Books are dangerous things. They make people think. They plant ideas in the heads of the masses. People learn about the past, and find that things haven't really changed. The troublemakers from last century are the same troublemakers from this century. They whine and snivel and complain about the same things. They talk about social injustice. They talk about freedom. They talk about the need for everyone to think.

But things have changed. They're living in the past, right? Things are different now. I have my two-car garage, my white picket fence, my yellow lab, my perfectly proportioned wife, and my 2.5 children.

Why do you tell me to open my eyes? My eyes are opened! I have the world on a string. Why should I complain? Sure, my boss does better than I do, and his boss does a hell of a lot better than I do, and the CEO does kick back $15 million a year, but isn't that how it should be? You work hard, you make a lot of money. Those bastards on welfare? Screw 'em! Lazy bum should get his ass off and work. Get some hard work. Back-breaking work. It isn't my fault he didn't go to school. And why should I pay to send his kids to school? They're not my responsibility. My daddy? He started his own business, a hot dog cart in Louisiana. His daddy? My grandpa? Well, he worked in a steel mill. Why you asking? Yeah, I went to public school, but things were different then. Everybody was poor. People worked harder, too. What'd you say? No, I never read anything called The Grapes of Wrath. Why the hell you ask? That book was written a long time ago, right? What difference does it make? The past is over. It's gone. You're crazy, man.

Catch-22? Why do you keep on asking me this stuff? Are you crazy? What's that? You think everyone else is crazy? Goddam, son. You're the crazy one. Why do you have to keep on asking questions? Why can't you just accept things? Yossa what? What the hell are you talking about?

Books are dangerous. They make people think. People who think might not do what they're told. If they don't do what they're told, they might not buy that huge house with the two-door garage and the white picket fence. People might not buy a Lexus because they realize a fancy car has nothing to do with success. Maybe they'll find out that success doesn't have a damn thing to do with a bank account. People might not aspire to be at the top because maybe, just maybe they'll learn how many people on the bottom have to be crushed to get there. Maybe the American Dream will change.

Or maybe none of it will change. Maybe the masses just won't read. Maybe they just won't learn. They'll keep on watching their 24-hour news channels, watch their sitcoms, watch their weather channel on their satellite dishes. Maybe those at the top have won after all...

Yeah, this was written angrily. It probably contains some anti-capitalism, but I had to do it. When you start to think about what you've read in your life, and when you consider when it was written, your eyes open up. You start to really understand that things haven't changed. Centuries have passed and things haven't changed. There was the Inquisition back then. There's media oversaturation now. People are encouraged not to think. We have words to ostracize the people who do think. They're geeks. They're pretentious assholes in the ivory tower. They're not us. We just want to go on living, letting the corporations and the government take care of us. Everything is fine until we lose the essentials for humanity.

We always turn a blind eye to the disturbing parts of our society until someone writes a book. Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Jungle. When the people read, those who read, anyhow, they were outraged. They became empassioned by words on a page. They thought. I used to believe that we were being brutally pushed into Orwell's thought-free world of 1984. But now I see that we are being lulled into something more horrifying: the complacent state of mind in Huxley's Brave New World. So put away your books. Put away your thoughts. Pop some soma, get out your consumer-grade equipment, and let's go play a game of Obstacle Golf.

Books make you think. Sometimes they make you laugh. Sometimes they make you cry. Sometimes they anger you. Sometimes they inspire you. But they always make you think. That's the value of books, of literature. The bound pages are much more than the ink and paper they're written on. Books educate. Books enrage. Books ripen minds, young and old alike. They bring ideas to fruition. They can allow people to see that things aren't perfect. They allow people to see that things could be much worse. The books we read allow us to truly see the world.

She burns books in the back yard
charred pages dance across the cobbles
and the smoke stings my eyes in the doorway,
jammed ajar with the full works of Proust.

Nothing is sacred son
Arties do not picket the pulpers,
They weep in mirrors and lick the salt
from their cheeks.

Books make good weapons
Folded over with the spine cracked,
Driven down into bone or hooked
to prise sense from the stupid.

Don't believe the hype son
Paper is cheap and words are cheap,
Ideas are free and often bad
Fashions rust and books build good walls.

She burns books in the back yard
charred pages dance across the cobbles,
and the smoke stings my eyes in the doorway
but I won't lick the salt from my cheeks

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