This is one of those which quotes and you could actually read it all yourself. Read on for the short version.
An expansion of a story called “The Pedestrian,” the novel is set in a future America in which books are burned because they may cause unhappiness and dissent. The theme is not a new one, but what makes Bradbury’s treatment of it compelling to this day is his understanding that it doesn’t take an authoritarian government to impose such restrictions on the public.
Which suggests to me that we’re being played as guinea pigs by The Money. Them being lowlifes in nice suits makes it all the more nauseating.
“Bigger the population, the more minorities … You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? . . “Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. . .”
And life imitates literature:
In early 2011, as so often happens, life imitated art. News of a bowdlerized reprint of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn elicited an outcry from librarians and others. Article after article ridiculed the project, which aimed to salvage Twain’s classic for young readers by replacing the offensive “N-word”–used over 200 times in the novel–with the word “slave.” And yet, ironically, these defenders of free expression typically went to great lengths themselves to avoid using the word “nigger,” and thus were not exactly beacons of light in the fight for free speech and literary integrity.
Not to mention the Christie classic. These people are insane.
And would Bradbury have laughed or groaned at the ever increasing government interference in all areas of life that we see today, most recently in New York Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban on soft drinks larger than 16 ounces? Perhaps this “soft prohibition,” as it might be called, will work out better than the earlier one aimed at alcoholic drinks.
And here is where the Christian apocalypse is directly presaged:
Organically bioengineered microchips are sewn into everyone’s skin, and these devices allow people to be tracked wherever they are. Down in the dumps? Just go to a “compu-chat” machine in the street for instant therapy and encouragement, and anodyne expressions of “Be well!” Using offensive language causes the omnipresent computers automatically to fine the individual one or more credits and announce it publicly in a monotonous computer voice.
Bans, bans, bans:
Whatever is not explicitly good for people is considered bad and is therefore decreed illegal. The list includes alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat, chocolate, anything spicy, gasoline, uneducational toys, abortion–but also pregnancy if you don’t have a license–and, of course, offensive language.
I confronted one of the people who go along with all this – a housewife, one of the “they should ban this” brigade – and I asked her why? She didn’t understand the question. Then I asked if she realized that her support for “banning” was creating tyranny in this land, the enslavement of such as her husband and her children. [Yes she’s one who still keeps a husband on out of the goodness of her heart.]