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May 13, 2005

What's The Matter With Minnesota?

A while ago James Lilkes noted the new ad campaign by the "Friends of the Minneapolis Library" (sworn opponents, he notes dryly, of the "Enemies of the Minneapolis Library") using Mao -- yes, Chairman Mao, the guy who killed, oh, tens of millions of his people or so (who's counting?) -- in a cute, attention-getting ad campaign.

Check out the ad here. And the ad copy: **A former librarian, who created the 3rd largest economy in the world (and least diverse collection of books).

Well, I guess that bit about the "least diverse collection of books" is a dig, but, as Lilkes notes, he had greater sins, such as creating a failry diverse collection of corpses.

But the Friends of the Minneapolis Library isn't quite done yet. Admitting their campaign is a bit controversial (at least among the troglodytes who presumably don't use books for anything but kindling anyways), they explain:

In the most politically charged ads, MPL, which is predicated on free speech, tolerance and the open exchange of ideas, is contrasted with Mao and [J. Edgar] Hoover, who both worked in libraries early in their lives but pursued policies antithetical to an open society (to put it mildly).

Lileks responds today:

Mao and {J. Edgar] Hoover. Peas in a pod. I’m no Hoover fan, but they’re not exactly in the same league. Besides, Hoover’s big target was the Reds, whose vision was far more antithetical to an open society than anything J. Edgar dreamed up. There, I’ve said it: Mao was worse than Hoover. And these distinctions are important. There are of course many right-thinking people who will agree, but they squirm in their seat as they do so, waiting for a chance to launch a BUT missile into the gap. The effect of communism on some countries was of course horrible, in a sense, BUT you had to admit that the McCarthy witch trials and blacklisting of screenwriters is a dark chapter in American history, no?

They may not like communists, but they really don’t like anti-communists. Communists may be deluded, but they meant well in some abstract sense that surely has to count for something. Whereas God knows what the anti-communists really want.

Lileks suggests his own "controversial" ad campaign. Gotta admit-- it does get attention. And that's all that really matters, right?

Lileks notes that the FML isn't really endorsing Mao. But their subsequent defensive explanation also makes it clear they don't think Mao is any worse than J. Edgar Hoover.

It's a bit tiresome to keep making this point. But sometime in the future lefties have to give up the idea that Mao and Stalin and Lenin and Castro were basically just good folks who were a little seduced by power, but who basically had the "good of the masses" foremost in their mind and just broke a few too many eggs to make their utopian omlette.

Thanks to NickS.

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posted by Ace at 11:11 AM

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