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.)