In what could very well be a deleted scene from 2006’s Idiocracy, but what is instead a real clip from our increasingly dumb and dangerous political landscape, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Missouri recently used a flamethrower to set books aflame as giddy supporters cheered on.
This scene could have also been ripped from Fahrenheit 451, or any number of literary or cinematic warnings about the rise of fascism and the right’s inherent hatred of knowledge and enlightenment. One would think the question would arise: Are we the baddies? But one would be naive to believe in such self awareness.
Bill Eigel, who serves as state senator in a Missouri legislature that is among the most openly corrupt, authoritarian, anti-democratic governing body in the United States, held a campaign even last week in which he used a flamethrower straight of the Alien franchise to burn boxes of books he had deemed “pornographic” in nature (Eigel later explained the boxes were empty, but that he would not hesitate to burn books on the lawn of the governor’s mansion if elected next fall).