DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is an old-fashioned mortgage-burning party crass? A form of bragging?
GENTLE READER: Burning something is literally destructive, and therefore neither a polite subject for a party nor a subject for a polite party.
Truly old-fashioned examples in the former category were seldom enjoyed by the guest of honor, be it a book or a heretic. Examples in the latter category, such as harvest celebrations, were usually enjoyed too much. Miss Manners objects to all conflagrant parties with the exception of the Fourth of July.