Bradbury: "Fahrenheit 451 isnt' about censorship"

“Bradbury, a man living in the creative and industrial center of reality TV and one-hour dramas, says it is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.”


I remember various debates I had in high school about how while I thought 1984 and Brave New World were far better written than Fahrenheit 451 that I found the latter’s vision of the future to be more likely since I believe when society collapses to a dystopian state of anti-learning and censorship it will be because the people demand it of the government in order to shirk their own responsibility (eg. “won’t someone think of the children” arguments).

Melville always thought MOBY DICK was a book about whaling, too.

Some of us think we’re already there.

Stories about authors saying that everyone misunderstands reminds me of uh… “Back to School”, iirc?, the Rodney Dangerfield movie where he turns in a paper about the works of Kurt Vonnegut that he had Kurt Vonnegut write for him and gets an F.

Flunk me? Hey, Kurt, can you read lips, flunk you! Next time I’ll call Robert Ludlum!

I recall Bradbury being leery of television in some other works as well, calling it the “Big Blue Eye” and such.

Literature is full of underlying themes that its authors either don’t see or refuse to acknowledge. Like the Patriot Act, for example.

You all are dim. Bradbury saying that Fahrenheit 451 isn’t about censorship is like Faulkner saying that A Rose for Emily isn’t about necrophilia.

I didn’t read the book as part of a class assignment. When I originally read it, I must admit that the censorship in the novel seemed to me to be a side-effect of a culture that had rejected intellectual values.

Also, ideas expressed by books weren’t being censored; it was the books themselves that were being burned.

I have to agree with Bradbury in this. I think the people in charge of interpreting his work missed the point. It’s a good example of how a seemingly reasonable idea gets repeated without proper examination – which is ironically a consequence of the very kind of society he condemns in the book.

It’s the movie that seems to make the censorship stand out. Most people haven’t read the book…Bradbury was right.

Any first year English Lit. student can tell you F-451 isn’t about censorship. But most people are not taught to think critically, to apply an analysis, so they just repeat the most popular script: F-451 is about censorship! The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is about Christianity! The Godfather Part II is about Marxism!

For a guy who thinks television and film is such a bad thing, there sure is a lot of shows and movies with his name in the credits.

Yea, they were just burning them because they liked the pretty flames.

Are you going to turn down free money? If you will, just accept and send me the signed check.

I think he actually wrote some of those scripts…it’s not just licensing. Bradbury had his own series (perhaps more than one…can’t remember). I might not turn down free money, but I wouldn’t do something I considered immoral or socially irresponsible for money.

Oh…that is different. Well they say money is the root of all evil. Hehe. But yeah, boo on him if he just contributed to the problem.

Could it be possible that the loss of intellectual pursuits in society is what led to a greater ability of the “elite” to censor? Maybe, just maybe?

Am I correct in recalling that in the book, for example, the fire captain clearly had read the material, suggesting that those in power had the knowledge, and were keeping it from those without power under the guise that they were better off that way?

Considering the book begins with Montag reveling in that very thing, that’s certainly one reason for it. They didn’t -have- to burn the books to destroy them.

The primary reason for destroying the books was not for the ideas in the books, but because the books promoted thought. Bradbury says you can argue with a book, throw it across the room if you don’t like it; you can’t argue with a giant full-color TV; it drowns you out.