‘Book burning’ ad is tongue-in-cheek

first_imgFor those of you who would like to learn more about The Big Read, visit http://thebigread-scv.org. Ray Bradbury himself will be discussing his work at 6 p.m. today at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. To see staged readings of the play, “Farenheit 451,” the guild will be performing an abbreviated version April 21 at noon at the Newhall Community Center, with a full performance at 8 p.m. May 12 at the theater, 24242 San Fernando Road in Newhall. Call (661) 799-2702 for more information about tickets. And not that I’m telling you what to read, but don’t forget to burn your way through the pages of “Farenheit 451” with your fellow Santa Claritans this month….. To post your own stories and photos, log on to valleynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! I guess we should be grateful for the outrage, those of us who make our living producing the written word. An ad promoting a “book burning” has caused quite a flurry of phone calls and e-mails, many of them outraged at the proposed incendiary event, others warning that the group putting on the conflagration is a “neo-Nazi group.” The proposed firestorm is scheduled at 8 p.m. at the Canyon Theatre Guild, a group to which I confess being quite close. Neo-Nazis? Hardly. Outrageous? Perhaps, if you’ve seen some of our cabarets. Educational? Well, we try to be. The book burning is a clever way to spread the word about The Big Read, an event promoted by the local libraries and supported by the city of Santa Clarita as well as several other nonprofit groups, including the guild. In the second year of “One Book, One Santa Clarita,” citizens are being asked to read and discuss Ray Bradbury’s classic novel “Farenheit 451,” which tells the story of a fireman charged not with putting out fires, but instead destroying volumes of literature deemed unsuitable for public consumption. A Nazi-esque task, agreed. The creative team behind this is anything but. Just what do you throw in the fire pit during such a purge? Do we destroy tomes by Marx – either Karl or Groucho? Do we burn lifestyle guides written by the likes of Phyllis Schaffley or Anita Bryant? Do we throw in liberal volumes about the Kennedys, the Clintons or the latest collection of Bushisms? And what do we use for kindling – newspapers, both those published by out-of-state corporations (all serving the Santa Clarita Valley, by the way, via Illinois, Georgia and Colorado) or those created by neighborhoods and printed at Kinkos? Of course, the much larger horror is censoring anything written, because to do so takes away freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of personal belief. Self-censorship – something that Don Imus should have exercised last week – is one thing. To remove a resource from civilization is something entirely different. The Fireman’s 451 Committee, which allegedly “sponsored” the ad is a fictional group that has nothing to do with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, despite their phones ringing with complaints as well. And the logo running with the ad, fashioned by two theater employees, isn’t a compilation of swastika parts and a Ku Klux Klan hood already in use by a neo-Nazi group, no matter what several callers have claimed. The people outraged include fellow actors, teachers and community leaders, none of whom “got” the inside scoop … that an institution that has produced shows exploring racism and bigotry such as “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” would never judge what the public can or can’t read by destroying books. For those of us who have answered some of those e-mails (yes, I even got some at home), it’s the perfect reason to have events like The Big Read. Obviously, some folks haven’t flipped through the pages of Bradbury’s book and read his ominous warnings. Events like this bring us back to the basics – sitting down and learning something from a writer who blends fact and fiction to create a scenario we can either accept or reject. last_img

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