Never, ever, anger a librarian
August 27, 2020 9:41 AM   Subscribe

When self-proclaimed (and allegedly ailing) "man of the people" Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson spoke in a Leicestershire school library, people started to notice the choice of books positioned on a shelf behind him. These included The Subtle Knife, Fahrenheit 451, Betrayed, The Resistance, and The Twits. But in a plot twist, the specific books were not positioned for Boris - but they were positioned deliberately for someone else...
posted by Wordshore (25 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Revenge is a dish best served cold on a library shelf.
posted by plonkee at 9:44 AM on August 27 [12 favorites]

I can't be the only person, let alone the only librarian, who spends half the time spent in online meetings trying to figure out what books are on someone's shelves. Well done, I'm just going to sit here an cackle my evil cackle for a bit.
posted by librarianamy at 10:05 AM on August 27 [27 favorites]

Print the legend.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:11 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]

That is brilliant.

Librarians are the best.

(Also: nice naming, Wordshore. I didn't know who the "man of the people" was until I clicked through.)
posted by kristi at 10:27 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]

Every single photo or video of a person with visible books in the background I spend 90% of the time trying to make out the titles.

Worth noting also is that over Boris' left shoulder is a copy of Guards, Guards, a novel in which the upper class of a city finds the city occupied by a dragon who eats people and decides that it's fine.
posted by sotonohito at 10:31 AM on August 27 [31 favorites]

Every single photo or video of a person with visible books in the background I spend 90% of the time trying to make out the titles.

I DMed my boss in Slack in the middle of a presentation to ask him what the green book was on the bookshelf behind him. Turned out to be one of Jeremy Clarkson's books.
posted by hanov3r at 10:35 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]

Not so long ago, I would have been surprised that there wasn't someone on their team that would, you know, specifically check for things like this. But I don't assume basic job competence anymore.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:38 AM on August 27 [15 favorites]

Johnson's health has been in decline for the last ten years at least, but he definitely fell off a cliff when he got Covid.

His mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's at 40, and it seems very likely to me that Boris has a serious underlying problem.
posted by jamjam at 11:31 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]

librarianamy, you (and everybody else using time on Zoom to look at book shelves) need to follow Bookcase Credibility (@BCredibility) on Twitter. Their comment on this photo is

The person that set this up. Until now my favourite librarian has always been the one who looks after the library at Unseen University but even that mighty orang-utan must bend the knee to this daredevil. A stunt, yes, but heroically pulled off by the Evel Knievel of credibility.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 11:34 AM on August 27 [12 favorites]

I love this
posted by supermedusa at 11:35 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]

ooh, Bookcase Credibility is hilarious. Thanks, ALeaflikeStructure! I love this one.
posted by taz at 12:15 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]

Detail about the school:
"CEO of the Apollo Partnership Trust, which took over Castle Rock School as an academy in 2017..."
posted by doctornemo at 12:18 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]

Yep, doctornemo, that's typical of about 30% of English secondary schools. It would be a huge scandal if we had proper oversight of the press. The management and employment rights have been totally bastardised.
posted by ambrosen at 1:53 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]

Revenge is a book best printed using cold-metal phototypesetting.
posted by rhizome at 2:06 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]

Also kind of surprised that the school closed down its library for 5 months. What kind of school doesn't have a library? Where are the nerds supposed to go during lunch?
posted by Merus at 3:53 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]

A cost-effective one, of course. Do you realize that most of the time, those books aren't even being read? While money is spent to store them? How does that deliver value to the taxpayer?
posted by Rat Spatula at 4:25 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]

A variation of this is the Book title art of Nina Katchadourian. I know of her as we were gifted Sarah Urist Green’s You Are An Artist, and only have non-digital media and text.

I totally hit the pause button to discern book titles, and before being a digital bookshelf voyeur, I compulsively read anyone’s shelved titles, in their office, during a dinner party, etc.

There are so many opportunities here...
posted by childofTethys at 4:30 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]

Also kind of surprised that the school closed down its library for 5 months.

You won't believe this, but I've only been into the office for one day in the last 5 months, and I'm not even slightly in trouble.
posted by ambrosen at 4:39 PM on August 27 [23 favorites]

allegedly ailing

The thought of Boris Johnson having no option but to live in chronic, grinding physical misery makes me almost as happy as believing that Bolsonaro, Duterte, Johnson, Modi, Netanyahu, Trump and Xi are all more likely than not to die before I do.

If that makes me a bad person, I can live with that.

The world would have been a better place without any of those corrupt evil fucks in it.
posted by flabdablet at 6:31 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]

Johnson's health is probably fine, in the same way that any other top-level politician is - good care and a lot of force of will that allows them to function. What's not fine is Johnson's standing amongst the Tory party grandees, who saw him as a winning ticket for driving through Brexit, not as a steady hand to deal with a pandemic and related problems. If he is forced out, the option is that he can say "health issues, corvid, spend time with family" rather than "I am incompetent and my career in politics has been actively harmful to the country over the past five/ten years", because that would be bad
posted by The River Ivel at 2:40 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]

Each link expertly chosen and worth clicking. Excellent FPP.
posted by freethefeet at 3:04 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]

Rather off-topic, but Alexander is a much better name than Boris.
posted by daybeforetheday at 3:18 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

“ Also kind of surprised that the school closed down its library for 5 months” - there’s no statutory requirement in England to provide a school library (never mind staffing it with a qualified librarian and not treating that librarian as an over-qualified babysitter) and academy schools are notorious for cost cutting actually useful things so I’m amazed they even had one prior to the schools closing for lockdown.

Chances of it reopening as anything other than a room with some books shoved in it and maaaaybe a parent rota, slim to none.

Of my fellow UK librarian friends , the ones that have left the profession completely due to work based stress etc. have all been former school librarians.
posted by halcyonday at 3:20 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]

Thanks Wordshore for making an already great news item even more interesting by providing such great context. That last link is so interesting - the kind of mad coincidence that you only get in fiction.
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:25 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]

The allegation that the PM is “ailing” seems to come through the houseguest of the father in law of someone who I think of as famously untrustworthy and is also maybe hoping to supplant the PM? Is that just normal news sourcing in 2020, or am I missing something as a foreigner, or what?
posted by clew at 10:04 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]

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