father’s day tribute to David Evans amid collapse of public reason

Your son is charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense, and first-degree kidnapping. Leading national newspapers report these charges on their front pages, along sensational accounts of the allegations, false statements, grossly slanted reporting, and your son’s photograph.

You know that there is no credible evidence to support the charges. Anyone who seriously examined the evidence could recognize that the charges have no credible support. More than a year later, after a 90-day review of the evidence, the Attorney General will declare: “there was no credible evidence to support the allegation that the crimes occurred.”

But right now, hate-filled persons are assembling around a large banner screaming “castrate.” “Wanted” criminal posters are going up on the campus of your son’s university. Professors at your son’s university are condemning him and his friends. The university suspends your son because of the charges.

You see the District Attorney engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. The District Attorney fails to disclose exculpatory evidence. The District Attorney makes false statements to the court, to defense attorneys, and to the State Bar. The District Attorney makes extrajudicial media statements that materially prejudice the proceeding and heighten public condemnation of your son.

Does anyone care? They say, “Let the criminal justice system run its course.” The course of the criminal justice system is unjustly causing your son enormous damage. It’s a travesty of justice, a fiasco. Meanwhile, crime profs spotlight each other on a blog (that’s said to build traffic). Ferocious blog-critics of traditional media prefer not to consider the performance of the traditional media in this case. Perhaps they’re afraid, and they have common sense for career advancement. Far too few persons in positions of power and influence act to help stop this injustice.

Your son is steadfast in the truth in his suffering. He is witness to the best of what human beings can be. He is, finally, exonerated. You might have easily missed news of this development.

Thank you, with a thank you as wide as the sky, for fathers who raise sons like David Evans.

library users like audiovisuals

Sarah Ann Long, a former president of the American Library Association and currently director of NSLS, a library consortium in the northern suburban region of Illinois, recently noted public library users’ interest in audiovisual materials:

In 2001, the NSLS conducted an informal survey of member public libraries and found that in a few libraries, loans of AV materials were about 40 percent of all loans. The same survey was just repeated and the numbers have grown. Many libraries now report that AV borrowing is in the 40 percent range. The Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin said that almost 57 percent of their loans were for AV materials and the Glencoe Public Library reported that AV accounted for 63 percent of all items borrowed.

Some libraries are adopting innovative collection management approaches to audiovisuals, such as having the library subscribe to Netflix.

National censuses of U.S. public libraries provide more comprehensive information on audiovisual materials in U.S. public libraries. Audiovisual materials as a percent of the number of book volumes in libraries’ collections have increased from about 3.5% in 1987 to 9.5% in 2004. The share of videos grew much faster than that of audios, with videos rising from 0.6% of book volumes in 1987 to 4.6% in 2004. Estimates based on cross-section variations in libraries’ collections indicate that videos account for about 20% of libraries circulation in 2004, and audio and visual materials together (audiovisuals), about 35%. Thus the reported figures from northern Illinois appear to be representative of the situation in the U.S. as a whole. The popularity of audio and video materials compared to books is consistent with a variety of other evidence from the communications industry.

Public libraries’ provision of audiovisual materials has received relatively little scholarly attention. The Library Media Project, which sought to foster the development of public libraries’ video collections, recently expired. Nonetheless, public libraries have provided and are likely to continue to provide many services besides lending books.

Update: Some state library websites (search them here) provide data on audiovisuals circulation. The data I’ve found are in the table below. These data suggest that audiovisual circulation for libraries across the U.S. might be closer to 25% of total circulation in 2006.

Audiovisual Items in U.S. Public Libraries
State Year Video
Kentucky 2006 4.6% 18.4% 8.7% 28.3%
Massachusetts 2006 3.8% 23.1% 7.2% 32.4%
Rhode Island 2006 4.1% n/a 7.1% 29.6%
Maryland 2005 4.3% 14.8% 10.1% 25.6%
New Jersey 2005 3.7% n/a 7.4% 26%
North Carolina 2005 3.0% 11.4% 6.5% 17.3%
South Carolina 2005 3.8% 20.8% 7.6% 20.8%
Source: public library statistics on state websites.

saturated in literary discourse

sign using quotes

In English literature, the direct speech of imaginary characters is typically marked with quotation marks. An imaginary character says, “Do not throw trash in the tray.” Perhaps your mother?

two-voice story on ATM envelope

Literary style seems to have become a deeper part of consciousness than verbal grammar. An ATM deposit envelope provides the setting. Written on it is a bare noun phrase, although it could be an imperative statement if the ATM had needs: DEPOSIT ENVELOPE FOR ATM. Then a stern, laconic voice says, “NO COINS”.

The whole world is not naturally made of narrative. Historical contingencies of intellectual life and technology have constructed it that way.