Ray Bradbury on Censorship

Moderators: Jason, Toothy, Tonyblack

Ray Bradbury on Censorship

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:07 pm

I recently read and enjoyed Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I'm sure you all know what it's about, but in case you don't, it's about a time in the future when books are illegal. TV is full of mindless reality shows and people are told what to think.

The story tells of a Fire Man named Montag. But firemen in the future don't put out fires, they set them. They root out hidden catches of books and burn them.

Anyhow, at the end of the book is a short essay by Bradbury about censorship, political correctness and the destruction of books. This was written in 1979, but if anything, I think it's just as valid today as ever.

Coda by Ray Bradbury.

There are more ways to burn a book than setting fire to it.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29318
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby poohcarrot » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:46 pm

Interesting stuff. :P
I've read the book but don't remember seeing that before. :?

Small Gods reminded me a bit of Fahrenheit 451.

Fahrenheit 451, for those who haven't read it, is the temperature at which paper burns. And it gave its name to Fahrenheit 911 (Micahel Moore) - the "temperature" at which the "truth" burns. (But I'm sure you all knew that)
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:20 pm

Even with reliably unaltered, totally uneditted books, we filter out the stuff we have no use for ourselves and focus on what appeals to or works for us. Don't we? How do people accept the more rabid and smallest, most idiotic parts of the OT verbatim when the NT contradicts it more than adequately and far more plainly. Who knows how many revisions of the books in the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelations is still 'authentic' in any way at all. It's not - for a start it can't be as much of the OT is patently taken from oral traditions and that immediately blows the fundies miles out of the water because those passage are from long before the people who knew how to tell stories could write at all - that happened well over 6000 years ago in what's now mostly Iraq. But 'of course' those were people who shouldn't have been around at all as there was nobody to write about them! :roll: :evil:

No book should be edited past it's final proofing/translation (which latter also allows for sneaky edits in the hands of the unscrupulous, lazy or just plain dumb). No book should be burned for philsophic or cultural reasons. Not the Bible or the Qu'ran or the Torah. Not even Mein Kampf.

People learn from books, even books that are evil. You don't have to burn them, because you can choose to not read them at all, or ignore what they say if you do. But if you do burn them, or outlaw them, or publicly declare that everyone else ignore their message then that says more about you than the book or it's author. Books are thoughts in the end. Precious ones. You can burn the book, but you can't do that the best thoughts, because they will eventually find another 'voice'.

I've never read Fahrenheit 451 (or 911) but I have read Ray Bradbury and admire him - if anyone 'burned' any of his books then it would be a tragedy.
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10633
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:47 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:I've never read Fahrenheit 451 (or 911) but I have read Ray Bradbury and admire him - if anyone 'burned' any of his books then it would be a tragedy.
Really well worth checking out 451. It's very relevant today - possibly more so than when he wrote it.

Incidentally, the thing about paper burning at 451° F is wrong - it's actually 450° C. Bradbury later said that he was going by what a fireman had told him. He also, apparently, wasn't happy that Michael Moore spoofed his title as Moore didn't get permission.

I agree with you Jan. The only person who should make changes to a book, once it is published, should be the writer.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29318
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Re: Ray Bradbury on Censorship

Postby deldaisy » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:57 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I recently read and enjoyed Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I'm sure you all know what it's about, but in case you don't, it's about a time in the future when books are illegal. TV is full of mindless reality shows and people are told what to think.

The story tells of a Fire Man named Montag. But firemen in the future don't put out fires, they set them. They root out hidden catches of books and burn them.

Anyhow, at the end of the book is a short essay by Bradbury about censorship, political correctness and the destruction of books. This was written in 1979, but if anything, I think it's just as valid today as ever.

Coda by Ray Bradbury.

There are more ways to burn a book than setting fire to it.

There was a movie made too about the book. Made in 1966 and starred Julie Christie.

I collected most of Ray Bradbury's works once............. if not all......... :cry: I even had the original Galaxy copy of Fireman that the book was based on :cry: :cry: :cry:
The Collective Brain: The synoptic serendipity that comes when interesting thoughts from interesting and interested people get together. And the whole is always more than the sum of its parts.
User avatar
deldaisy
Member
 
Posts: 8032
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:04 pm

Yes indeed - I saw the movie version many years ago.

