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August 26, 2005

Living Library Lunacy

The Wall Street Journal reports that a library in Malmo, Sweden lends not only books but human beings, in an effort to help the unenlightened overcome their prejudices. If you bring your library card, you can take out a homosexual, an imam, a gypsy, a journalist, or even a Dane. Not to be outdone, a Dutch library plans to start a similar program, which will allow patrons to check out a politician, a homosexual, a Muslim, a gypsy, a drug addict, or a German.

"The customers can rent a veiled Muslim woman and finally ask her all the questions they would never dare to ask if they met her on the street," says Jan Krol, director of the Dutch library.

Evidently this is on the level. WSJ suggests that European libraries offer Americans, so that "even Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder could check them out."

Of course, whether borrowing an American would help Europeans overcome their bigotry would depend on the American: if you brought home Sean Hannity, it would leave you with a very different impression than if you brought home Michael Moore. Apparently the European librarians involved do not feel that the same principle would apply to Muslims, homosexuals, etc.

If this concept catches on, I'm sure library patrons in Vancouver won't have long to wait before they can check out prostitutes and drug dealers.

Posted by Van Helsing at August 26, 2005 2:06 PM


What? No skinheads? No fascists? No... conservatives?

Posted by: The MaryHunter at August 26, 2005 2:52 PM

Liberals are the first to scream about stereotyping and bigotry, yet, this Library plan is likely the most racist and bigotted thing I've heard for a long time. To think that you can understand all Americans by signing "one" out is so bigotted it defies comprehension. I'll tell you who I'd like to signout... the dorks who came up with this plan... then of course I'd know what all Swedes are like; right?

Posted by: Debris Trail at August 26, 2005 5:15 PM

It certainly in an interesting concept. I agree though, that being able to check one out, does not give the diversity you would need to learn all the aspects involved.

Posted by: Mrs Media Matters at August 26, 2005 6:05 PM

I have an image of Michael Jackson lurking in the Children's Section.

Posted by: V the K at August 26, 2005 11:34 PM

V the K - ewwww!!! you're so right!

overall, one of the stupidest ideas I've heard. Are you sure this is "real" vs. "Memorex"?

Posted by: Candace at August 26, 2005 11:55 PM

This seems to be a nice idea of good intentions! But I doubt that it would work as well as hoped.

Whatever happened to natural human social interaction?

Posted by: Rocco Ryan at August 27, 2005 1:24 AM

Whatever happened to natural human social interaction?

I blame reality TV.

Posted by: V the K at August 27, 2005 9:46 AM

Whatever happened to natural human social interaction?

Or better yet, Karl Rove.

Posted by: V the K at August 27, 2005 9:47 AM

Whatever happened to natural human social interaction?

I was going to blame Michael Jackson.

Posted by: The MaryHunter at August 27, 2005 10:10 AM