Saturday, April 8, 2017

Burning Books for Bookstagram: Yea or Nay?

Burning Books for Bookish Photos

When I first came across the bookstagram photos of burning books, my initial reaction was horror, after all the idea of burning a book makes my heart want to weep. However, despite my shattered heart, I did what I usually do with a debate or argument, which is research the heck out of it. My opinion is still a little shaky, this is one of those issues where I'm in the gray area, but I thought I might as well lay down both sides of the debate. Note: I don't necessarily agree 100% with all the arguments down below, I just think they're worth some pondering.

First up, the defense (AKA: pro-burn).


The Right To Burn:

If you own the book your burning, you have the right to burn it because it's your's, whether you do so or not is your business.

Not All is Sacred:

In today's society there are millions and millions of books, their roles in the exchange and spread of knowledge have changed in many ways, especially since many books today are wholly for entertainment purposes. As a result, you could argue that not all books are "sacred" anymore (*cough* Fifty-Shades of Gray *cough*) and that they don't all hold the prestige they used to, so therefore, burning one no longer holds the same weight as it has historically.

For the Sake of Art:

Photography is a form of art, so, by extension, bookstagram is too. The destruction of books allows for the creation of art. There are also many crafters who cut up or destroy books to create something new, like an origami flower or a pendent, and people seem relatively fine with that, so what's the difference?

Last but not least, the prosecution (AKA: pro-preserve).


A Waste of Resources:

When books are burned they generally can no longer serve their original purpose, which is to be read. Even if the original owner doesn't find a book to be helpful or enjoyable, if they donate it or pass it on, someone else might.

Negative Symbolism:

Throughout history, various groups, from the Nazis to the Qin dynasty, have employed the tactic of burning books with the intention to censor and/or to suppress. Book burnings are encapsulated by a dark and troubling past, and therefore, the act of burning a book shouldn't be taken lightly.

You're Destroying Someone's Work:

Authors put blood, sweat, tears, and heart into their books, and for many, their books are their pride and joy. Can you imagine seeing something of so much value to you being burned?

Some of those arguments were definitely weaker then the rest, but I tried to present both view points as equally and levelheadedly as possible. Anyways, time to share my opinion....

As I said before, I'm somewhere in the middle.


I don't personally agree with burning books because of the historical context, and well, I just don't like the idea of books being burned. However, if other people burn books, I'm not about to go on a witch hunt, unless of course, the burnings are for censorship or suppression purposes. This is a very interesting issue, and it led me to closely re-examine my values, even though I haven't really picked a side per se.

Sorry this post is late as hell, but I hope you still found it intriguing or helpful. I'm curious, where do you stand on this issue, and why?