great thing about the Internet is the low threshold for publishing information: Anyone with an opinion can just put it out there and compete with journalists and scholars in the marketplace of ideas.

The bad thing about the Internets is the low threshold for publishing information: Any dimwit with an ill-informed opinion can just put it out there and may end up being quoted by journalists and scholars. Fiction becomes fact.

I reiterate; depressing.

Jeremy said...

I like when you do more social commentary like this.

I am going to avoid some more obvious statements about your flaw of logic being inherent with an atheistic worldview. Or did I just make one?

I have noticed that over the last 10 years, the library is more and more becoming just a large computer lab for people without their own computer. All of the libraries here in Eugene also have public WiFi that you can access within a block of the building. I sometimes use it to download large files to my iPhone if I'm at the bus stop waiting.

Artur Rost said...

The cartoon does make sense if you assume that in the future a library will be regarded as a primitive version of the internet, and the two would be integrated under a single umbrella term. It's actually not that far fetched, since both of them serve a similar purpose and are built in a similar way. You could also make a whole series of cartoons on this topic, like a cafe being converted into a museum of cybercafes or a theater being converted into a museum of cinema.

leonsp said...

Oh. I would have thought this a comment about the plethora of free internet browsing computers most libraries sport these days. Ah, well.

Milé said...

Great cartoon, especially with the recent news of various papers likely shutting down (Boston Globe (http://artblog.net/?name=2009-04-06-09-46-globe) etc.).

Also: excellent lion.

Robert Finis said...

"I think this may be the only time in my 25 year career that I've come across this kind of phenomenon."
Lol.

How about "National Museum of Library History/ formerly NYC Public Library/ brought to you by Wikipedia"?

RobR said...

Or, if you're a cartoonist who doesn't proofread his blog entries, you might make an "if" into "of" in a sentence making fun of "W". Not that I disagree with you in any way, you understand.

Waldo said...

Funny to talk about the internet and linking them to libraries. Libraries almost did not exist because the publishers were worried about copyright infringements. The publishers were worried that their book sales would plummet because if people could get free books at the library, then why would they buy one at the store. Just like the current music industry's compliant - except you had to return your book to the library eventually but not your copy of Sig Sig Sputnik.

Waldo said...

Jeremy... it is just like our library. There are cars parked in the parking lot after the library has closed to wifi to their hears delight.

Reminds me of the "after hours" parking lots that are in Germany... and the ladies (and men) were not selling Amway

James said...

Dan, great cartoon, but regarding your commentary, W jokes are getting OLD. I'm sorry, but they've been played out. Might I suggest looking for new targets to make fun of rather than relying on the same ones.

Matt Bors did a great cartoon recently skewering hypocrites on the left and the right. Maybe you could take a cue from that. I hope I don't come off as offensive, just offering a thought.

Beady-El said...

Here *I* thought you were saying the NY library had tons of old, obsolete computers....

opticsdoug said...

Today, if something is worth being published, it's worth being published electronically first.

Paper is expensive, static, and in need of manual curation.

No flaw in logic - paper libraries are simply becoming archives of the more respected parts of the internet.

Jezzka said...

i'm enjoying the placement of the bunny and the slight tilt to his posture.

the bun bun looks like he's thinking, "say, what? how did i end up here at the library (hiccup) of internets museum, that's (hiccup) the last time i drink mexican tequila with a scorpion in it!" (hiccup).

doug nicodemus said...

i got to admit sometimes i get the joke but don't laugh..on the other hand they ran the "man stands upright" one in the sj-r yesterday...i showed it to all my friends and put it on the refrigerater...keep up the good work...your blog adds to it the meaning of it however.

PIRARO said...

@ James...
Point well taken, but I'm not tired of punching "W" yet. He abused the country for 8 long years and has only been gone a few months. I think the worst president in U.S. history deserves more than to be forgotten so quickly.

Anonymous said...
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James said...

Piraro: True he made a lot of screw-ups, but don't forget that Obama is continuing many of his failed policied. I hope you don't give Barack a pass for doing what W did just because he's a democrat.

PIRARO said...

Another good point, James, and I do not intend to give Obama a free pass. I am angry that he is protecting the government's right to spy on its citizens, for instance, as was announced yesterday. It's an indefensible move.

I also think we need to prosecute the former administration for war crimes, although I fully understand why he can't be the one leading that charge. I hope that congress and the justice department will, though.

In most cases, O is not following Bush's policies, all of which were an unqualified failure. It is difficult to find anything that he did "right," so to speak. The overwhelming majority of political historians agree, by the way.

Obama's economic and foreign affairs policies are 180˚from Bush's and those dividends are beginning to pay off in small ways. He has shifted the emphasis on the war from Iraq to Afghanistan, where it should have been all along, and has shifted domestic policy from benefiting only the rich and corporations to the middle class and poor, which historically has always proven to be good for the entire country, not just the captains of industry, as Republican policy tends to be.

Anonymous said...

Shhh, don't mention you used source photos found on the internet. Look what AP and Obey are up to because of that :^)

Pies said...

The way I understood it is that a library is an ancient version of the Internet, before HTML pages replaced the paper ones.

In the same way, a museum of books could contain jars with heads of famous story tellers, like Homer (no, the other one).