Book burnings? Bah!

It appears that the latest in the Koran burning story is that the Florida Pastor has decided not to go through with it. Frankly, I’m amazed this was ever a story at all. This was news in the same manner that Paris Hilton is a celebrity. She’s a celebrity simply because she’s a celebrity, and this story was news, simply because (they tell you) it was news.

I suspect that if 30 years ago someone had said they were planning on burning Korans, it would have been buried somewhere below the fold on page A36. (I think this would be true even if we were living in some kind of alternate history where, in 1980, we had already been attacked by Muslim terrorists and gone to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.) What’s the difference between then and now? I blame cable news. 30 years ago, the media had a single 30 minute television slot to to fit all the day’s news into. And that’s about right; the average day probably has 30 minutes of news worth reporting. Then came cable, and suddenly broadcasters had to fill seven or eight hours of news each day. Thus they had to “invent” news by inflating largely stupid new stories to newsworthy status. That’s what happened with this Koran story, and, frankly about 80% of the new stories on the cable news networks. Additionally, cable news operators discovered that people get addicted to outrage — I’m almost certain there’s some kind of excitatory neurotransmission (akin to being on drugs) that occurs in that brain state — and they made up their minds to deliver such outrage. If only cable television viewers could remove themselves from the IV drip of spittle inflected anger and turn to the sober, cautious analysis of My So-Called Penis.

One interesting point about book burnings: in the age of e-books, do they really mean anything? Let’s say I took 200 PDF copies of the Koran, put them in a folder on my hard drive, and then clicked the delete button? Should that cause a controversy of international proportion? The fact is, almost every book in history is or soon will be transcribed into digital format, at which point burning hard copies is meaningless.

1 Response to “Book burnings? Bah!”


  1. John Saleeby

    You know who isn’t really that great? Louis CK, that’s who. And yet he probably is the best Comic in Comedy today. That’s how lame Comedy is today.

    I don’t have a joke about that. Because jokes today are lame.

    Have you seen “My Boys” on TBS? Lame!

    I just ate PIZZA!!! P-I-Z-Z-A-!-!-!