While watching watching the umpteenth rerun of my favorite 70’s sitcom Barney Miller (I still harbor a crush on one of the characters, but that’s up to you to figure out), I realized that the character Arthur Dietrich is a closet librarian. So what’s a closet librarian? It’s the character and/or celebrity who displays librarian-like tendencies despite their best efforts to hide them; in fact they usually make no efforts to hide them whatsoever. This means that in the land of television their incessant intelligence and overwhelming obsessions to organize become wacky character traits or bad plot points instead of becoming their usual real-life manifestations: underpaid librarians.
So who’s a closeted librarian? Here’s a start:
- Emma Peel of The Avengers: a true closeted Lipstick Librarian, displaying a fierce curiosity and an analytical mind, not to mention the fact that she had enough self-possession to wear a skin-tight leather jumpsuit and work next to someone with an unhealthy obsession for umbrellas and bowlers without showing a hint of embarrassment. Besides, Diana Rigg and I share the same birthday (not the year, mind you), so how could I resist?
- Lisa Douglas in Green Acres: whether it’s the jellies she just canned or the cows in pasture, Eva Gabor‘s character had a persistent need to organize things from season to season. Sure, her choice of access points were a bit obscure (e.g., organizing chickens according to which order they pecked corn from her hand), but hey! she at least tried….
- Niles Crane in Frasier: a closet cataloger if I ever saw one.
I’m sure there’s more, and if they occur to me, I’ll post ’em. Let me know if you come up with any.
“Mediated database searching techniques: tips for keeping your French
manicure flawless.” Journal of the American Society for Informatics and
Fashions, May 1995, 374-391.
Until next time….