Burning books accomplish nothing. If there are offensive thoughts and beliefs, then it is best to have those beliefs known openly. Only when you know of your enemy can you fight it. If you start to ban/burn books all it does is take away your ability to see what's around you. The book may no longer be visible but the sentiment that created the book remains. Even if a book has the most vile disgusting things in it, I want to know so I can fight back against those evil ideas.
I agree in part with what you are saying, things like rape and psychological abuse do need to be discussed in society in order to effect any change in the way things are thought about. Burning a book does not do this, it instead enflames (if you’ll excuse the pun) and polarises the views people have, allowing them to use their anger at the actual book burning to justify their standpoints without actively discussing the issues. In this sense burning books does not help the cause at hand.
On the other hand though, the act of destroying a book is symbolic, it expresses a deep revulsion and disrespect towards the very ideas written within. This is what gives book burnings such a massive impact. The question at hand is whether this is something that can be justified or not. Books have been deified in modern society, a book symbolises knowledge and progress regardless of what is written inside, so to intentionally destroy a book appears to be an act of suppressing knowledge and progress because of your own prejudices. This is thanks in part to the Nazi book burnings in the 1930’s.
I agree that mass book burnings are a method of removing knowledge from the world, silencing unwanted voices, and that this is indeed wrong. Even the most vile and disgusting things should be kept, if only to doccument that such things were ever even written. However this point only applies when a book burning is part of a movement of burnings, or an attempt to completely obliterate the memory or record of there ever being a book. When you take a step back and look at the context the book in the picture was burned within, it was as an isolated occurance, it was not designed to be a part of or spark a series of book burnings. It was simply the burning of one book, which was set alight by the person who bought the book.
One of the important points that the burning of that Mills & Boone raised for me was this; At what point does the disrespect of the ideas espoused in the book become more important than the stigmatic symolism of book burning? We obviously read a lot of the book before my friends decided to burn it, and it was not pretty. It espoused a very disrespectful view towards women and a toxic ideology concerning rape culture.
I’ll give you a brief synopsis from what I remember - This woman is raped by her stepbrother as a teenager when he is in his early 20’s. He threatens her with violence and death threats, and generally manipulates her into keeping quiet and putting up with further abuse. She gets away for a while somehow and thend ends up coming back for some reason years later. He then proceeds to force himself upon her again, but this time she finds herself liking it. From then on the book basically follows the “romance” the two share as he continues to threaten her with violence and psychologically abuse her to the very end.
If you’re unfamiliar with Mills & Boone, this is supposed to be romantic. It gives accross the message that on some level she wanted him, so he was justified in raping her (it doesn’t explore the ramificaitons of that in the story), because, as we know, deep down all women want to be raped. Equally as much it isn’t put accross as rape the second time either becaause she found herself enjoying it as it was happening. This part was written in order to start the romance in the story.
As such I think you can appreciate why we found the book to be so offensive, and you can at least sympathise with why some of my friends decided to burn this one copy, even if you don’t endorse it.
Thanks for engaging constructively rather than spamming me with hatemail, I’ll be happy to continue this if you want to leave another message.