Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bonfire of the Inanities
The above picture is exactly what you think it is: A bunch of copies of Bill O'Reilly's new book, predictably and ridiculously titled Pinheads and Patriots, being torched. What's interesting is exactly who the ones doing the torching are.
This is what was posted on the Tumblr account that put up the picture:
"Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington - Patriot; George Soros - Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap. Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander's orders."
Yes, apparently it was a group of U.S. soldiers behind this little bonfire.
Now of course because the soldier in question goes by the screen name "Everqueer," he'll be able to be handily dismissed by O'Reilly and the bitter septuagenarians who makes up 97% of his audience. (The other 3%, I'd imagine, are people who simply died in front of the television.) But there's still something startling and surreal about a) seeing the tables turned and a conservative demagogue's book being burned for a change, and b) knowing that it seemingly came at the hands of our traditionally inviolable troops.
Needless to say, the soldier behind this has already received more than a few complaints, which led him to post a follow-up message:
"The motivation behind the order to burn them was not political...as mentioned in the original post, we are in an extraordinarily remote location. We don't have a post office here, so sending them back wasn't an option. Extra space is scarce and alternatives that a few mentioned, like recycling, are nonexistent...I'm aware of the historical implications of book-burning. I won't say I didn't take pleasure in removing a few copies of this bigoted twerp's writings from circulation, but the reason for doing so was military necessity."
Like this guy, it's tough to cheer the burning of a book -- and yet I can't help but admit that while I'm stoic on the outside when it comes to this, somewhere deep inside myself I'm doing the Snoopy dance. If nothing else, I'd love for this to be a lesson to right-wing jerks everywhere who presumptuously believe that they and they alone have the right to co-opt our military -- that all our men and women in uniform share their narrow worldview.
Seriously, the person who thought it was a great idea to send a bunch of Bill O'Reilly books to Afghanistan -- that our troops over there at the far end of the world dodging bullets would just eat them up? That guy's an asshole.