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Tv. vs. book. / smashing vs. burning

 
 
Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2010 01:07 pm
Is smashing a television the same as burning a book?
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 1,835 • Replies: 12
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jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 06:37 am
An interesting question. Burning a book is destroying its contents forever; smashing a TV is not because it has no content itself.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 06:59 am
@jgweed,
No.

Burning a book is not destroying its contents forever. Books are mass produced and digitally stored. Destroying one copy is just as insignificant an act to the content as smashing a TV is.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 07:47 am
@mister kitten,
Smashing a television is far more expensive and dangerous to the smasher then burning a book.

Failure to unplug the television could lead to unmitigated and unforeseen circumstances. Side effects of mishandling the smashing process could include multiple lacerations, electrical burns, instant paralysis, and death. Certain televisions could topple over depending on it's center of gravity and pin the smasher under it. Side effects include multiple lacerations, broken bones, internal bleeding, and in some rare cases, death.
mister kitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 09:53 am
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

Smashing a television is far more expensive and dangerous to the smasher then burning a book.

Failure to unplug the television could lead to unmitigated and unforeseen circumstances. Side effects of mishandling the smashing process could include multiple lacerations, electrical burns, instant paralysis, and death. Certain televisions could topple over depending on it's center of gravity and pin the smasher under it. Side effects include multiple lacerations, broken bones, internal bleeding, and in some rare cases, death.

That's very neat of you to think of the dangers of each, but I was hoping responders would plunge beneath the surface of ashes and scrap.
What is it to burn a book?
What is it to destroy a tv?
Are they the same?

Which would you do, given the forced opportunity?
mister kitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 10:00 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

No.

Burning a book is not destroying its contents forever. Books are mass produced and digitally stored. Destroying one copy is just as insignificant an act to the content as smashing a TV is.


Burning a book is destroying is contents forever.
If one has a book, and one burns the book, then the book cannot come back. Thus, unless one recites the book from memory to produce a like book, the contents of the book are destroyed forever.
There could be many copies of a book, but the single copy that has been destroyed is destroyed.

What makes the acts insignificant?
If these were the last book and tv would the act still be insignificant?
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 10:12 am
@mister kitten,
What is to physically burn a book?
Quote:
Ignition temperature is the temperature at which something catches fire and burns on its own. The ignition temperature of paper is 451 degrees Fahrenheit, or 233 degrees Celsius.

http://www.helium.com/items/37073-the-burning-point-of-paper

A published book is a permanent vehicle [and almost unchanging and unflinching medium. The reader can write on the pages notes and criticism. The reader can redact words and sentences with a magic marker or simply rip out entire pages from the binding...] for a wide variety of political, social, and cultural messages.

The symbolic protest of destroying a book comes when the destroyer and his potential audience knows the political, social, and cultural messages held in a specific book targeted for destruction.

I for one, (though I have never told a single soul this) have destroyed/burned my own personal diary I had written while I was deployed in Iraq during the first Gulf War. Burned and buried the notebook in the sands of Iraq while on guard duty. Much of the content of the singular copy/diary is now gone to lost memory and the inevitable degradation of the books ashes.

I can't say how much of a loss to the world was the destruction of my poorly thought out whiny prose of my war diary but in the grand scheme of things, it didn't register as an itch on the universe's behind. There was never an audience for my diary as it never came to a public fruition.

On the other hand, destroying a television? The theory and practice is just plain stupid. The television itself is not the message but a technological tool. If your going to burn a book out of an ideological protest, what kind of protest would it be if you burned a book with empty blank pages?! Okay, you could in theory film the book burning and then call yourself an avant-garde artist but that's a different story.

A television is nothing but a blank diary and the writing can be either by over the air broadcast, via cable television streaming, or direct connection to a DVD or VHS player. The television could also be an empty vessel for a fish aquarium. So basically the act of destroying an empty/contentless television is a useless and senseless Luddite act of destruction/protest.
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maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 11:09 am
@mister kitten,
You are being silly Mister Kitten.

I have a copy of Huckleberry Finn which is exactly the same as millions of other copies of Huck Finn. They are completely interchangeable. Every word is exactly the same, every page is exactly the same.

In fact I have lost copies of Huckleberry Finn in the past-- but no worries, my current copy works just as well. These days, copies of books are fungible.

In fact, if you give me $20, I will let you burn my copy of Huckleberry Finn. Seeing as I can buy any one of ten thousand identical copies on Amazon for $4.99, I will make a tidy profit without any harm to me or anyone else.

engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 11:20 am
@maxdancona,
If there are three copies of Huck Finn in the local library and all three are destroyed, then none are available. It doesn't matter if there are one million somewhere else, the three I had available to me are gone and burning is usually just a first step in banning the sale and distribution of other copies of the book.

There is symbolism in burning a book. You are repudiating the contents, the ideas the book represents. There is no such significance to smashing a TV. As a protest, it might indicate a rejection of watching to much TV, but nothing more than that.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 11:26 am
@engineer,
There is a big difference between burning my own copy of book, and burning copies that belong to other people or copies in a public library. There is also a difference between smashing my own TV and smashing other people's TV's.

My argument is that if someone wants to burn their own copies of a book, that is their business. It doesn't harm me at all. For the record, I am against the destruction of other people's property for any reason.

Yes, there is symbolism in burning a book. But, what's wrong with symbolism?

jgweed
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 05:14 am

C. burns a book.

Think of the various scenarios or stories about this act:

1. C works at an Embassy about to be overrun by a mob, and burns the codebook so it doesn't fall into foreign hands.
2. C dons a brown uniform after eating dinner, looks in the mirror and adjusts his armband, and later marches along with others past a large bonfire into which he throws a book by a Jewish author.
3. C is snowbound in a mountain cabin, and burns a book to start a log fire so he will not freeze to death.
4. C while cleaning the attic finds an old diary he wrote twenty years earlier. After reading through it, he decides to burn a record of juvenile feelings he is ashamed of.
5. C is a minister of a small church, and publicly burns a copy of the Koran because God told him to do it.
6. C passes a test in a required course he hated, taught by a professor he despised, held three times a week at 6 a.m.; in triumph and relief he ritually burns the textbook the next day.
7. C, angry with his wife, tosses her half-read paperback romance into the burning pile of leaves he had spent all morning raking.

And so on. Can we really make any sort of judgment about human acts as such without an existential context?
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 06:12 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Yes, there is symbolism in burning a book. But, what's wrong with symbolism?

There is nothing wrong in symbolism, but you asked how book burning is different than TV smashing. The difference is in the symbolism.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 07:23 am
@engineer,
Sure Engineer.

But symbolism is in the eyes of the beholders meaning we control how much impact a book burning has.

There was a Koran burning yesterday at the Westboro church. It seems that no one paid attention meaning they didn't have nearly the impact they wanted. So much for symbolism.





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