I'm not sure whether it'll ever happen, but Mel Gibson was supposed to be doing a remake. I'm not sure how good that would be. Mel's not known his cinematic genius. :?
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29318
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:06 pm

Ok - I got the facts a bit wrong in that last post. This is possibly more accurate.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29318
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:45 pm

I think book to movie deals are rather suspect anyway as an unwritten rule. How many classics like Wuthering Heights and Pride & Prejudice get completely mashed and overwritten in their first 'adaptations' - a much better and accurate description. :lol: I'm thinking of the late 1930s/early 1940s starring Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet which are complete abortions of the books, although they're nice enough stories if you forget the originals.

To get contemporary, I'd say that possibly the earlier HP films were good examples of what's been the best transposed from page to screen, but then JKR is the ultimate doyenne of franchise milking, so there's a lesson there in that you always retain as much script and casting control as possible. :P

LotR is possibly a more sensible example since there was definite tweaking with the plot, but the screenplay was extremely skilful adapted and sculpted in places to mitigate some of the more disgraceful excursions, the worst of which are (arguably, but don't because we'll be here for hours - arguing :lol: ) having Arwen suddenly elevated to the numbers of the Calaquendi (the Nazgul would have minced her) :roll: and chopping the Scouring of the Shire out altogether - after filming the bloody sequences and putting them (properly) in Galadriel's mirror-cum-bird-bath for the visions that were supposed to be seen by Sam (who didn't get a look in for that scene in the movie) :evil:

Sometimes it's necessary to alter swathes of pages so it doesn't get in the way of the story/dramatisation. So the Tom Bombadil part in the first part of FotR is mostly superfluous and isn't at all relevent to the core story so even most experts don't quibble too much at that part being left out (although I'd have loved to see Billy Boyd getting eaten by a tree! :twisted: ).

Visuals are different I guess - words that work on the page don't always make it onto the screen so well (even with CGI being so good these days) for some reason, especially when the words are so ingrained and well-beloved by the bookworms. :?
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10633
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby deldaisy » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:54 pm

When my bookworm daughter who is now 23 was about 7, we were watching an article on TV about the latest teaching style to come in in our schools. They start on picture books and the kids have to look at the pictures to guess at the words. hmmmmmm.

They were debating the pros and cons of pictures and images GIVEN to a reader as opposed to a book with purely words.

Even at 7, she said: "I like books without pictures in them Mum. Then I get to see the REAL book in my head!" :D :D
The Collective Brain: The synoptic serendipity that comes when interesting thoughts from interesting and interested people get together. And the whole is always more than the sum of its parts.
User avatar
deldaisy
Member
 
Posts: 8032
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:02 pm

In the story of Fahrenheit 451, all that's available to read is a sort of comic book with pictures. :shock:
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29318
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby BaldFriede » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:52 pm

Hawkwind made a song about the book. Here the lyrics:

In Lexington they're going to burn
The Library of Congress for charity
Round it's funeral pyre the flames will churn
As night and winter's darkness spurn
And threaten with their clarity, ah ha
See the flames they're burning up
Burning so bright, it's Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
The fun has just begun, of Fahrenheit 451

Oh see the pages all catching fire
See the building shimmering now
It was like this when witches reared
Against the stake, we stood and peered
At such Aladdin's caves of air
I wish you could have seen us there
Spreading all around that funeral pyre
Watching the flames burn higher and higher
Fahrenheit 451,
Fahrenheit 451
The fun has just begun, of Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451, Fahrenheit 451
The fun has just begun
Of Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451, Fahrenheit 451
The burning has just begun
It's like a mushroom cloud on the sun

The fire's fierce theatre draws herds of folk
All willing to be hypnotised
Anemones of flames and smoke
Enchant us so we gladly choke on
Fahrenheit 451, Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
The burning has just begun
Of Fahrenheit 451


And here a YouTube link to the song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlcL_UonRig

And of course Francois Truffaut made a movie of it, starring Oscar Werner as Monttag and Julie Christie in a double-role as his wife and as the girl who brings him to the book people.

And then I want to cite the grat German poet Heinrich Heine: "Da wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" ("Where they burn books they will finally burn people too"):
Last edited by BaldFriede on Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
BaldFriede
Member
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:14 pm
Location: Cologne, Germany

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:05 pm

That's where I first experienced the story - the Truffaut movie. I must get it on DVD one of these days. :D
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29318
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales


Return to Non-Discworld books

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest