Friday, October 26, 2018

The DVD Purge


Yesterday and today are parent conference days at school, which means the teachers spend all day in meetings and the library has almost no customers. I spent all day yesterday discarding DVDs -- sitting at my desk, scanning each one, blacking out the bar code and the library stickers with a Sharpie and throwing them in a box. I must have deleted a couple hundred of them. And I have more to do today.

It's a little tedious but I don't mind it. I have no idea what we're going to do with all these old DVDs. I'm not sure charity shops want them. I guess I need to call around and ask.

I don't mind discarding the crap -- the remade "Charlie's Angels," for example -- but I hate throwing away cinematic classics like "Wild Strawberries." I have to continually remind myself that this weeding is not based on the quality of the movie. It's based on whether the movie gets used, and whether it's available electronically. Everything I'm discarding now hasn't been checked out at all within the last five years.

In fact, it's made me realize how heavily DVD use has declined. Some of the movies have stamps showing fairly regular checkouts until about 2012, when suddenly everything stops. The rise of video streaming!

I keep thinking, "Well, what happens if we no longer have access to streaming video, for whatever reason?" But I guess if that's the case something fairly apocalyptic will have happened and watching "About a Boy" or "Pretty Woman" won't be high on our priority list. We'll be too busy scrabbling around for food and water!

Despite the fact that I'd also love to get rid of our DVDs here at home, I brought home a couple of library discards for myself -- "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," with Maggie Smith; an Ansel Adams documentary; and the first season of "Rocky and Bullwinkle," which I'm sure I haven't watched in at least 40 years.

I've been walking to work this week, listening to the "Serial" podcast's latest season. It's pretty riveting, and as usual, so well-reported. This season focuses entirely on the criminal justice system in Middle America -- Cleveland, to be specific -- from arrests through conviction. It examines how police treat the people they're arresting, how they themselves are treated, how the courts function, how the attorneys argue and compromise, and how the judges mete out their version of justice. It's fascinating and, in places, downright frightening. It makes me happy to have (thus far) avoided any brushes with law enforcement, but then, I don't face the same desperate circumstances that some people do. I just sit around all day discarding DVDs!

(Photo: Chiswick high street, on Saturday.)

14 comments:

  1. We sell DVDs at our Oxfam shop!

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  2. I trust you have made a generous financial contribution to the school library after brazenly walking out with those two DVDs. Rocky and Bullwinkle could so easily be adopted as nicknames for Steve and Dave. Which one would you be?... Also - echoing Frances - we too sell DVDs at our Oxfam shop.

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  3. I'll take that sheep, please.
    So- your question is answered. Off to the nearest Oxfam those DVD's should go!

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  4. Boy, there were some names of shows listed here that I hadn't thought about in a long time. I do remember seeing "The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie" when it first came out at a drive-in theatre. I have no idea why that sticks in my mind.
    I love those two chairs in your photo!

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  5. We have boxes of old DVDs, but no player for them. I found some old 3/4 inch videos I made so many years ago when I was studying primate behavior and the Denver Zoo let me hang around a mother gibbons and her newborn. No ancient player for those either. I'm a bit wary of our dependence on this internet and computing devices for everything, but we just go with flow.

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  6. There will always be a new technology created. I think this is the last time somebody like you will have to throw away something. I would b taking some of the discards home too. I have discarded books from our school library and read one this week.

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  7. It feels weird that the Charlies Angels reboot was in your stack when I so clearly remember the original. That wasn't THAT long ago, right? (Yes, color me deluded.)

    Ms. Moon & I might have to fight over that sheep :)

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  8. no live streaming at our house though my kids do. I just don't watch that much TV so the few times we watch a movie at night it's a DVD from the Redbox.

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  9. We have a whole shelf of DVDs still, and even some VHS tapes, from when the kids were small. I'm not sure why we keep them. I think it might be sentimental. The DVDs could be used for a great art project. A church in our neighborhood had people create messages of hope on some old DVDs in colored sharpies, and then they tied them with a short piece of ribbon to the gate, and it's quite beautiful the way they flutter like a fence full of wind chimes and catch the light.

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  10. I think you should buy that sheep and auction it off. Clearly I'm not the only one coveting it. -Kate

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  11. I remember when our local record shop closed due to new technologies for listening to music. Even CD use became obsolete. The funny thing is, younger folks are fascinated by LPS and are collecting them and finding old turntables on which to play them.

    Your task sounds quite meditative, actually. Purge away, my friend.

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  12. DVD's? Gadfrey, I have a drawer full of videotapes and we don't even have a player hooked up, though I think there is one in the garage. Then there's my box of cassette tapes from my broadcasting days. And another box full of slides. Somebody is going to have a big bonfire someday.

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  13. Our charity shops sell DVDs also, but we're in Canada so that info is probably not all that helpful.

    Make that five, now, fighting over that sheep!!

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