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10lees

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Nov 16, 2009, 6:58:23 PM11/16/09
to Readers Anonymous
First topic: beginning page 55 (in my version, but just so we all
know it is early in the novel), Beatty stops by to speak with Montag
because he is 'sick' and hasn't reported to work. They engage in a
discussion and Beatty explains why books are burned. What struck you
most about the conversation? What does this lend to the theme of the
book overall?

What struck me the most was the idea of serenity. Everybody has an
opinion or a point of view, and many times the reason we read a book
is to gain appriciation of a different point of view. However, Beatty
states 'Color people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White
people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it.' and so on.
It really struck me because I feel our society is so afraid of
offending anybody. I would say that our culture is because (dare i
use the term?) white-washed... or beige-washed possibly. We wouldn't
want to offend so everything must be neutral. How fast will we lose
our history? We can't talk about things that might offend and much of
history is offensive. Other people's opinions may be offensive as
well, do you think Mr Darcy would've approved of Eliza's view of him?
He would've burned that book, right?

The dumbness, idiocy, of the populace horrified me as well. But
perhaps I will touch on that in the next post...

Jessica Boger

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Nov 18, 2009, 11:30:37 AM11/18/09
to speedreade...@googlegroups.com
Okay -- a bit stream of consciousness here.  sorry about that --- I have 20 mins before the baby wakes up...

I think the conversation with Beatty-Granger is taken in two different lights.  First, there is "the company line get on board, we do this for the good of the people, don't worry, this isn't by the government -- the people asked for this" view -- which is interesting.  It ties to be effective at soothing and making Granger feel comfortable with what he is doing... people want this, we help them.  There is an underlying sinister threat of course.  One of the things that I dislike about government is the "let's save people from themselves" laws, but this book makes me think maybe helmet laws are actually a good things. :)  We talk about wanting to be judged by a jury of our peers, but do we really want that?  Think of the young girl 9can't look up her name) and her life.  How do we define our peers?  The USSC is supposed to protect the minorities from persecution by the majority, but what about when the opposite is true, as Beatty was inferring. I think that assumptions about Beatty change when you consider, later, that Granger says he thinks Beatty wanted to die.  How does that statement readjust the perspective on Beatty's rants and quotes.

I think that what people wanted wasn't peace, or at least it was clear that wasn't what they were getting.  They were trying to purge from themselves one of the things that make us unique as humans -- the ability to plan and contemplate.   The emotions people were feeling were very primitive and " in the moment."  Adrenaline rush, anger, pleasure.  Very immediate.  Very animal.  Since this is a future population, that paradox is intriguing.  The question of what makes up happy is hard -- many of those tv drones seemed happy. Or at least content, but Bradbury is clearly trying to argue (with Millie's attempted suicide) that you can't be happy unless you are thinking.  Does that fit with Farber's list of three things needed for change/happiness/etc.?

Also, I think it is interesting to look at how eerily like our culture today this story has become.  Reality TV, 24 hour media, ear buds :), etc, etc.  Much more so than many other books.

JB


From: 10lees <10l...@gmail.com>
To: Readers Anonymous <speedreade...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Mon, November 16, 2009 6:58:23 PM
Subject: Time to begin the discussion!
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dr gonzo

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Nov 19, 2009, 4:23:50 PM11/19/09
to Readers Anonymous
jessica, you touched on my thoughts, exactly, about today's media
needs. it's all shiny-happy-new, glitz n'glamor, perez hilton gossip
and slander, immediate distraction. however, i think part of the
reason we're in this mind set nowadays is our economy. before the
fall, we were all about indulging in The Best of everything. we wanted
to see where celebs lived and how we could (cheaply) make our homes
look the same way. we wanted to know how they acted and how we could
mimic. since celebs arent really the most in-depth individuals on the
planet, our role models dictated that we enjoy fashion and food and
pretty vacation spots. immediate gratification.

after the fall of the economy, we are practically dying to keep a hold
of those dreams. escapism is key. but - unlike back in the depression
era, we dont turn to books and radio and family for escapism. we go to
what's familiar - the quick and the empty. it's vapid so we crave
more. more more more.... it just grows. so that scene where montag
describes what his wife is actually doing with that sensory equipment
is effing scary. to me, it's scary cuz it rings true! i can totally
see us wanting equipment like this. we practically DO have it! Wii,
anyone?

and on the idea of "serenity," i think bradbury does a good job of
characterizing the issues. to those of us who pay attention to the
news and laws, it appears that we are beige-washing (excellent term,
10!). we are working to make everything on par - equal rights for all.
however, i dont think this will ever be ultimately successful. i dont
really think we can fear this ultimate horror bradbury is portraying.
inherently, we're free thinkers. but, if you want a laugh, please do
go watch "idiocracy". ;o)

anyway... i am enjoying the book and its romantic take on this
horrific world. it's so pretty - the language is incongruous with the
stasis of the people. if everything is so cut and dry, how can Montag
have such amazingly poetic thoughts? i realize it's not all his
thoughts, but i would argue that we're supposed to believe this is how
he thinks. cant wait to see where we're going with this...
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