Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Man wants book about book burning banned during Banned Books Week

From the real life has surpassed satire dept, via Boing Boing.

The Montgomery County Courier reports that a Corone, Texas man named Alton Verm has demanded that his daughter's school district ban Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic novel about a dystopian future where firemen burn books. With impeccable timing, Verm's demand comes during the 25th anniversary of Banned Books Week, which is of course entirely coincidental and completely hysterical. As is the case in almost all of these types of complaints, Verm hasn't read the book, of which he says "It's just all kinds of filth".

The Courier notes that "Alton Verm said he doesn't understand how the district can punish students for using bad language, yet require them to read a book with bad language as part of a class." You don't understand it because you are an idiot, Mr. Verm. Just because you read a book where a murder occurs, such as, say, The Bible, doesn't mean that the book is advocating that behavior. That would mean that an anti-book burning work like Fahrenheit 451 is actually advocating book burning by depicting book burning. Surely even you must realize how stupid that idea is.

You are also an idiot because you pulled something like this without having an unlisted phone number that can be found by anyone doing a Yahoo! people search, and it's all I can do not to call you and tell you what an idiot you are. Please note that by writing that down I am not advocating that behavior. You idiot.

During our Banned Books Week commemoration, we showed Truffaut's 1966 film adaptation. I've never particularly cared for it, primarily because the film is so relentlessly French. It is certainly plausible to envision a scenario of the social welfare state gone awry and banning books because they "make people anti-social and unhappy", as in the film. But I've always imagined contemporary book burning as a particularly American phenomenon, one driven by hotblooded redneck religious passion and not affectless European pseudointellectual theorizing. The Alton Verms of the world aren't exactly proving me wrong.

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