The American flag is more popular Baghdad than the Iraqi one; judging by the sales of local bazaars. It comes in several sizes and in a choice of lengths and finishes: slow & sooty, steady & warm, or flashy. Stall-holders sell dozens and for obvious reasons the most popular models are sanctions busters made in the good ol' U. S. of A. Which just shows that American free enterprise can still succeed in a land where free speech and free assembly are frowned upon.
I find it similarly ironic that so many copies of The Satanic Verses where bought for the bonfires -- without so much a spine being cracked to discover the blasphemies within. It shows the touching faith of those extremists of the Islamic faith who make such an unrepresentatively loud noise. Equally, I am sure Salman lost little sleep over this particular display of literary critisism. It always hurts an author more to be insulted by someone who has at least tried to read their work. Personally, I liked it, but consider MC to be better. And if it is blasphemy you want..[koran]
In fact, if you were to know someone who has burnt a book they have read, I would be intrigued (if not so far as to actually want to meet them). I once tried to burn a Gideons Bible, the noxious fumes from its cheap plastic cover overcame my enthusiasm before much good was done.
Few have been immune to such judgements. In 1683, The University of Oxford had the manners to wait for his death before placing Thomas Hobbes of Malmsbury's now reknowned treatise Leviathan on its list of 'Pernicious Books and Damnable Doctrines' a non-reading list of tomes suitable for the fireplace. As it happens, the list is still maintained, and although Hobbes has been reprieved, the Vice Chancellor informs me that among recent additions are Chicken Soup for the Soul and almost everything by Richard Laymon.
But is that so bad? What use are books to a would be prince? It is very difficult to persuade some to kill or be killed for a book, more especially so should that person happen to have read it.
A flag is just a piece of cloth used to shroud a multitude of sins. A rallying standard that saves its waver from having to stand for anything. Unfurl a flag and start marching, Before you realise it you will have an army.
Now, let us say together..
I pledge allegiance to the flames..
Sunday, 2nd April 2000