I’m not buying that books are dead.

Or that kids today are illiterate.  Or that the Kindle and e-book will destroy reading (or publishing).

I don’t buy that closing libraries is a good thing. I particularly don’t buy that having fewer librarians is cost effective.

I don’t buy that the arts are a luxury.

I don’t, as a matter of principle, buy that you should never part with a book. I part with boxes of them on a regular basis — novels I don’t love, books I know I’ll never open again, and most recently, reference books from the dim dark years before Google — Harvard Dictionary of Music, Bartlett’s Quotations, Roget’s Thesaurus, etc. (I kept my Brewer’s Phrase and Fable and the two volume OED.)

Despite the fact that I agree that rape conviction rates are lamentably low, I don’t buy that the slutwalk is a great step forward for feminism.

Nor that AC Grayling’s £18,000 private university is a good thing for education. 

I don’t buy the Big Society. Professional people should be paid to do professional jobs. Teachers. Librarians. Bin men. I don’t want my appendix taken out by a community volunteer.

And finally, I won’t be buying six inch orange suede platforms for summer, despite them being the season’s Must Have. This indicates that I am officially old, but I can live with that.




18 thoughts on “Things I’m not buying this week.

  1. Mike 8 years ago

    Meg, I’m buying those views on reference books. Nothing online matches Brewer’s Phrase and Fable for content, or SOED for pleasure. I have just off-loaded the library’s 18 volume Grove’s Dictionary of Music without missing a beat.

    And I don’t think either of need those shoes.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Like. Though you’ve broken Tony McGowan’s heart.

  2. francesca simon 8 years ago

    But Meg, think how the lurchers would look in those!

  3. Anthony McGowan 8 years ago

    I’m buying your not buying, Meg. But Mike, how on earth could you ditch the superb Grove? There’s nothing like it on the web is there? At least not for free (The Grove web access is paid for). I have two stray volumes that I picked up in a library sale and I love them like children.

  4. Adrian Short 8 years ago

    I’m not buying straw men.

    Teachers and librarians are professionals. So are surgeons. Bin men are not.

    Any physically fit person can empty bins with a couple of hours training.

    No-one ever suggested that untrained volunteers would be performing surgery.

    This isn’t to say, of course, that we should draft volunteers to replace bin men.

  5. Kate 8 years ago

    But without a thesaurus, I couldn’t have spent my teenage years finding sixteen different ways to write ‘said …’, not to mention throwing in a few more adjectives. (I admit it: at dead of night, I still take down my well-thumbed copy, dated 1977, and browse.)

  6. nicola baird 8 years ago

    I’m just leaving Hong Kong and have been surprised to see how over-staffed it is (this is looking with British eyes). There are even staff to get you and your oyster (well octopus here) through the ticket barriers quicker. And lots of street sweepers. It’s lonely working by yourself so having a colleague, or more, and finding ways to spread the pay packets seems a great deal better than what Cameron is doing to our public services now by whittling away all the job opportunities.

  7. Kirsten Baron 8 years ago

    The whole point of volunteering is that it is done voluntarily… to rely on it or take it for granted (in the way that Cameron seems to aim for) strikes me as plain greedy!

  8. Nina Killham 8 years ago

    I tend to buy whatever you say, Meg. So keep on saying it!

  9. MaryWitzl 8 years ago

    One of the nicest things about getting old is not feeling ashamed about wearing comfy shoes. I’d buy those orange shoes as earrings, though. They’d look interesting with Birkenstocks.

    Our local library has dozens of bodice-rippers on the shelf, but they had to order Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island from another library. I’m not buying that, but unfortunately they’re selling it.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      That’s terrible, Mary. It IS what they’re selling and it’s not encouraging.

    2. Velma 8 years ago

      the reason they had to order it in is because so few people want to borrow it and books have to work for their place on the shelves in terms of issues. It was available for order because one of the few librarians left would have made sure it was kept somewhere, just for you. it’s not that we don’t understand the importance and value of classic (or just good quality) books, it’s that our usefulness is judged in the only way politicians seem to be able to understand – in numbers

  10. Laurel Patton 8 years ago

    Meg, I would love to see your blog published! This one spoke to me on every level: as a teacher librarian frequently forced to defend my profession as being valid, e-books as taking nothing away from print books, and wearing what my daughter calls “old lady shoes.” When out with colleagues recently, I was advised by a younger teacher that I should take my Uggs home and burn them.

    Despite years as a feminist, I found myself looking at a pair of platform heels in a store window and speculating on just how much they would hurt. You know they call them “eff me” shoes because you could never run away from anyone in them.

    1. Elle 8 years ago

      Gah! Your comment on “eff me” shoes is just another example of how society blames the victims rather than the abuser.

      Although you may disagree with the slut walk Meg; THIS is what the slut walk is all about.

    2. Meg 8 years ago

      I agree that women should wear whatever they want and that the victims of rape should not be blamed.
      I don’t agree that feminism is all about sexuality.

  11. jackie 8 years ago

    I buy all that and more and I also buy that we are being sold short by a government of white men in suits.

  12. Amanda 8 years ago

    Long live old lady shoes!
    And bin men. Mine are lovely.
    And people who care about how our world is arranged.
    And librarians who know about treasures and care enough to share them.
    And long live self expression.
    Keep offering it, Meg.

  13. Hanalee 8 years ago

    I can’t tell you how much I love you for the “slutwalk” bit. Thanks for keeping it classy.

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