Before we begin today’s lesson, let us review the purpose of a library, shall we? Are libraries not a compilation of knowledge in the form of books and visual aids brought together for the edification of students of humanity to be used a s a tool for their growth and enrichment? If it is, the earnest curators of the Oxford Library have somehow missed that definition.
Apparently, the librarians at Oxford, however, have been misled to believe that a library is more like a static piece of art. They must think that a “library” is a permanent arrangement of book-like objects, pleasingly arranged, yet immovable, set up to fill a particular space for the purpose of a sort of permanent exhibit. But, please, while you are staying reverently quiet as is traditional in a “library” setting, please remember not to actually touch anything, won’t you? After all, we have your safety to consider.
Either that or the goodly Oxford librarians have allowed the feminization of western culture to at last supersede the concept of education. The mother-hennish propensity to keep us all “safe” has at last become an object far more important than the improvement of the mind. The sublime introspection that might be found in the careful study of philosophy, history, the humanities, poetry, and the arts is now a poor second to keeping us from taking an unwanted tumble. Or, perhaps the loving Oxford mothers are merely making sure that we don’t all succumb to that dreaded, life-threatening paper cut that is ever so present in a room of books?
That’s right, folks, Oxford’s librarians care ever so much. They care so much that they’ve thrown away all those evil, dangerous stepladders that threaten so much carnage. Happily, those unsafe devices that allow people to reach dizzying heights of up to three feet have been summarily eliminated by the clucking hens at Oxford. The nirvana of perfect safety has at last been achieved.
We should bow to their superior knowledge of the dangers of these harmful contraptions, too. Why who better to know how one might fall and hurt oneself than those who had been for so long in the shadow of near death, those in the frightful presence of such gargantuan peril as the Oxford Library stepladder?
But, thankfully, they are now gone, banished from the scene in order to save the life and limb of all those delicate students of Oxford university. Safety at last, safety at last.
And what of those books now out of reach on the top shelves? Bah, who needs them? Will they be lowered to a shelf easier to reach? I should say not! Why THAT would cast such insult upon tomes that have sat upon the top shelf for generations. We have a tradition to uphold, don’t you know!
In the sure to be immortal words of Laurence Benson, the library’s director of administration and finance: “The library would prefer to keep the books in their original historic location — where they have been safely consulted for 400 years prior to the instructions from the health and safety office.”
We DO have tradition to observe, you know?
No, what we have here is the perfect melding of high concept and the self-congratulatory presumption of method so popular among mindless government perfunctories and automatons. Yes, we’ve made sure tradition is observed, while keeping the visitors safe from any fear that they might actually be exposed to the danger that is books.
Speaking of books, we also have the perfect melding of life and literature, here, making this an even more wonderful incident. After all, since we now have discovered that one of the greatest libraries of the world has evolved this wonderful new policy we have what might be considered life imitating art. We have developed the perfect cross pollination of Fahrenheit 451 and the library. Only we don’t have to go to all that mess of having a bon fire.
So, congratulations Oxford University. You have achieved quite a distinction. You have proven that some of the most stoopidest people on earth inhabit the western university.