Five Televisions and Three Books

Two quotes from an article about a secondhand bookstore in Kansas City which is burning books in protest at the decline of the industry. The quotes are from the two owners of the store.

"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

"There are segments of this city where you go to an estate sale and find five TVs and three books," Leathem said.

Now is as good a time as ever to mention that subscriptions to Harper's now include access to the entire history of the magazine in beautiful digital facsimile. This includes the interesting string of articles on the decline of literary culture starting with the despicable fame-craving pleas of Jonathan Franzen, continued by the avant-hipster cries for a worn-out experimentalism of Ben Marcus, and capped by the sublime classicism of Cynthia Ozick. Indeed, you might read the overblown pieces by the younger men in contrast to the measured wisdom of the older woman as exemplifying the very decline all pieces ostensibly address.