It seemed like something that had to be satire and yet somehow isn’t. No, we’re not talking about literally every news story in the past year. We’re talking about this op-ed in Forbes, advocating for shutting down libraries and replacing them with Amazon digital services. This would cost every person who uses them money (and leave rural people like me completely without options, probably), but Long Island University Post economics professor Mourdoukoutas seems to view that as a bonus, as it would “enhanc[e] the value of [Amazon’s] stock.”
So that was published in Forbes, not The Onion. Dude is really calling for an end to libraries, later taking to twitter to claim he pays an additional $495 per year in property taxes towards library funding alone, and then he adds that “most people” don’t use the library enough to justify that tax. Except “most people” don’t own a $1.5 million dollar house, which another Twitter user pointed out would have to be the value of his home to be paying $495 per year in library taxes where he lives. It’s worth noting he lives in a county where a $1.5 million dollar house is about 300% more expensive than the median home price.
Twitter worked swiftly this weekend, coming to the defense of libraries. I’m sure some might argue this helps Forbes, as it seems they decided it was a good business strategy to promote one of the dumbest ideas imaginable in order to maybe get people to click on the article to see just how stupid it is. That may conjure ad revenue in the short term, but now the first thing I’ll think of when I think “Forbes” will be “stump dumb provocateurs” and that seems like a bad long-term strategy for them. (Full disclosure: my mom and grandma were librarians and I’ve spent a sizable percentage of my life in libraries, so if you want to besmirch a library I might fight you with knives. Forbes, I will fight you with knives.)
So, without further ado or threats of knife violence, here are some of our favorite tweets in response to this anti-library sentiment: