Book Burning

"Three Suns and Book Burning" from the Nuremberg Chronicle.
“Three Suns and Book Burning” from the Nuremberg Chronicle.

Today’s Daily Post prompt asks us what word we’d ban from our language if given the chance. Banning a word from future use is not as simple as it might seem on the outset. To ban a word from being used from this day forward, you’ll also have to ban its reprint (or re-airing) in materials previously published. The existing materials might either be grandfathered in under the law, or more likely, required to be destroyed. It’s utterly barbaric, the worst kind of black magic. To remove all of the thing the committee has deemed inappropriate will not be a precise type of surgery – it will be a messy amputation.

Where words are concerned, it’s not like you can just pluck the one word out without killing all of the words that surround it. Even if you say that the word in question is a “bad” one, something that only has negative implications, like a racial slur, removing that word forever also removes any positive things that have come out of it. Like people deciding not to use the word. Or the word being used an a campaign for betterment. Or the word being used in art or literature to teach a moral lesson.

Our culture spends a lot of time whitewashing over problems, looking for rainbows and roses where sometimes there’s only a massive garbage heap. I’m OK with there being bad in the world – it makes the good worthwhile. And we need our words – all of them – to be able to talk this out with each other.

Throwing words away because they don’t fit your strict sense of right and wrong puts you on the road to becoming the kind of person who seeks to destroy other traces of imperfection and individuality. We’ve already seen that before. Let’s not go through it again.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I think right and wrong can be relative enough to make some words and books acceptable. I would not read the Satanic Bible so I wouldn’t look through it. I think we need to realize some people just like being offended.

    1. Anna says:

      Totally agree.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s