'We are not customers': Denys Trussell's Fairburnian rebuke to Auckland council
Poets like James K Baxter and ARD Fairburn responded to the strictures of their society with satire and polemic. They became public figures, as they lambasted the philistinism of their age.
As a young man Denys Trussell befriended many of the important poets of the postwar era, and wrote a biography of ARD Fairburn. In his poems and his essays he channels the anger and energy of Fairburn and Baxter, and as the head of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors he does battle with the philistines of our era, who tend to use neo-liberal economics rather than religious dogma to justify their assaults on the arts.
Today's New Zealand Herald quotes a polemic that Trussell has directed at Auckland Council, which is considering sacking fifty of the city's librarians. Trussell objects not just to the prospect of redundancies but to the way that Auckland's councillors think about libraries, books, and readers:
Libraries are not supermarkets, but complex social institutions...We are not customers. We are readers and citizens in question of knowledge, information and the pleasure of books
You can find more of Trussell's polemic here.