All Fired Up

Mercy! Books Burning.
Originally uploaded by Catherine Jamieson

Today’s quotes are quite relevant, I’m sorry to say. I’m working on a new piece of artwork, and I burned a book.


Yes. I, NovelDame, set fire to the pages of a paperback. I never read it (glances told me it was a crime novel), but I’m sure there are plenty more copies out there, in any case.

Why are people so against book burning? Many relate this act to censorship, which is understandable. There are countless acts in history when book burning was a method of control: Oxford University did it in 1683, The Nazis perfected it, and most recently it became a scandal in Iraq. I agree, that destroying reading material because someone has objections to it is barbaric. I do believe that the burning of the Library of Alexandria was the greatest loss we – as a culture – have ever faced. So much knowledge was lost…

But, I don’t believe that all burning is morally wrong. Books that are damaged beyond repair, unreadable, outdated, etc should be properly disposed of. Honestly though, do raggedy books belong in a landfill? Thats hardly respectful, don’t you agree? Everyone has seen a wounded book. It isn’t pretty. Wouldn’t you like to put it out of its misery? Go to any used book store, and look around. In some cases, there are dozens of copies of the same novel. Surely no one out there would buy all eight paperback copies of their favorite vampire novel.

Here is the question I pose to you, dear readers: Would the issue of burning of books be less black and white (pardon the pun) if it were done in the name of “population” control, and nothing else?

For more opinions on book burning, please watch my first video post, with quotes from students and teachers.

Published in: on February 2, 2008 at 12:38 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Call me a heretic if you like, but I’m actually being a mere historian: the largest book-burning in history (that I know of, anyway) – the Library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt, storehouse of the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, more.

    The institution that ordered the wholesale wiping out of ancient learning over 3 millenia? None other than the Christian Church.

    Why schools don’t mention that bit of history is no mystery. But it is a shame.

  2. (and I’m clearly a very poor reader at 4.40 a.m., as I just realized you are one of the few I have encountered who knows about Alexandria.)

    Um, wouldn’t a landfill be better than burning? Or a compost heap? Books are organic, aren’t they?

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