Formal celebration of the Bookstore's demise.

Committee processes.

It is apparent that the Shorewood Village Board has been doing better at bereavement of the village bookstore than it has at its revivification. One might wonder if the Village Board will be there at the bookstore's entombment at the end of the month for final sanctification of its passing.

Of course, all of those having involvement with the success of the bookstore should be celebrated, the owners especially.  How does ithe Village Board include itself  in the celebration of the past social success of this bookstore except by presiding endearingly auspicious at its funeral?

Is the Village Board merely, as it seems, an anointing agency?   Where do we place the Village Board within the whole functional process of past, present and future success of our bookstore?

Those who have been keeping up, know of the failure of collective inaction that an agency of this type is capable. No collection of human beings, boards, committees, legislators or group of judges can act as one brain. Their actions in the end, when taken are based on the result of the vote. No committee has a collective brain.

As  an observer of committee action and specifically on the subject of the Village Board, I would need to discuss the Board's biological process, to carry out a full or even partial analysis of how it functions in these matters.

If an issue comes before the Board for the first time, it seems to enter a process of immediate postponement that urges away “the pain of problem confrontation.” Those who have been in attendance have probably noticed.

The important process to be analyzed is “the process of developing consensus,” a means for avoiding individual action or responsibility. This may begin with a chairperson to whom the issue is forwarded for review and in order to make a few apparent factual notes. If others are involved, then presentations of their inclinations will be in order.

Other members will then ask inoffensive questions or make innocuous comments which carry with them an air of intelligence and a sense of forming collective agreement.

The presiding officer may then turn to a staff member who will be expected to have some facts pertaining to the questions asked of him or her. Then facts and circumstances will be described and re-described and there will be some type similar experiences discussed, related or unrelated, but which might seem to have some significance. The views of a consultant will also cushion the defined box in which to make the decision.

At a point, someone will suggest that a motion be made, so that a vote can be taken.   A sensitive judgment by the one making the suggestion is required especially as to timing  as this is of the greatest significance within the process, the crucial point in the formalizing of consensus.

The motion is made, discussed, re-made and then put off or put up for a vote.


Unless someone has some particular interest in opposing the motion, it is, more often than not ,voted on in consensus. This is the biological process that I refer to as “the consensus process.”   The process is inevitable and conventional assuring. 

Now it is easy to see how readily we arrive at a consensus celebrating the unexpected death of the Bookstore.


On the other hand, the decision to keep the bookstore in place, especially when having no apparent pattern or precedent for doing so would be quite difficult unless supported strongly by some members or after study and presentation by a staff member or consultant.  This means that attention would have to be called to a situation in the first place. 

So consensus to the innocuous is the easiest of the biological processes that committees undergo, our Village Board included.   This ease of flow has been observed numerous times. 

Therefore it is in the nature of the Village Board to more easily preside at a funeral celebration than it is to develop a plan of action for maintaining the Bookstore's vitality.

So now, it follows, as there was no formal request for remedial action, especially a timely request made by someone of distinction, if not by someone from the Board, there was no treatment for its ailment and therefore, we have the demise of the Bookstore.

No one can be blamed for this. We can only grieve the passing of a rather mundane or even questionable social entity in view of the developing blog-ospheric replacement of the book in paper form. There is not much market for bookstores, we are told.  The market is more interested in derivatives than in bookstores.

A few years ago that description of the market's qualities might have been more of a compliment.


(Afterthought):  12:30 p.m  Saturday. 


It might have been possible that an opposing candidate could have won a seat on the Board or as president, if he/she would have supported the retention of our present bookstore.  Given this pretty good possibility then and given the interest of all the Shorewood citizens I've talked to, the question of a bookstore is yet to be closed.  What's it going to look like there with an empty storefront this April and for the rest of the summer?  Does anyone at Village Hall know?


It is too bad that we don't have a system that guarantees opposition to incumbents. Now we have to assume that all of Village Hall believed that we couldn't save the bookstore.  Could that be true?   

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