Ray Bradbury’s Turning 90, Hates Big Government, and Other Ruminations

So, it’s the start of another school year.  After taking a bit of a “sabbatical” as we’ll call it, I’m back and raring to go.  So that means I’m dusting the cobwebs of my good ole laptop and Microsoft Word and hitting the blogosphere again, the long lost prodigal son has returned!  But, unlike the usual postings, I figured I’d start off a little lighter today, as the transition back into school mode has melted off a year of baseball stats and World Cup fever, etc.  So, here we go:

Whenever I walk to school, I plug in my earbuds, hit play on Pandora (today the Social Distortion station), and start catching up on FoxNews and Drudge.  Usually, I’ll catch somethingbetween the two to entertain me on the six block walk (and it’s a pretty good tool to use to ignore the bums always asking me for change).  Hidden at the bottom of Drudge today was a headline that made me smile: “Ray Bradbury Hates Big Government: ‘Our Country is in Need of a Revolution.’”  Now many of you may be saying, “Ray Bradbury?!  Who the hell is that?!” or, like me, “Ray Bradbury is still alive?!  I could have sworn he died like 30 years ago!” Well, for the illiterate twits out there, Ray Bradbury is one of the most celebrated American writers of the last 60 years as well as one of my favorite authors.  As for the rest of us, yes Virginia, there still is a Ray Bradbury kicking around these days.  In fact, he’s celebrating his 90th birthday this week, which is the whole reason for the article linked to above.  In it, Bradbury chides Obama for his myriad of “emergencies” and “top priorities” at the expense of space exploration. Said Bradbury: “We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever.” He should know – he wrote “The Martian Chronicles” like 50 years ago, come on NASA, catch up

While I’m not quite sure about the whole “live forever” thing (though it’s apparently not that crazy of an idea according to an article in the May issue of GQ [yes, I subscribe]), it was kind of nice seeing the man who is responsible for creating some of the best fantasy writing to date, especially because it doesn’t deal with orcs and hobbits and vampires, come out and bring the O’Bumbler in Chief to task for limiting NASA from doing what it does.

But even greater was the fact that Bradbury went on to decry the size of the government: “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people.”  God bless 90 year-olds!  xBut, what really made me want to talk about this wasn’t really the fact that Bradbury agreed with me, I mean, he’s a friggin’ genius, so it’s obvious he would agree with me.  What got me was a little link lower down on the page declaring that a “Fahrenheit 451” graphic novel had been published!  At first I thought “Heck yeah, that was a great book.  Maybe now a whole new segment of society will read it.  Hell, maybe even some kids will read it then discover the joys of reading.”  When I realized the irony of what I just said – reading a comic book that laments the loss of the written word and the rise of mass culture and the breaking down of everything into quicker and quicker bits for easier and quicker consumption.

Did Bradbury sell out?!  My mind began to race, thinking about what the world was in for if the book that predicted things like reality TV, the constant reduction in the length of communication, and the over-commercialization of our society at the expense of culture was suddenly transcribed into a more digestible comic book.  The author calmed some of my worries, stating that she actually had to read the comic book, instead of barreling through a black-and-white text like a bat out of hell.  Just then though, as I finished the article, I happened across another little link at the bottom of the page suggesting a differing view on the issue.

After bouncing back and forth a bit between “Ray Bradbury has signaled the beginning of the end” to “Bradbury is offering a life raft for culture” the author finally decides that Bradbury may simply be putting his story out there anyway he can, and instead of “F 451” being an anti-mass culture/TV/radio/internet treatise, it may simply be celebrating the art of storytelling.  Instead of the news headlines or commercials or reality TV shows the dominated the mass culture in “F 451,” the heroes decided to memorize stories to tell each other so that they won’t be forgotten.

Awesome, now I have to go back and re-write my Bradbury assignment from sophomore year in high school.  After I go take some Advil to deal with this headache caused by everything I thought about Bradbury, “Fahrenheit 451” and mass culture getting blown to shreds, melted together, and then thrown into a blender on high.  And on the dude’s 90th birthday week no less.

Leave a Reply

Using Gravatars in the comments - get your own and be recognized!

XHTML: These are some of the tags you can use: <a href=""> <b> <blockquote> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>