El Coyote Gordo (supergee) wrote,
El Coyote Gordo
supergee

What It’s About

Isaac Asimov wrote a famous story about a time machine bringing William Shakespeare to the present to take a Shakespeare course, which he flunks. Here’s life imitating art, with Ray Bradbury.

But of course a novel is never about one thing. Fahrenheit 451 is about “the role of the mass media and its effect on the populace, in particular television and how it makes people less able to digest more complex forms of media, like books,” as Bradbury says. It’s also about censorship: The firemen don’t come to your house and hold an intervention where they tell you you’ll be happier if you stop hurting your brain with all those big words. They burn your books.

He could have written a dystopian follow-up in which the same devolution hit computers, and the greatest device ever created for picking up the world from a safe distance with words and numbers was turned into a form of television, where lots of the online stuff couldn’t go more than two paragraphs without showing you moving pictures. He could even have emphasized his preferred theme by having his dystopia enforced not by state force but by media megacorps controlling the pipelines.

Thanx to File 770
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