The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Nation’s international relations reference librarians despondent as Game of Thrones returns

March 31, 2013

The Canard

“All the fake news that’s fit to print”

The long awaited return of tumblr_mabxezBZhb1r0jcrzo1_500HBO’s wildly popular fantasy series, the Game of Thrones, has not generated enthusiasm on the part of at least one group. The nation’s international relations reference librarians, those who help students and members of the public  research the complicated dynamics of world politics, are sighing collectively as they anticipate the coming months of boredom. During the airing of the show, they have noticed a marked decline in visits to the reference desk, as the nation’s public draws inferences about the intricacies of international relations from these fictional characters on television, rather than through the classic vehicle – books.

“No one bothers to read Machiavelli in the original Italian anymore,” said Myrtle, a reference librarian who refused to give her last name. “They just listen to Littlefinger and think that they know everything they need to know about Realpolitik. It is really sad.” She asked plaintively, “What I am here for? Who will I scold?”

The nation’s international relations reference librarians have been hard hit in recent years with the growing popularity of online search engines. A librarian known simply as Priscilla complained that “at least with Harry Potter my readers checked out the books when that Nexon guy told them they could learn international relations from it. Lazy sods.” She worries about the future. “If Drezner writes a zombie IR sequel, we are finished.”

With declining need for their services, the nation’s female librarians at least are fighting back so as to appeal to the young boys and men who are most likely to be drawn away from the bibliotheque to GOT, as they call it. They are tightening their hair buns, applying extra lipstick, and making sure to make eye contact over the bridge of their classes. Blouse buttons are going studiously unbuttoned.

The nation’s male international relations reference librarians, however, could not be reached for comment, having disappeared from their posts sometime around 9pm on Sunday evening.

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Rathbun is a professor of International Relations at USC. Brian Rathbun received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and has taught at USC since 2008. He has written four solo-authored books, on humanitarian intervention, multilateral institution building, diplomacy and rationality. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in International Organization, International Security, World Politics, International Studies Quartlery, the Journal of Politics, Security Studies, the European Journal of International Relations, International Theory, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution among others. He is the recipient of the 2009 USC Parents Association Teaching and Mentoring Award. In 2019 he will be recognized as a Distinguished Scholar by the Diplomatic Studies Section of the International Studies Association.