The Brooklyn Anthropologist (#1 in an occasional series)
July 31, 2011 3:00 PM - WonTon
Okay, so as many of you know, I split my year between Park Slope and Asia, which keeps me in a permanent state of culture shock--and I like it that way. Because it helps me notice the strange, sometimes annoying, and often wonderful behavioral patterns of Slope denizens, that might otherwise pass by unnoticed.

Like the Sad Abandoned Books of Park Slope ^^

This is the fourth or fifth tableau I've seen like this in the last two weeks. Nobody in Park Slope, it seems, can bear to throw away a book. We leave them, like foundlings, piled on doorsteps, balanced against wrought iron fences, even propped on top of walls. They stare at you as you pass by, begging like lost puppies for a new home.

And they say that print is dead! Maybe it is. Maybe these are the blanched corpses left to rot after the UPS man delivers the new Kindle or iPad.

I wonder why so many people in Park Slope seem so conflicted about destroying their books. Is it liberal guilt? Or a passive aggressive wish to spread bedbugs to literate strangers?

An informant of mine tells me that the Brooklyn Public Library has changed their donation policy and is only gonna take used books once a year, in October. Maybe that, more than anything else explains the strange proliferation of well-thumbed foundlings in the neighborhood.

What do you do with your old books? Do you ever just toss them in the trash?

July 31, 2011 3:05 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
:) the thing i LOVE about park slope IS that people always leave out books for people to take. i read a LOT and LOVE that for the most part this pleasure of mine is free. i always leave books out when im done with them too. i cant tell you how many of my favorite books and authors were cuz people left them out there for the taking.

make sure to shake them out for bedbugs tho. if youre truly paranoid, put them in the microwave for a few minutes.


July 31, 2011 3:09 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
there's also some organization that leaves books ALL over park slope in various places with a flyer inside to register the book. kinda cool. ive never actually registered any of the books ive found tho. the books kinda run the gamut when it comes to genre. the last one i found from them was Artichoke's Heart about a fat girl who became skinny. great book! however, when youre like 3/4s of the way thru and you realize youre reading a book that was aimed at 12 year old girls you kinda have to chuckle.


July 31, 2011 3:15 PM - WonTon
Books in the microwave! Brilliant. I tell you, Brooklyn is a treasure trove of material for The Brooklyn Anthropologist.
July 31, 2011 3:16 PM - WonTon
Rob, that's interesting--where do they want you to register the books?
Edited at July 31, 2011 3:16 PM
July 31, 2011 3:25 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
i just tried to find a book with one of the inserts, but i dont have any. im pretty sure i have a few books at work that have the inserts tho that i have no read yet. it's basically just some website and the book has a code you enter. then you leave the book out on the street for the next person to register that they read it. im awful, ive read SO many of those free books but never registered them. not sure what the point is of it anyway. i still leave the books out for the next person to pick up, of course i always tear out page 93.


July 31, 2011 3:28 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
i think im gonna gather some books right now before i go to the supermarket for dinner and put them out on the curb. sticking random photographs in the books you leave out is also nice. nothing like being halfway thru a book and then seeing a random photograph and be like wtf!?


July 31, 2011 3:41 PM - WonTon
That could be a cool art project--leaving out random books with photos, leaves, poems, notes, old postcards inserted....
July 31, 2011 3:43 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
or the phone numbers of your nemeses/arch enemies!!


July 31, 2011 3:44 PM - brooklynheightsivyIII
You Park Slope residents are so lucky. The only people who leave books all over the place in Brooklyn Heights are Jehovah's Witnesses. They always have some hideous day-glo faux paper covers and the same banal titles in gilt. "Wouldn't YOU like to live forever in paradise?"(With you people? Um, no. Thanks anyway) or "Is there hope for sinners?"(God, I hope not).
July 31, 2011 3:44 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
if i picked up a book on the ground tho and got to page, say 200, and found a fucking dried up leave id be pissed and probably stop reading the book. please dont put "leaves" in books. that's not an art projects, that's just retarded.


July 31, 2011 3:48 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
dried up LEAF, not leave. ugh im going dumb
BHiii: in grammer school there was a jehovah's witness in one of my grades. she was able to sit down while everyone had to stand up for the pledge of allegiance. she also was not allowed to partake in any kind of holiday party / birthday party. fast forward a few years in high school: she dropped out in 9th grade, became i think a junkie, etc. she rocks. im facebook friends with her now<3


July 31, 2011 3:54 PM - brooklynheightsivyIII
The best things about Jehovah's Witnesses. A List by B.H.I.:
1. They don't vote.
2. They don't run for political office.
3. They keep my neighborhood spic and span.
4. It is fun to watch the two spray paint brigade boys(such hot Christians) they have paint over the graffiti every morning.
5. When they get kicked out of their religion they become really interesting party guests.
July 31, 2011 4:12 PM - WonTon
So true on that last one, BHI. The rock critic Lester Bangs, for instance, grew up as a Witness.
July 31, 2011 4:13 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
ooooh i dont vote either!!! i find that people who vote have an entitlement mentality. they only vote for the bennies they get. the "right to vote" only exists to keep poor people in their place, sadly.


