I didn’t attend ALA this summer but I wish I had—just to meet the gorilla. It’s the one thing that stood out as I followed the conference on Twitter:
My initial reaction was that he must have been making a statement: the gorilla in the room / elephant in the room type of thing. This had to be a commentary on obsolescence. Or maybe it was some type of wakeup call: a future shock – “too much change in too short of a time.” Or maybe he was trying to shake people from the routine patterns of librarian presentations. Or was it a play on the invisible gorilla theme and he was making a point about us not being able to see things that are in plain sight?
Obviously I’ve probably overthought the whole thing. When I looked at the photos without any context, I saw the alienation of an outsider: a person with bold ideas who just doesn’t quite fit into the mainstream of librarianship. It’s actually kind of a Kafka meets Albee meets Lynch swirl for me: a surreal absurdist moment captured online.
Even though I know who the person is, I like pretending that I don’t. His motive on “blowing people’s minds” is admirable, but I prefer to let my imagination do the work. Like any artistic expression it’s open to interpretation. For me it’s an existential statement.
This idea has been lingering with me for several months now – it definitely made an impression and I thank him for that. And while it is unfair to chalk this up as a Halloween post, I figured that it’s the only day of the year that I can pull this off.