Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fahrenheit 451: A 21st Century Reaction, Upon Rereading

Several thoughts. First, and least serious, is that Clarisse is Guy Montag's Manic Pixie Dream GirlTM, the youthful, vivacious female archetype whose function as a plot device is to spur a male protagonist's awakening from depression and torpor, as with Trillian and Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Second, Bradbury's breathless, colorful writing competes well for his readers' presumed short attention spans, and might even fare well versus the spectacular domestic entertainment appliance that covers three walls of Mildred Montag's living room. Related, Bradbury's prognostications of said short attention span devices, penned in 1951, not only came true but leapfrogged past the television age into the Internet and virtual reality. He nailed the unwillingness -- or even inability -- of the domestic population to engage civically rather than distract itself with various software and circuses; chillingly, his gloomy predictions have found their full flower in today's seemingly endless cycle of optional wars.

So far, so good, with an A+ for threat recognition; but then Bradbury loses points for the third act's toehold in the academic conceit that the cultural blueprint to reconstitute a post-apocalyptic world can be carried in the heads of classics scholars and their fellow travelers. A room full of white-shirted Isaac Asimov readers taking recreational respite from lab duty might buy that as a nifty parable, but as speculation, it stretches the rubber band beyond the breaking point.

It does, however, give a new meaning to the phrase, "You read me like a book."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cheesy Four-Line Poem

Thro' edam'pest night with wind and brie's
Amber't a muensters' caravane on stilton
The goudamm feta'd stench displease --

Best rennet ye, an' sbrinz wi' yer kilt on!


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