Yesterday on Facebook, Slarti offered (jokingly, I assume) to burn a copy of Twilight for me on Saturday. He alluded to the fact that Saturday is the day people are burning books.
I’ve spent most of this week in a drug-induced haze. I was expecting a bad endo flare and it came, screamingly, on Sunday morning. Only now has it partially let up. I survived on True Blood episodes via OnDemand and beautifying my city in City of Wonder. (That game, it should be noted, ought to be called either “City of Compulsion” or “City of Occupational Therapy”.) I tell you all of this so that you know why I didn’t know until late this afternoon that some person has decided to immoliate copies of the Koran in a sort of idiotic bonfire of kissmyarse to commemorate September 11th.
My first reaction is my usual reaction when people talk of burning books. To me there is no greater flaunting of ignorance than the desecration of any sort of written word. Do people not realise the true magic of writing? I know it seems commonplace in this world where most people can read and write at least a basic amount. But the very idea that ideas themselves can live, charging like lightning down an undersea wire from person to person, because of marks on a contrasting surface–that, my friends, is the penultimate magic. The penultimate victory of life over death. In my mind it is second only to the redemption of Jesus’ sacrifice.
So when you talk about burning books you talk about embracing darkness. About siding with death, joining hands with ignorance. You celebrate stupidity and idiocy and align yourself with the mud.
But here’s the thing. You can do it. I’m not going to stop you. Because this is America and I am a libertarian. For better or worse that means that you as a free person have the right to be exactly as pig ignorant and blind stupid as you want to be.
I won’t stop you.
What I will do? Buy more books. Write more books. Teach people to read. Teach people to write. Pass the word along that writing is magic for ordinary lives. You are free to be stupid, and I am free to tell everyone just how stupid you are and show them where the road is to the better way.
Up to this point there were 398 words, comprised of 26 letters. That’s 32 lines, 9 circles, 6 half circles, black against a white background. That’s all it is, in its most basic form. But in it are the thoughts of my brain, reacting to the thoughts of others and causing more reactions in yet more people.
Those things burn with an altogether different fire.