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Ray Bradbury: The future is here

June 10, 2012

No doubt our readers have already heard of Ray Bradbury’s passing.  A brilliant and creative writer, Bradbury had a knack for imagining how an artificial society—with an increasingly disquieting dependence on electronic toys—would lead to a nightmarish future.  We can do no better than to point you to Tim Kreider’s excellent article commemorating an extraordinary author.

“…Mr. Bradbury knew how the future would feel: louder, faster, stupider, meaner, increasingly inane and violent. Collective cultural amnesia, anhedonia, isolation. The hysterical censoriousness of political correctness. Teenagers killing one another for kicks. Grown-ups reading comic books. A postliterate populace. “I remember the newspapers dying like huge moths,” says the fire captain in “Fahrenheit,” written in 1953. “No one wanted them back. No one missed them.” Civilization drowned out and obliterated by electronic chatter. The book’s protagonist, Guy Montag, secretly trying to memorize the Book of Ecclesiastes on a train, finally leaps up screaming, maddened by an incessant jingle for “Denham’s Dentifrice.” A man is arrested for walking on a residential street. Everyone locked indoors at night, immersed in the social lives of imaginary friends and families on TV, while the government bombs someone on the other side of the planet. Does any of this sound familiar?”

- Tim Kreider, “Uncle Ray’s Dystopia”, New York Times, June 8, 2012

We particularly approve of Kreider’s concluding words:

“It is thanks to Ray Bradbury that I understand this world I grew into for what it is: a dystopian future. And it is thanks to him that we know how to conduct ourselves in such a world: arm yourself with books. Assassinate your television. Go for walks, and talk with your neighbors. Cherish beauty; defend it with your life. Become a Martian.”

To this we add: listen to inspiring music—and make your own.

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