Book Burning

I’ve been so caught up doing  my movie, that I have fallen way behind on everything…and missed  my brother Tod’s Jewcy column in late May on the Kansas City bookstore that burned it’s entire stock of books as, the store owner  says, a "a funeral pyre for thought in America today" and as "a wakeup call to all who value books and ideas." My brother wrote:

If [the bookstore owners] don’t see the hypocrisy in their actions, perhaps they need only to look down the road a few miles at the Blue Valley School District, where debates raged over appropriate titles being offered to students, prompting the formation of the PABBIS-like (Citizen for Literary Standards in Schools), a group with their own stringent ideas about literacy. If burning 20,000 books for the cause of literacy is an act of art, how does that art change if the belief system of the group changes? I have no doubt that [the bookstore owners] love books, just as I have no doubt that many of the parents who comprise love books (or at least the Book), and thus I wonder: If the action is the same, does it matter what the cause is?  If hosted a book burning in the name of literacy awareness in the schools of Blue Valley, too, the same books would burn.

The bigger question is… what the hell is going on in Kansas City?

3 thoughts on “Book Burning”

  1. There really is no significant difference between the guy being honest and trying to raise awareness by burning books he can’t get rid of and letting them rot in a storage room where they use up valuable space. I hate to see books burn as much as any person who enjoys reading, but the broader question here is why nobody is buying them in the first place. Whether the books are burnt, bookshops keep them in storage or publishers don’t make any attempt to sell their old titles even at a discount (or simply donate them), the effect is the same: nobody gets to read them.

  2. I see a significant difference between the store owner disposing of books by recycling them (which will help other books be published) and the owner burning them (which creates much heat, but produces only literal and symbolic pollution).


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