Thursday, July 7, 2011

That's a Nice Fire You've Got There


Back in June a Dutch group was so offended by the title of a book they have never read they did the only rational thing they could think of. They burned it. Not the whole book, of course, that would be Nazi-flavored madness. They just torched the offensive bits they did read, namely the cover. It was Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes which has been renamed to "Someone Knows My Name" for those word-fearing folks in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

When first hearing about this I flew into a violent, moralistic rage. I yelled obscenities at my dog that would make an Irish dockworker blush. After reading the book last year, I not only felt better educated but more sympathetic to the plight and history of African Americans living in North America. What could possibly be accomplished by burning the cover?!?

Then it occurred to me. Those Freaky-Deaky Dutch were onto something. Burning stuff that offends you feels really good. It's cathartic and provides a medium for making s'mores. The following is a list of things I would like to throw on the Dutch fire of intolerance:

1. The Millennium series by Stieg Larsson - What kind of a name is Stieg anyway?

2. Justin Bieber - For obvious reasons.

3. Dancing With the Stars - The next time I hear a serious conversation about this show, I'm punching everyone within range Right. In. The. Face.

4. Inter-office Memos - Was anything important ever really communicated with one of these?

5. Stephen Spielberg's Money - Please stop paying for other director's crappy movies and make one of your own. People are starting for forget why we are supposed to hold you in such high esteem. Saving Private Ryan was, like 13 years ago.

6. Cell Phones - I'm willing to set telecommunications back twenty years if it means I don't have to watch people fiddle with these stupid things anymore.

7. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - Just for shock value.

This is not a complete list by any means but I'd better stop there. These kinds of fires have a tendency to get out of hand. Anyone who was hanging around Berlin in 1933 could tell you that.

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