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"Useless" Controversy?

Filipino librarians are currently divided as to the offensiveness of "105 'useless' librarians." Some find it offensive, but some do not. A lot of the discussion is taking place on previously rather quiet yahoogroups, with some comments making it to my posts here and here. Allow me to repeat some of the things I have written in these yahoogroups:

What I really found insulting was the phrase "like 101 dalmatians." I don't know whether those who did not find the article offensive noticed this phrase, but I found this phrase unnecessarily offensive. Maybe some don't mind being likened to dogs, but I mind very much. Call me thin-skinned, but I don't think any profession would appreciate the comparison in just about any context.

Some people wrote that Cristobal had a "very clear point." Well, he ends his column with the following statement: "What they see on the idiot box is more revealing than a thousand words." Call me stupid, but I think he just presented a reason for the government's neglect of libraries.

If we follow his logic, this means that there is, in fact, no need to worry about whether Filipinos can read or that there are books in our libraries. And, of course, because all that Filipinos have to do is turn on the television, librarians will be unnecessary or—to use his word—useless.

But it doesn't really matter whether I'm right or wrong. Some have already pointed out that this is an opportunity to address the problems that ail our profession. And so, my question is this: Whether offended or not offended, are we going to continue doing things the same way we did before? I certainly hope not, for that would render this controversy—like all the other controversies we normally see on the idiot box—useless.

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