Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ray Bradbury says

the culprit in Fahrenheit 451 is not the state — it is the people.
Unlike Orwell’s 1984, in which the government uses television screens to
indoctrinate citizens, Bradbury envisioned television as an opiate. In the book,
Bradbury refers to televisions as “walls” and its actors as “family,” a truth
evident to anyone who has heard a recap of network shows in which a fan refers
to the characters by first name, as if they were relatives or friends.


  1. I read recently that you are more likely to react positively towards someone who looks like an actor that you are familiar with.

    Not sure if this as true for me though, as I would run in fear from anyone who reminds me of anybody in the cast of Friends.

  2. MargaretWV12:59 PM

    Truffaut's movie version really made this point --about the people willingly drugging themselves with television -- much better than the book did. (Oh, the irony.)

    Have you seen it? Julie Christie, Oskar Werner, completely dated, totally British mod. Truffaut starts the film with spoken credits, in keeping with the novel's theme.

  3. Interesting article, and interesting that Bradbury has decided now, after all these years to protest how people are interpreting the book.

  4. I always thought it was the people who caused the problem. I guess because I was reading the banned and challenged list books at the time. I thought about people objecting to say, 'Huck Finn,' and how easy it would be for them to start editing out the "offensive" parts. Pretty soon it would start snowballing and who would want to read the little bit of watered down literature that would be left? Isn't that pretty much what Montag was told?

    Now, in '1984' and 'Brave New World' and even 'The Handmaid's Tale' I definitely blame the government.

  5. Well, clearly I'm *days* behind in my blog-hoppin'. I posted about the Bradbury piece on 6/3... didn't know you were already discussing here.

    I do agree with Margaret that the film made Bradbury's point. Mr., Master, and I read 451 for a family book club selection years ago and followed up with the film. Good brain food.

    Heredity and environment are funny things. You can't rid yourself of all the odd ducks in just a few years. The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That's why we've lowered the age of kindergarten year after year until now we're almost snatching them from the cradle.

    Laughing about the book *not* being Behind the Scenes, by the way.



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