So much for liberals being horrified by book-burning, even by American soldiers. On Thursday's Colbert Report, Steven Colbert drew audience cheering and laughing over the story that troops in Afghanistan burned several boxes of Bill O'Reilly's book Pinheads and Patriots. Letting the fake-conservative schtick really go, he suggested O'Reilly's books were good for the toilet. "Soldier, there are plenty of ways Papa Bear’s books can be useful on the front line. You can use them as sandbags, or as armor for a humvee, or you know, you guys always need toilet paper. I am sure Bill would be honored."
He also said the book was perfect for the military since "I know reading his books always make me want to kill somebody."
The liberal audience screamed, laughed and clapped as they were shown the image of burning books with the caption: "Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap." Colbert told his crowd "Yeah, that got me clapping with anger, too."
Colbert and his producers edited out the less funny, as the original caption was "Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington - Patriot; George Soros - Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap. Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander’s orders."
It's also lame that the Pentagon (or other charities) don't handle food or soap. Colbert went on:
Now once this photo went viral the soldier claims he was not because read this copy, as it was shown on screen: "We don't have a post office here, so sending them back wasn't an option...All waste is burned on the base...I won't say I didn't take pleasure in removing a few copies of this bigoted twerp's writings from circulation, but the reason for doing so was military necessity."
Bigoted twerp? We should mention that the soldier in question uses the handle "Everqueer," which was shown on screen. Again, Colbert and his producers removed the part where the soldier said he "was aware of the historical implications of book burning," but enjoyed burning them (but kept one for the book shelf).
"How dare you, sir?" exclaimed Colbert with fake outrage. "You sit there thousands of miles from the front lines of punditry, lobbing your criticisms from the safety of your forward operating base, attacking a hero who gets up every day, puts on this uniform, and heads into basic cable Hell, all out of love of country and a lucrative broadcasting contract!"
Colbert concluded: "You, sir, are a pinhead -- who I unquestionably support. Thank you for your service."
This story also drew whoops on the Stephanie MIller radio show on Thursday morning. Miller said "Oh my goodness, I love this story. Troops in Afghanistan burned donated copies of Bill O’Reilly’s books." Sidekick Chris Lavoie, added "Oh yeah, this is awesome."
MILLER: According to Gawker what did soldiers in Afghanistan do with copies of Pinheads and Patriots their Dad’s sent in a care package? They set them on fire.
LAVOIE: That’s great!
MILLER: A Tumblr maintained by a soldier stationed in Afghanistan said some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book.
Turn this around -- soldiers burning Michael Moore books, for example, on commander's orders -- and it wouldn't be funny at all. It would be fascist tools of the National Security State in a horrific scene from Fahrenheit 451. If conservative hosts on Fox in prime time or talk radio clapped and laughed, it would be like shredding the First Amendment. But burn a book with "patriots" in the title, and suddenly the soldiers are men of the people.