Books make excellent kindling

Here’s a quick exercise to see if you’re a thinking person of any kind. List five artists (preferably authors, writers, poets, though musicians, sculptors, painters and street performers work too) that have had the most influence on you. Here’s my list in no particular order.

  1. Kurt Vonnegut
  2. Hunter S. Thompson
  3. George Orwell
  4. David Foster Wallace 
  5. Wynton Marsalis 

Now imagine your life without their influence. If your life without them doesn’t just suck, then it is at least a far different one, one without the same people, experiences and thoughts.

That’s why when I see things like this my veins are filled with battery acid and my thoughts are filled with rage. 

Last week, the school board of Republic voted 4-0 to eliminate Slaughterhouse Five and Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and from the school library as the books were deemed “inappropriate” by the school board, based on a complaint from one parent.

So I gave a paltry donation to help get at least one kid a copy of a profound book, especially given our situation in Afghanistan. Afterward, I got this reply from the executive director of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. 

When I spoke with the ACLU guy in Missouri, he said, “This is Missouri, where we fight the legal battles that most states fought in the 1970s.” I thought that was funny and unfortunate.

Stuff that makes you sigh. 

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