July 31, 2011 4:31 PM - dibs
I've never had sex with a Jehovah's witness, that I know of.
July 31, 2011 5:20 PM - Donatella
When I lived in Tokyo, at the ring of the bell, I opened the door to a couple of
Japanese Jehovah Witnesses. One look at me, the eyes went wide in a panic and
they scurried off. I didn't say a word. To them I was an English Pop Quiz. I
never opened my mouth and they couldn't get away fast enough. It worked for
July 31, 2011 5:21 PM - dibs
dona, imagine how crazed they would have been had they heard real Japanese coming from your mouth!!!!!
Edited at July 31, 2011 5:21 PM
July 31, 2011 5:21 PM - brooklynheightsivyIII
I prefer Mormons, DIBS. I find their sacred undergarments a turn-on, not to mention their guilt-fueled freak factor.
July 31, 2011 5:22 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
LOL what would Jehovahs even be doing in Japan!?!? speaking of Japan i totally blew my vacuum cleaner budget on video games :-/ Darius Twin and an original controller for the SNES. WOOT! ill just dust my my fingers.


July 31, 2011 5:23 PM - dibs
Generally all those people are too white for me.
July 31, 2011 5:23 PM - Donatella
They might have thought it was a religious vision. That I was one of the 144,000 at least....
Edited at July 31, 2011 5:23 PM
July 31, 2011 5:27 PM - Donatella

LOL what would Jehovahs even be doing in Japan!?!?

Looking for souls, *rob*. The best international door to door evangelists are the Mormons.
They are trained to do a speil in the native language. They are trained to do a speech
and then do questions and answers in the native language. They get really good. The
guy John Huntsman got good in Chinese doing his Mormon mission. Wonton, did you meet
these guys?
Edited at July 31, 2011 5:27 PM
July 31, 2011 5:29 PM - Donatella
not to mention their guilt-fueled freak factor......

I heard one Japanese guy say that he thought Mormons were some sect that
were sexually wild. Some of them get out of Utah and NO BRAKES! Whoa!!!!
Edited at July 31, 2011 5:29 PM
July 31, 2011 5:31 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
the jehovah's sound like a boring bunch tho. they dont like having fun. that sucks. give me the Heavens Gate people anyday!

July 31, 2011 5:33 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
^ wait, that's a song about those freaks who ate tainted jello, not Heavens Gate


July 31, 2011 5:41 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
one of the things i find endearing about dave is his unattraction to white men. lol. and he has no qualms about saying so. i crack up laughing on the train sometimes when i see someone i think he would find hot. a lot of people have a "type" they find hot. im kinda not that way. im heavily attracted to the mind and what people have to offer intellectually (which in the gay world kinda sucks cuz you gonna be coming up short most of the time). it's tought for gays like me. yes, ive decided to own my gayness again and not do the whole autosexual bullcrap. im gay, goddamnit!! but i find most gay guys really boring.


July 31, 2011 6:12 PM - brooklynheightsivyIII
DIBS, how I admire your commitment to diversity. I have done my best, but you win the trophy. And Rob: I like brains too, but if a guy is cute, I have enough for both of us.
July 31, 2011 6:22 PM - Arkady
WonTon - the 'leave a book' thing is Book Crossing - you can register & it's fun to see books show up all over - lots here but also UK & around the world. You post on their site telling where you've left or picked up a book. Many are left at Ozzie's on 5th Av.

Edited at July 31, 2011 6:22 PM
July 31, 2011 7:31 PM - WonTon
The Mormons are all over Hong Kong. Once I was crossing a street there and I passed a couple of them (they stick out: blond, short sleeve white Dacron shirts, always traveling in pairs), speaking to each other in, like, perfect Cantonese.

Later I found out the best Canto language program for English speakers in the world is at Brigham Young U.
July 31, 2011 10:13 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
YES! arkady is right, it is book crossing
im in a bad mood right now. the fucktard president interupted Big Brother right before the nominations were going up to give a stupid speech.


July 31, 2011 10:15 PM - gay smurf hoodlum
Many are left at Ozzie's on 5th Av.

HA! that is where i found a few.


July 31, 2011 11:54 PM - Donatella
Wonton, Mormons are great Japanese speakers. All the "gaijin" on Japanese TV are Mormons. Many
of them speak the language perfectly.
August 1, 2011 2:09 AM - the_anti_what
As a child "The What" played with matches
He taunted other children in batches
His drunk mother didn't care
that he was shaped like a pear
And at five his hair fell out in patches.

Ta Ta for now!
The Anti What
Someday that bore's gonna end!
August 1, 2011 1:39 PM - denton
Physical books are finished. In a couple of years, they'll be like LPs were in the '90s (before they were rediscovered). You'll see ads all over for free books, 'but you have to take them all'.
August 1, 2011 5:14 PM - Not_Logged_In
Snarkotic: > Physical books are finished.

It's going to take FAR more than a couple of years, but eventually most books will not exist in paper form. I suspect only "artisanal" and limited edition type books will continue to be made. And then we will all regret it, as one loses all of their "books" when digital formats change, devices are stolen, etc.
Edited at August 1, 2011 5:14 PM