So yesterday afternoon I was honored as one of the recipients of the 2011 Washington Irving Book Awards, paying tribute to Westchester, N.Y.-based authors. I’m not one who values/covets awards, because I don’t think writing and trophies/certificates/etc have much to do with one another. But, that being said, it was an extremely cool event. Sat alongside some absolutely Grade-A scribes, including Jonathan Tropper, Marilyn Johnson, Joe Queenan and James Bradley. The whole two-hour event was writers talking writing, which I always dig. Love hearing stories of the craft; the struggle; etc … etc.
Anyhow, the keynote speaker was someone named Seth Godin. I was sorta surprised to hear this because, well, I’d never heard of the man. Tropper, Johnson, Queenan, Bradley—all huge. Godin? Uh … not so sure. Googled him, found this. He’s a marketer who writes books.*
Anyhow, during his address, to a room packed with librarians, Godin made some, well, odd statements:
• He said Wikipedia is “better than most of your encyclopedias.” (Yeah, if you wanna depend on findings that are, oh, 20% untrue)
• He called the staff at Netflix “better librarians than you,” because they know all your likes, habits and history.
• “Libraries will die in seven years,” Godin predicted, though librarians would still be required to “clueless people clues.”
Again, I don’t know Seth Godin. Don’t know what he’s like, what he does, what he writes. I also don’t 100 percent agree about libraries. They won’t be dead, but they need to continue to evolve and adjust to digital implementations. What I disagree with, however, is being invited to speak to a group, and going out of your way to insult the people there. Just strikes me as an odd approach.
* I’ve since been told that Seth Godin is huge, and I need to leave the house. Ha.