Reg and Syd: Carnegie’s Folly

“A second glass of port, Reg? That’s unlike you. Is something amiss?”

“Hmm. I shall have to take better note of your developing powers of observation. I am a bit troubled tonight.”

“Doesn’t take much observing power to spot a rare bird when it’s standing in front of you, drinking port in your parlor. Since I’ve never seen you put out by a business matter, I have to presume something personal. And even with personal matters, you’re hardly ever at a loss … unless it’s about …”

“My daughter, Syd. Yes.”

“Off on another one of her crusades?”

“This one works directly against our interests, and so is particularly galling. She’s gotten herself stuck into a ‘save libraries’ campaign.”

Libraries? Carnegie‘s folly? Those expensive piles of brick and mortar and moldering paper that no one ever reads? What possible use could those things be in the electronic age?”

“Precisely. You remember Jerry Brown, Pat’s boy, down in California? He’s got the right idea. Get rid of all those library piles, and the librarian scam artists who are shameless enough to take good money for doing nothing but shushing quiet people and ignoring the scum who are doing nefarious things in dark corners. Digitize the 1 book in 200 that anyone has actually read in the last 50 years, and put them in a central repository.”

“Which we control.”

“So we can keep, alter, or destroy whatever writings we see fit, and distribute those texts we keep at our discretion, and at whatever price we can convince the market to bear. If a book offends, it vanishes from your Kindle. And everyone else’s. A simple, efficient, and profitable system. But no. Those anal-retentive university eggheads insist on keeping their piles. And, of course, it’s those global warming freaks who are leading the charge. What makes them think anybody’s going to pay them to push their propaganda? What economically rational person will stand for this? And my daughter is right in there with them. You would think that she, of all people, would see through their hypocrisy; see that, in the end, their pitiful power play has no chance against market forces. I may have to disown her.”

“Tough love, Reg. Sometimes, there’s no other option. You do what you must, the kid comes around or not, and if she doesn’t, you move on.”

“You are correct, of course, Syd, and in this case as in all others, I will do the right thing. After I finish my port.”

“I knew I could count on you, Reg. One thing, though. After one has gotten rid of the books and their parasitic keepers, you still have the bricks and mortar. What do you do with the space?

That, fortunately, Syd, is simplicity itself. You need the space, as empty and unencumbered as possible, to teach classes that will turn a profit. The ones that require a minimum of personnel and few or no resources, and to which the customers will flock in droves. This one, for instance.”


“An essential service if ever there was one, Syd. Far more important that those piles of academic reports on, oh I don’t know, sea squirts? seaweed? that those oceanowhatsifers are trying to hold on to, at our expense of course. The world doesn’t need its temperature taken, it needs Taylor Swift fansites. So, of course, do our portfolios.”

“All right, Reg, now I know you’re off your feed.”


“First time I’ve heard you settle for a starlet’s webpage instead of the genuine article, up close and, ah, personal. I’m calling your medical team, and I want them here now!

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4 Responses to Reg and Syd: Carnegie’s Folly

  1. Quilly says:

    Deleting books is much more subtle than burning them. Why, millions of books could disappear without a soul ever knowing they were gone. What an excellent idea — for Reg & Syd.

  2. tilden says:

    dude – i just followed the “blogging” link you left…
    when i saw it was a college course, i read on, kinda interested. an online class?
    maybe i would check it out.
    BUT, i noticed in the course description, there was no mention of the class teaching me
    how to drive traffic to MY BLOG!
    or how to GET and RETAIN readers!

    and so, i moved on…

  3. tilden says:

    one more thing…
    blogging is for suckers.

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