Thanks to my book club I have just read Fahrenheit 451 (Flamingo Modern Classics) by Ray Bradbury. It is awesome. I recognise I am not alone in thinking this as many people have read and appreciate this dystopian novel. It depicts a not so distant America where books are prohibited and the general population tune in to shallow entertainment that anaesthetises from real life. The main character, a fireman who burns the books, is awakened from his sleep. He loses everything, but lives to activate change. Although written in 1953 it is prescient and disturbing. I feel somewhat depressed I never found it before, but exhilarated by the discovery of it.
Many questions and imaginings arise from the book. The quote above was only one of several I found striking. If I looked long and hard at society what would I see?
I chose two things:
- A society that ruthlessly judges others. If someone has the courage to put their head above the parapet and say something different to perceived opinion, social media erupts into horrific abuse and people’s lives are often changed forever. An example is Gina Miller, the person who took Brexit to court. She triggered the wrath of the tabloids, received death threats, harassment and racial abuse. A woman driven by a genuine sense of responsibility towards a country she loves. ‘Hate-filled abuse is poisoning Britain. I fought it and ask you to do the same | Gina Miller’ https://buff.ly/2i9b6VL
- A society that allows its plumb line of sexuality to be the entertainment and advertising industry and pornography. I taught briefly young troubled teenage boys 2008/9 excluded from every school they had attended. My school, specifically for such children, was their last chance to gain any qualification. The pornography they watched on their phones was appalling. Their treatment of myself and other women in the school, dismissive, disrespectful and demeaning. Apart from disallowing phones during the school day there was nothing to be done to stop their daily diet. Does pornography damage? I believe so. ‘Friends’, that series we all loved so long ago actively endorsed pornography. When Joey, Chandler and Ross needed cheering up pornography was an answer which the women thoughtfully provided. When, by chance, it was streamed free on Joey’s tv it was celebrated and never switched off. It was an underlying theme in the series which I missed. “Friends” The One with the Free Porn (TV Episode 1998) https://buff.ly/2wjXJrs What do we allow to teach us subliminally?