Thunderbird discusses and bashes "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury with the Institute's literature class...
SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: See the Introduction.
A/N: First of all, I've renamed this story; instead of "Quillian's Misfits Stories," it's now "A Collection Of Misfits Stories." Anyway, I was just perusing through Great Literature According to Thunderbird" some time ago, and I decided to poke fun at a book which he never bashed. (And, ironically, I happen to like this book.) Personally, I think the title says it all...
NOTE: This takes place a few days after the last chapter of "Great Literature According to Thunderbird."
Also, I would like to thank the great Red Witch herself for tossing me some ideas for this one.
"The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches. ..." -Ray Bradbury, "Coda"
It was a few days after the class where the students debated and argued about Animal Farm by George Orwell and after Hank and John got into a fight over William Shakespeare vs. Donald Trump.
And now, John was teaching again.
"Okay, so, which book shall we trash - er, I mean discuss this time?" John asked with a grin (he was obviously in a good mood).
Naturally, everyone turned towards Kurt, who usually wanted to discuss one book which everyone else wanted to trash.
Instead, today he was absorbed in a book which depicted what looked like a fireman bearing a flamethrower.
"Kurt, you with us today?" John called.
Kurt snapped out of his funk and looked up from the book he was reading. "Oh, I'm sorry, I was reading this book..."
"Really?" John asked. "Which book is it?"
"It's..." but then Kurt trailed off and stopped himself before he could say anything else. "NO! I'm not telling you!" Kurt yelled. "You'll just bash this one again!"
As he said that, the German mutant made a dash to stuff it in his bag, but Jamie snatched it out of Kurt's hands and held it up for all to see. "Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury!" Jamie shouted.
"Oh GOD no!" John moaned. "Not THAT one!"
Kurt gave an odd mix of a sigh and a groan. "Here we go again." He then mumbled under his breath, "Thanks a lot, Multiple."
"No problem, Nightcrawler," Jamie responded cheerfully, tossing Kurt his book back.
"So, what's this book about?" Jesse asked.
"Oh, it's some sort of utopian future or something where firemen burn books as well as the houses which they're found in," John drawled. "Instead, everyone just watches walls with TV's or something built into them."
"Hm, that doesn't sound so bad," Roberto remarked.
"Yeah," John agreed. "Quick poll: Would you rather read books or watch TV?" Every hand except Kurt's shot up like a rocket. "I rest my case."
"The whole point of that book was about the evils and hypocrisy of censorship!" Kurt pointed out, determined not to let John unfairly win this argument in his usual fashion.
"What's wrong with censorship?" Tabitha asked. "They do it all the time with movie ratings, don't they?"
"Well, that kind of censorship I can live with," Kurt elaborated. "You know, so children don't see movies with stuff that's too mature for them... but the kind of censorship I'm talking about is where people censor things and prevent ideas from spreading simply because they don't like those ideas and don't want other people going with those ideas."
"You mean like if you wanted to publish some things about how mutants shouldn't be persecuted against and some jerk like Senator Kelly censored it because he didn't like those ideas and didn't want people to go with them?" Paige asked Kurt.
"Exactly!" Kurt exclaimed, gesturing towards Paige. "That's my entire point! Trying to prevent innocent children from seeing things which they're not mature enough for, that's one thing... but censoring stuff for other people simply because you don't like it? That's whack!"
"Well, the book is whack!" John shot back. "I can see your argument against censorship, Kurt, but the book is still BOR-ING! It's either 'Hey, maybe they shouldn't burn books after all' or 'Hey, let's strike back against the government and have books published again,' and that's boring! Just some tale about this guy named Guy Montag who burns books for a living, meets some delusional teenage girl who goes on about books, meets with some old professor who hides books and yet doesn't read them, kills his boss, runs away from the system, joins up with these people who memorize entire books, and helps in some assault against the system!"
"You know, it sounds like Pyro would love the job as a fireman in that," Roberto chuckled.
"Knowing Pyro, he definitely would," Amara agreed.
"The argument isn't just against burning books," Kurt argued. "The author has even said himself that there's more than one way to burn a book, so to speak - just by editing out words or ripping out entire pages, you're still doing the same thing if you were burning an entire book; trying to prevent ideas from being spread which are perfectly allowed to be spread simply because you don't like them! If you don't like a certain book or any other sort of literary text, then just don't read it, but don't ruin it or yank it away from other people!"
"Wow, Kurt, you're really passionate about this sort of thing, aren't ya?" Sam asked.
Kurt merely shrugged in response to that. "I think after all the book bashing that's been done in this class, it's kind of gotten on my nerves after a while."
"You know, Kurt, you do raise some interesting points," John said slowly. "But then again, suppose I burned just one copy of that book... surely there'd still be plenty of other copies out there, right? Still those same ideas for other people to read?"
Kurt shook his head. "You know what, Mr. Proudstar? I think that by now, you have officially lost me..."
"Here, let me demonstrate," Thunderbird said as he plucked another copy of Fahrenheit 451 off the shelf and proceeded to set it on fire with a cigarette lighter he just happened to have on him.
At that very same moment, Beast walked in to ask his colleague something... but whatever it was, no one else knew, because he saw John setting a copy of Fahrenheit 451 on fire.
Beast let out an unearthly roar of anger and promptly went berserk. "THUNDERBIRD, YOU HAVE OFFICIALLY CROSSED THE LINE THIS TIME! SETTING A COPY OF FAHRENHEIT 451 ON FIRE? YOU'VE REALLY DONE IT THIS TIME, YOU BOOK-BURNING FASCIST!"
And with that, another brawl promptly ensued, this one even more grand then their previous "Shakespeare vs. Trump" argument. Their shadows were thrown across the floor by the fire which now proceeded to eat away at the teacher's desk and the floor underneath it. Greatly excited, all the students (minus Kurt, of course, who was shaking his head and moaning in disbelief) placed their bets on their fighting teachers and set back to watch the show.
A minute later, Xavier came along and saw what was going on. By, now there was only one thing he could do...
"Why is it my teachers cause more fires than my students?" Xavier groaned to himself.
A/N: So, how was this one?
Note about the Ray Bradbury quote at the beginning of this short story: Most copies of Fahrenheit 451 these days should have this "Coda" thing in the back of them. It's basically the author's thoughts upon censorship itself.