Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Luddite from Space"

"It’s Ray Bradbury’s future—we’re just living in it," says The American Conservative's Daniel J. Flynn — Revenge of the Nerd. An excerpt:
    Before Fahrenheit 451’s firemen came to burn books, the public deserted books. “I remember the newspapers dying like huge moths,” the story’s Professor Faber remarks. “No one wanted them back. No one missed them.” In attempting to please the masses, publishers took care not to offend the market and produced books “leveled down to a sort of pastepudding norm.” Attention spans waned in the wake of competing technology. “Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the twentieth-century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending.”

    In the novel, people stopped reading before the state stopped them from reading. The predictable result was an ill-educated society fit for neither leisure nor the ballot. Women discuss voting for a candidate because of his handsome looks and abdicate the responsibilities of motherhood by dumping their children in front of television sets. The over-medicated, air-conditioned culture is awash in suicide, abortion, child neglect, and glassy-eyed passivity. Sound familiar?

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

A fun assignment to do with the students:

Ask them which is worse, and explain why: a society where books are free in libraries but no one cares to read them, or a society where books are burned and no one is allowed to read them.

January 4, 2012 at 11:15 PM  

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