Minutes from Thursday's Book-Burning Meeting
The school board reflects.
There’s over a hundred of you now! My heart and ego glow with warmth. I love writing online, even after Zuckerberg killed words. Thank you for picking mine out of the wreckage.
Let’s celebrate with a riff on the fifth or sixth largest ongoing disaster. If you like it, forward it to a friend. If you don’t, forward it to a coworker.
Wallace High School Board
February 13, 2021, 6:00 PM
The chairwoman takes her place before the board, and calls the meeting to order.
Roy: It makes no sense, is all.
Ilana: As discussed, there’s only one point on the agenda. Let’s settle it quickly.
Roy: I still don’t get it. How can he be Peacemaker if he shoots people?
Ken: That’s Hollyweird.
Ken: I brought drinks! And a soda for Carol.
Carol: Give me a beer. After this disaster, my sponsor will understand.
Ilana: Refreshment, alcoholic or otherwise, can wait. We have an issue to discuss.
Carol: The “issue” is why I’m drinking.
Ilana: You can abstain until recess.
Roy: Why do you talk like that during meetings? Outside this room you’re all “fuck shit fuck.” It’s jarring.
Ken: She’s got a point, we’re on the clock. I’ll break out the mini-keg after we put this to bed.
Ilana: Thank you.
Ken: No problem. You should recap it, for the others. I definitely remember.
Ilana: Carol has challenged the purchase of a 7-U25 “Montag” Literary Incinerator.
Carol: We can’t afford it.
Roy blows a raspberry.
Carol: How old are you?
Ilana: That’s a matter of public record.
Roy: Old enough to know garbage when I hear it.
Ken: That doesn’t really make sense. Trash doesn’t make noise, it just sits there. It’s very urban.
Roy: Look, this board spent three months looking for a place for banned books. I finally find one, and it just causes another meeting?
Carol: Because there’s no money. Half our teachers steal supplies from their weekend jobs. The others steal from us.
Ken: Yeah, the Montag’s pricey.
Roy: We’ve got a lot of books to get through. What are we going to do, burn them by hand?
Ken: Fair. You get out of the system what you put into it.
Carol: Stop looking for people to agree with, toady.
Ken: I do agree with people a lot.
Ilana: We’re not here to discuss Ken’s character. Please contain discussion to the issue.
Carol: The basement already has a perfectly viable incinerator.
Roy: The Montag isn’t for trash, or central heating. It’s the best dedicated book-burning system on the market. If we want our students to be the best, we have to give them the best.
Carol: What gets cut for this? Art? Lunches? Football?
Ilana: Keep it civil. We’re not cutting football.
Ken: I think my heart stopped for a second there.
Ilana: Forgiven. Proceed.
Carol: I’m with you. Keeping propaganda out of students’ hands is important. But first we need to teach the values we’re defending. What’s the point of burning other books if we can’t afford bibles?
Roy: I prefer keeping the Bible abstract, like the Founders. You know what they want in your gut.
Carol: There’s another issue. I didn’t want it to come to this, because it should be obvious. But the environmental impact —
Roy blows a second raspberry.
Ilana: Please refrain from further raspberries until we’ve adjourned.
Ken: Yeah. Though that was a good one.
Carol: I agree that most books need to go. But we can’t just torch them. The planet’s dying, and we’d be blasting more carbon into the air.
Ken: Is there a book-mulching machine we could buy instead? We could recycle all those slavery books into notebooks for the Patriotic History module.
Roy: That’s…not a bad idea. I’d miss the oomph of a good burning, but it still makes a point.
Ilana: At a glance, the “Commie Shredder” runs for fifteen thousand USD per unit.
Carol: See? That’s half the price of a Montag.
Roy: Hold on. Check the fine print. Is it a shredder of commies or by commies?
Ilana: Context indicates the latter.
Roy: Just checking. We all remember “How To Be a White Ally.”
Ken: I’m sorry, okay?! I thought it was about helping other white people.
Ilana: All in favor of replacing the Montag order with a Commie Shredder?
Four hands rise.
Ilana: Unanimous. Excellent. I’ll put in the paperwork.
Carol: Drinks were mentioned?
Ken: Hold on, what’s our plan for black history month? It snuck up on us last year.
Roy: The Commie-Shredder should get here before March, if we make a rush order. We can pulp a few copies of Another Country in Dr. King’s honor.
Carol: Truly a great man.
Ilana: Sharp. All in favor?
Four hands rise.
Ilana: Excellent. Adjourned.
Thanks again for reading. I also wrote a book, if you’re into that.