It’s you against the world, with only the evening news by your side. Every day, FOX and ABC and NBC give you the low-down on the newest alert colors. For the former optimist, the inner enlightenment philosopher we all have to overcome, it begs the question: why has the world gone to shit?
I think I’ve got it. What’s the great link between “libraries,” “emotional drama,” and “godless enlightenment?” What bane, what threat to our collective complacency, do we find at the center of that sinister Venn diagram? What’s been sitting under our noses for hundreds… nay, thousands of years, feeding these cultural instabilities that are looming before us, threatening us all?
The answer is obviously literature.
Here’s what our field researchers have discovered.
REASON THE FIRST: It’s found in libraries.
How can you trust a place that’s so quiet, so self-enclosed, so free of corporate advertisements and loud noises? It’s not only (as Carl Monday pointed out) a breeding ground for sexual predators. It’s also a breeding ground for books, and this is much worse. Stephen Colbert was the first to see the danger, but he’s continually underestimated it. The book is the crack in society’s moral foundation, and libraries are the syphilitic, spongiform masses where those cracks begin to propagate.
REASON THE SECOND: Books are constantly expressing things.
You may say, “But Jesse! You’re expressing something right now! How can you so quickly condemn?” Well, I say to you, AWAY, shuffling abomination with your logic drool! You obviously haven’t SEEN what’s to be found in these books! Literature gives voice to all sorts of nooks and crannies of the human soul that are better left in shadow. Pederasty? Lolita. Childhood fratricide? Jude the Obscure. Self-inflicted eye-poking? Oedipus, one of the oldest of the so-called “books.” Homosexuality? You’ve read Oscar Wilde. Don’t tell me you didn’t pick up on it.
And by “expressing” these destructive impulses, books are obviously advocating for them… urging us to carry them out in our everyday lives. Forget Steal This Book… Kill This Baby is scrawled across every surface in our cultural history. No wonder emo kids are all cutting themselves.
REASON THE THIRD: I don’t actually have a third reason, which sort of offends my fairytale sensibilities.
At any rate, it’s time for us to take action against this lurking threat. These sin-holes, these tomes of the damned, these liberal fascist tools of Satan must be purged from our libraries… nay, the libraries themselves must be purged from the epidermis of our sacred culture. What would our founding fathers think if they found us harboring all these instruments of degeneracy?
There’s only one answer: they must be set ablaze. Firemen would probably be the best people for this job. I don’t remember who it was that suggested that course of action, but dammit, they were right.