I’m a Southern girl born and bred. So I know a lot about burning — of books and flags and bridges, with passion and anger, repressed resentments and expressed bigotry. In my childhood culture, the resident gods saw everything in black and white and stayed too busy punishing teen sex with babies or at least shunning and damning Yankee carpetbaggers to hell from morning to night and twice on Sundays, to kindle culture war against furriner infidels.
You never read it because it’s not your bible? Oh well, maybe you saw the movie, or at least a clip of the ignorant yet self-aggrandizing Prissy “don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies” as played by Butterfly McQueen, who as a real woman in real life read from many books and learned not to take its real meaning on faith:
What is the “faith of our forefathers” and how much faith does it have left in what’s right? Which identity is it we’re fighting to save, and which “them” is the real threat to it?
Their first class discussion was about the complex meaning of identity, thinking critically about how (and why) you define who you are as an individual within any society — or mob — relentlessly pressing individuals to conform with (often quite radical) norms.
Stubborn symbolic belief in “who we are” beyond all reason and science is all some folks have, the only story with any power to put them on top of a social group, and so they are willing to turn the sciences of larger society upside down, on the basis of that belief.
On this notorious day as Americans remember, reconstruct and reject both the best and worst of our national identity all at once — because whatever else we the people may be, we’re never easy! — the images of hate in my mind aren’t of burning towers but burning books, burning flags, burning bigotry and yes, burning flesh.
Thinking Citizens believe the power of story is in all books, not just One Book to Rule Them All. Bibli- meaning books plural btw, not one common story for all public life. Like the “canon” then? Yep, bible and canon begat belief only in the books on the authority-approved list, and believing in THAT that has made all the difference for humankind. Read on if you dare.
Teaching My Own “Faith” to My Kids
Religion is Story and so is everything else the human mind can conceive or believe. Amen.
We’re not much for church or school, but we live for Story (doesn’t everybody somehow or another?) Musical theatre, libraries, bookshops and movies are our personal venues of worship, the wellsprings of story through which my family lives and learns and engages ideas and cultures.
Did he know what he would be burning?
. . . the challenge for Muslims [AND EVERYBODY ELSE!] in this trying situation is to behave and perform as cited in the very book they said they were trying to save.
Origin of BIBLE
Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin biblia, from Greek, plural of biblion book, diminutive of byblos papyrus, book, from Byblos, ancient Phoenician city from which papyrus was exported
First Known Use: 14th century
Rhymes with BIBLE:
“libel, scribal, tribal”
The word “canon” etymologically means cane or reed. In early Christianity “canon” referred to a list of books approved for public reading. Books not on the list were referred to as “apocryphal” — meaning they were for private reading only. Under Latin usage from the fourth century on, canon came to stand for a closed and authoritative list in the sense of rule or norm.
Finally, for Thinking Parents who read all the books, who see power in all the stories right or wrong and no such thing as one canon, here’s what’s most wrong with righteous burning of anything or anyone, anywhere and especially in the South:
It’s a modern media retelling of Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”, in which a gang of Islamaphobes, cast in the role of Addie Bundren, bamboozle the media into carrying their coffin full of malevolence on a journey of pure debasement.