Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ray Bradbury Says We Got Fahrenheit 451 All Wrong

Authors often are dismayed when reviewers and readers take something from their books that they didn't intend. In college, professors would often claim that this was actually a good thing. Often the writer puts things in their work in their sub conscience that they didn't intend, and the reader is free to interpret beyond the author's meaning.

I am reminded of the scene from the low-brow 80's movie 'Back to School' where Rodney Dangerfield hires Kurt Vonnegut (RIP) to write his report on Vonnegut, and the teacher tells him that whomever he hired to write the paper didn't understand Vonnegut.

Bradbury states that the danger he was speaking to in his novel was from the citizenry not from the government. The citizens were distracted by their television walls and stopped reading before books were ever burned. Sure the government distracted the people for their own nefarious purposes but it was a deliberate act on the part of the populace to not read.

I do like this point. The government and the media can only feed us as much bullshit as we will swallow. The reason we get car chases, Anna Nicole Smith, and missing white woman coverage on tv is because we watch it. It's crack, it's twinkies, and we as citizens demand it.

There is a bias against liberals on cable news, the example of Phil Donohue is a great lesson to learn, but the point remains that we choose to be numbed. If 3,000,000 progressives started watching Olbermann every night, he would by far be the ratings leader of anybody on the big three cable networks. When you consider that 3,000,000 viewers would be just one out of every one hundred americans, you can see why our government doesn't need to do fancy censorship techniques to prevent us from receiving information.

We do it to ourselves. We get home from crappy mind numbing jobs, and drown our worries and boredom in booze and American Idol. What can be done can only be done by us. Economics is what makes this country go round and round. Encourage all your family and friends to watch intelligent tv. Be it a documentary on PBS, or a Bill Moyers show, or even the Daily Show and Olbermann, it's our lack of concern, and passion, that will get the books up to 450 degrees before we notice.