By Cory Doctorow at 1:35 am Wed, May 18, 2011
Books - That is exactly how they work
I am a mamber of an NGO who’s mission is to promote the love for books in elementary public schools in Lebanon. This poster just fits our mission. Wish we can collaborate with the artist to convey our message so magically as this poster….it can;t be more true!
I see this as a warning about the dangers of escapism. You get the same result if you replace ‘books’ with ‘drugs’.
“I see this as a warning about the dangers of escapism. You get the same result if you replace ‘books’ with ‘drugs’.”
By “dangers of escapism”, I take it you mean to be a jerk.
I on the contrary take this as warning to look over the walls of ignorance which will surround and imprison you, if you don’t take steps to overcome them.
Read more books, particularly history books, perhaps as to the origins of the war on drugs: for such “escapism” has no dangers whatsoever – except for those who would be your jailers.
Actually no, I wasn’t trying to be a jerk. I was just pointing out that this can be read in at least two different ways.
(It’s a bad habit of mine to deconstruct propaganda — probably something I picked up from thinking too much and reading too many books.)
I love the poster and the image is fantastic!
But does anyone else think “That is exactly how they work” isn’t quite… right? There’s something about this phrase that doesn’t sound quite right to my ears. It might be the use of “that”, and the use of “exactly” (too rigid a word for the gloriously open-ended image above it?). A simpler “This is how they work” feels a little better, I think….
I think that you’re picking up on something that everyone else (including Cory, sorry) isn’t quite getting: the Demotivator creator is taking the piss.
I’m also surprised everyone thinks the sarcastic caption makes this better. I also feel like this particular thing (minus the sarcasm) has been done to death…
Any Russian speakers care to translate what the real poster says?
i’m emailing this to everyone who is proposing to lay-off Ontario’s school librarians
Hey Cory — if you do ever find a link where this poster is available for purchase, could you please post an update?
This is too true – books allow you to see over the wall, but not to get over the wall. Reading was one of the only things I could do that didn’t get me in trouble when I was a kid. I read a lot. I’m still on the wrong side of the wall.
This is too true – books allow you to see over the wall, but not to get over the wall.
Incorrect. Books are one of the few things that can help get you over that wall.
Without books education if difficult. Without education, you’re stuck in the ghetto.
You mean without social skills. I got the education – as soon as I figured out how to. My social skills were ruined before this and I have never found a remedy for that in any book or anywhere else.
I hear you. If I had a solution, I’d tell you…and be doing it myself.
Initial trajectory is hard to alter.
Hm, note that all the rest of the graffiti is in Russian. While it’d be understood, I’d guess that the F-bomb may not carry as much power to a foreign audience as it does to native English speakers. I certainly know some foreign obscenities, but they don’t feel like swearing to me.
Still, it’s too bad. I’d show this to my 9-year-old daughter, were it not for the ugly word.
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Reading is not harmful. It is harmful not to read.
If this were available for sale with out the f-bomb I would absolutely buy it for my school library. The high school kids wouldn’t be fazed by the profanity, but it wouldn’t be so great for my 2nd graders.
It could only be improved if they changed the graffiti to ‘F*** this F*****’ S***, F**ers!” Because that’s not merely grim realism, its grim grim grim realism! And the more grim in your realism, the better!
Wow. An inspirational poster for kids thats inappropriate for kids, but instead inspires hipsters because its grim (and realistic!!).
Its unfortunate, because it is a truly awesome poster otherwise.
I wonder if there is a connection between “Catcher in the Rye” and the “F bomb” graffiti…
Wow…that is truly WONDERFUL. Thanks so much!
Would it still work if he had a Kindle?
Wait a minute. . . what’s with the “F%&K YOU” graffiti on the wall? I admit it’s realistic, but c’mon, that will guarantee this never gets put up on a library wall..
I also had strong reservations about the language. But I’ve circulated the image via e-mail, and so far everyone loves it. If it becomes available, it will probably appear in our academic library.
It’s exactly that kind of sentiment that kicks “The Catcher in the Rye” out of school libraries.
My 11th grade english teacher wanted to have us read “the world according to garp.” Even on long island, this was not approved. So she asked us all to go buy our own copies, and bought a few out of her own pocket, and since we all happened to be reading it anyway, we discussed it in class. By that point, of course, it was too late for this kind of poster to have much effect.
This poster is intended for a much younger audience, and less explicit graffiti would allow it to achieve a much wider distribution.
I can see the street thugs, television sets and abusive parents off to the sides of that photo waiting to drag that kid down to their side, pump him full of media and drugs and send him off to school, the military, or prison.
I can also see instead of books he’s dropped acid and sees the same thing. Then tries marijuana, mushrooms, meth, and the escape is never enough to go back to piddly books. Want more escape, try Russian Literature, No? try cutting edge science fiction and fantasy, No? try Ulysses. No? write you own stuff. Dungeons and Dragons? But sir, drugs are so easy, reading and thinking are so hard.
Appears to be an entry in a Russian publisher’s contest:
@ill lich : I think it’s meant to express the grim nature of reality that books allow us to escape from.
I also wish to second the request for a print.
The fantasy imagery and the dreary wall both look so stereotypical that it comes across as banal.
I, librarian (academic, granted) WANT and would indeed put up on my wall should print become available.
sometimes i wonder how big cory’s place is. sometimes i want to try to estimate it by the number of times he’s said that he’d hang a given poster in an instant, or definitely wanted furniture item XYZ for his home. my gut feeling is that if cory can realize all of these sentiments about things he posts on BB, his home must have absolutely no room for its inhabitants, and no use for paint or wallpaper.
cory – you know you can something like “i think this is totally awesome” without having to add “and i want one” or “and i plan to put one on my wall” each time? or do you actually go out and procure the stuff you say this about and figure out a way to live with it?
“F**king books, how do they work?”
Better link: http://www.eksmo.ru/bookman/works/1249/
nice. This reminds of that Stay In School poster from Bob Saget:
this is a pirated work of art. see the original here
however, I have to admit, its an improvement
This brings to mind Emily Dickinson’s comment “This then is a book! And there are more of them!”
I officially concur with taj1f’s “awesome”…
Yay, my first comment after lurking here forever.
This is awesome. My brother, a high school teacher in a very rough neighborhood, should probably put this up in his room. He’d be reprimanded, but it would be quite a statement.
I love the poster, but the f… has got to go if you want it to be in a public place like the library. Even though the word has become commonplace in our society I think they could put something else there, the poster is too fabulous not to get posted. Change the word, change the world.
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