I found myself reading the newest edition of Brandeis Magazine (otherwise known as "Look at what all your friends and fellow alumni have accomplished while you sit there biting your toenails Magazine") and I stumbled upon an article. No, not the one about the graduate who wrote a book about the Pope and Mussolini. Not the one about the current track star who survived growing up Sierra Leone. Not even the one about the U.N. Undersecretary or the one about the doctor from the class of 1973 who also won the lottery. This is a small article (page 39) about a manuscript by Herbert Marcuse.
Please excuse my ignorance. In my extensive world travels (Israel and Florida) I have never run into any mention of Prof. Marcuse. His name has never come up over dinner, or even after dinner. But, hey, he must be somebody important because there it is, his long forgotten manuscript recently found, gracing the pages of my University of You Suck at Life alumni mag.
But here's the thing. Why is it worthy of note? Is there something revelatory about the content? No. Does it change the way we live our lives now? No. Do we have to rethink our approach to Hegelian philosophy because of it? Well, I'll give it a try. What's Hegelian philosophy? Time to check the google. BRB.
That's it? Transcendental idealism? Why didn't you just say so. No, no change.
Anyway, do you know what the big deal is about this manuscript that garnered it two thirds of a page while my recent cold didn't merit a mention?
They found it.
Yup. That's it. They found a manuscript. It had been placed in a box and the box had been stored "off site" (which means "in my mom's attic and she finally told me to clear out my junk") and now it has been found. It was so important that when they got it they put it in a really secure box and then forgot about it for 50 years. Big news...we screwed up 50 years ago and now we found it so, yay. Should I be burying my pearls of mediocrity in the hope that in 50 years someone will "find" it and it will then be considered genius?* Should I be mailing my words to the most irresponsible person I can imagine so that when his heirs come to their senses and finally pry the top off the coffee can in the crawl space, they will "discover" my work? Aren't we just rewarding the sloppy record keeping of the previous generation? This shouldn't be an article but an apology. What kind of confidence can I have in an institutional library that lost something which is supposedly so essential to its collection? What else have they lost that we get to celebrate when we get lucky and find it? Maybe we should stop looking for things so that we don't find them for another 50 years. Then that would be really neat.
So congrats to the university library for undoing a 50 year old error which has no real consequence other than make me think that the hiring standards for librarians were ridiculously low. Good job taking pride in admitting that you can't keep track of what people give you. Kudos to the magazine for spinning what should be an embarrassment into something to crow about. I'll keep my Gutenberg Bible and my First Folio until you people get your act together.
*It is genius now. If you can't see that, maybe it isn't my work which should be forgotten about for 50 years. Nyah nyah.