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View Full Version : Is 'Fahrenheit 451' about censorship? 'No,' says Bradbury.



mr obvious
2007-Jun-02, 10:17 PM
Interesting article here:
http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/ray-bradbury-fahrenheit-451-misinterpreted/16524/

So, he is (was) decrying TV. I wonder what he thinks of the net.

soylentgreen
2007-Jun-03, 12:09 AM
He says the culprit in Fahrenheit 451 is not the state — it is the people.
I found that to be pretty obvious from the book...and was even more apparent from Truffaut's particular take on it. Like 1984, all the ills that people attribute the book to warning against(censorship, being the biggie)don't spontaneously create themselves in void. They are brought about through neglect, indifference, inaction, passivity and dulled and uninformed masses.

Considering crap like American Idol, Bill O'Reilly, Desperate Housewives, The 700 Club, Jackass, FOX News, The View, etc...I'm sure most would agree that Bradbury was right to fault the people.

Thanks, Mr Obvious. He's as cantankerous as ever, that spry old devil.

Noclevername
2007-Jun-03, 01:09 AM
There can be no bad TV without viewers who watch it.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-03, 05:24 AM
You know, not all censorship is by the state. People do quite a lot of it, too. It's about a person, at heart; that's what makes him a good author and it a good book. But censorship, whether he says so or not, is a major theme of the book.

Lord Jubjub
2007-Jun-03, 05:42 AM
Well now, censorship is a word with a few different definitions. Some would say that the free market of ideas allows people to restrict what speech they may listen to or read. Under this view, only government can censor. Thus, individuals burning books that they own is not censorship.

But I think Bradbury misses a point that is in his book. Governments will often use popular sentiment to create an unofficial censorship. But I think that he also missed a thread in American society that glorifies rebellion.

I really don't see F 451 really occurring in our country for several more generations. The story was written in the '50s, remember, when comformity was largely a given.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-03, 07:19 AM
There's a well-known habit in library circles of "concerned parents" (often not parents at all, apparently) checking out books from the library and "losing" them--or just swiping 'em off shelves. That's censorship, too, though it's assuredly not government-sponsored. (As to why libraries don't replace the books, often, it's because they cannot afford to. Especially if that work keeps disappearing.)

R.A.F.
2007-Jun-03, 11:36 AM
Considering crap like American Idol, Bill O'Reilly, Desperate Housewives, The 700 Club, Jackass, FOX News, The View, etc...I'm sure most would agree that Bradbury was right to fault the people.

I was unaware that these TV shows were on in the early 50's.

mr obvious
2007-Jun-03, 01:00 PM
There's a well-known habit in library circles of "concerned parents" (often not parents at all, apparently) checking out books from the library and "losing" them--or just swiping 'em off shelves. That's censorship, too, though it's assuredly not government-sponsored. (As to why libraries don't replace the books, often, it's because they cannot afford to. Especially if that work keeps disappearing.)

I'm not doubting your statement, but would like to know how this can work in the long-term without any lenience by a official capacity (e.g., the state or the library itself). In my own experience, if you borrow a book and lose it, they [the library] often charge you for replacing the book. Lose enough books, and your borrowing card gets revoked. I am not sure how this can lead to meaningful censorship in the long-term, but can certainly see how it might be disturbing in the short term.

soylentgreen
2007-Jun-03, 08:50 PM
There's a well-known habit in library circles of "concerned parents" (often not parents at all, apparently) checking out books from the library and "losing" them--or just swiping 'em off shelves. That's censorship, too, though it's assuredly not government-sponsored. (As to why libraries don't replace the books, often, it's because they cannot afford to. Especially if that work keeps disappearing.)

How grotesque. As a lifelong library freak, and a thorough cynic about the state of mind of many people in this country, I can't believe that that never even occurred to me as happening. Granted, I was more prone to imagining the rather romantic extreme of book-haters as not wanting to go anywhere near a library unless they were brandishing torches.

The idea that this goes on, to any degree, is a sordid reminder just how relentless that breed of closeminded villainy is.

Noclevername
2007-Jun-03, 09:00 PM
I'm not doubting your statement, but would like to know how this can work in the long-term without any lenience by a official capacity (e.g., the state or the library itself). In my own experience, if you borrow a book and lose it, they [the library] often charge you for replacing the book. Lose enough books, and your borrowing card gets revoked. I am not sure how this can lead to meaningful censorship in the long-term, but can certainly see how it might be disturbing in the short term.

