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Thursday, December 4, 2008 2:54 pm
Leonid McGill on Librarians
Posted by: Keir Graff

I just handed in my review of Walter Mosley’s The Long Fall, the first book in a new mystery series set in New York City and starring Leonid McGill, private eye. I liked it better than the Fearless Jones books, but McGill is no Easy Rawlins, either. I couldn’t help but notice the following paragraph (read it with the disclaimer that it comes from an uncorrected proof):

Librarians are wonderful people, partly because they are, on the whole, unaware of how dangerous knowledge is. Karl Marx upended the political landscape of the twentieth century sitting at a library table. But modern librarians are more afraid of ignorance than they are of the potential devastation that knowledge can bring.

It’s kind of hard to tell how sarcastic he is or isn’t being. Librarians, care to comment?

This is theoretically McGill speaking, but the line between Mosley’s voice and his characters’ voices is getting blurrier and blurrier.

3 Responses to “Leonid McGill on Librarians”
  1. Monica Says:

    I think he’s only a little off–librarians know how dangerous knowledge can be, but we’re willing to take the chance anyway.

  2. Keir Says:

    Right, because if knowledge is dangerous, ignorance is disastrous. I like the “afraid of ignorance” bit but the “unaware” seems condescending.

  3. laura Says:

    I like to think we promote dangerous knowledge, actually, in part because we are somewhat less susceptible to popularity, and so unpopular ideas find their ways onto our shelves, too.

    Of course, there are plenty of popular ideas that are dangerous, too. Sigh.

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