Yesterday a famous youtuber destroyed a copy of a book and handed out the pieces for a charity event. I found so many things wrong with this event, but I only want to focus on one thing right now. That one thing is the willful destruction of a printed book.
I love to read. I love books. I love to have books around me. Books are my friends. I have meaningful relationships with glue, ink and paper. Seeing the destruction of a book affects me on a visceral level. I have the urge to take the book away from whoever defaces it and slap that person. Of course I won’t do that, but I want to.
Having this blunt display of destruction for charity yesterday is not even the only instance where I have cringed on behalf of mutilated paperbacks.
I have noticed lately that many people use printed books as material for their art. They cut books up. They sculpt stuff out of them and they make the books unreadable in many ways. I consider that more instances of destruction.
If looking at a shelf full of books is considered book porn, then looking at those art pieces should be considered book horror.
Once you destroy the integrity of the story, you destroy the magic of that particular book. I don’t care how pretty it looks, you just killed it. So, stop it.
Books only work when the reader can access the story. The author of the book has left her or his side of the dialog and the reader adds her or his side by reading, thinking and imagining on the presented material. In that process the reader gets to know the writer and bestows certain amounts of reverence and respect, depending on the level of amazement the reader has with the book.
If a book is made unreadable, there is no way for this process to happen. The author is deemed worthless or inconsequential and no respect is shown. And if you tear a book apart because you don’t like it, you are also tearing into an author and demean their creative spirit and their very existence.
Behind every book stands a person who has put considerable amounts of work into it and who had the courage to put it out there. Destroying their work is easy. It doesn’t take much talent to find fault in the creation of others and feel superior. What I see in the destroyer, however is a total lack of constructive or creative power and a lack of respect or understanding for fellow human beings and their hopes and dreams.
Destroying books is callous and bad. Stop it.