Stealing or destroying even one book is meaningful censorship, as it denies that book to someone else. If a library cannot afford to replace it, it's gone for good. And if large numbers of people do this even once, the costs could pile up signifigantly.

ADDED: The people who generally do this kind of thing don't really care about losing library priveleges, most of 'em can't read anyway. They just join long enough to take out the "sinful" books and then leave. No leniency required.

novaderrik
2007-Jun-03, 09:49 PM
i've always loved it when people decide that they want to protest a book of music cd by going out and buying every copy they can get their hands on, then throwing them in a pile and then torching them. don't they realize that they not only gave the artists, publishers, and store they bought it from a lot of money, but they are also giving them a lot of free publicity.
makes about as much sense as religious groups protesting outside of strip clubs or adult book stores- anyone that didn't know those places were there now do, and some people will go just to see what all the fuss is about.
i know if i was a writer or musician or strip club owner, i'd "leak" a few sordid details about what i was doing to a few churches just to get them to come "protest" my evilness.

Tucson_Tim
2007-Jun-03, 10:04 PM
I do just the opposite sometimes. Back in the 80s I purchased Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses, not because I wanted to read it, but because a large group of people were telling me not to. I have a half-dozen books on my shelves that I purchased just because some group told me not to.

soylentgreen
2007-Jun-03, 10:25 PM
I do just the opposite sometimes. Back in the 80s I purchased Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses, not because I wanted to read it, but because a large group of people were telling me not to. I have a half-dozen books on my shelves that I purchased just because some group told me not to.

I actually did the same exact thing. The furor over it made it irresistable to this bibliophile. It was alright...and, more importantly of course, not worth the pandemonium. I'll always appreciate it for introducing me to his writings, though.

His BFI companion book on THE WIZARD OF OZ is fantastic and very moving.

Matherly
2007-Jun-04, 02:46 AM
I do just the opposite sometimes. Back in the 80s I purchased Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses, not because I wanted to read it, but because a large group of people were telling me not to. I have a half-dozen books on my shelves that I purchased just because some group told me not to.

My wife and I are very grateful to the Southern Baptists for telling us how awful Harry Potter was. We have greatly enjoyed every one of the novels and films, and we never would have given them a chance if some fundie on the radio hadn't told us they were evil.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-04, 04:24 AM
My wife and I are very grateful to the Southern Baptists for telling us how awful Harry Potter was. We have greatly enjoyed every one of the novels and films, and we never would have given them a chance if some fundie on the radio hadn't told us they were evil.

I initially read them when I was studying banned books in college. I own probably a dozen books that I first read because they were banned, and I read over a hundred of 'em.

In our library system, provided you keep your fines up-to-date, they don't suspend your borrowing privileges. Further, since they've implemented self-checkout, they don't sensitize the books anymore, making it far easier to sneak 'em out--though I could've gotten sensitized books out of every library with which I had dealings, had I wanted to. There is, of course, constant pressure on the library to buy new materials, and replacing the old ones isn't as high a priority, even when you're fined in theory to do just that. Some books, they couldn't easily find regardless, given that they're out-of-print and rare; you'll get fined for the price, but they won't necessarily replace the actual item you've swiped.

Maksutov
2007-Jun-04, 05:27 AM
Dog my cats if that ain't sumf'n!

Ah wonder what ol' Huck Finn would think 'bout these here goings on.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-04, 07:56 PM
Ah wonder what ol' Huck Finn would think 'bout these here goings on.

I suspect he'd be powerful confused at some of the things people are sayin' 'bout 'im.

Noclevername
2007-Jun-05, 10:54 PM
'Ey, whattaya tawkinabout, over here? Ya gotta be freakin' kiddin' me, with all this "ah reckon" an' whatnot. Fuggeddaboutit!

Argos
2007-Jun-05, 11:06 PM
Couldn´t it be that mr. Bradbury is re-interpreting his own work to be in line with the contemporary times?

Noclevername
2007-Jun-05, 11:12 PM
Isn't it more about knowledge vs. ignorance, and the way people knuckle under and collaborate with censors, that about censorship itself?

tdvance
2007-Jun-06, 06:37 PM
When I read the book, I thought it was about what is today called "political correctness"--books were banned because they offended, caused hurt feelings, made people think about things they didn't want to think about, etc.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-06, 07:09 PM
Books are very, very seldom banned for "political correctness" reasons. Usually, it's the other end of the spectrum. (Well, except poor Huck. It's funny, the reasons he's been banned over his lifespan.)