>…Now What, Mr. Bradbury???

>I have a massive collection of books. I put the best ones on a shelf in my living room for easy access. You never know when you may need a chapter of The Princess Bride, or a few pages of Fight Club to get you through the night. But a couple nights ago, I made an incredible discovery. On this shelf, stuck between a book of quotations and a self-help book was a small paperback copy of Farhenheit 451. Not that strange, I’m sure. It’s a wildly popular book. Read in classrooms around the country. Quoted by cynical hipsters sipping latte’s in chain coffee shops world-wide. Here’s the climatic (dum dum dum) part…I HAD NEVER READ IT!!! There it sat, looking desperate. Unbent, intact. Not the least bit worn and fingerprint smudged. None of the signs of a well-loved book. I had to do something about it.
So I put my daughter to bed, popped the top on a can of Mountain Dew (Kira Crack) and started the journey. It was about 1am. When I next glanced at the time it was 4am and I was a cynical, world-hating creature with an agenda. I realized we have reached this point. We might as well burn all of our books. No one is reading them anymore. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or scream or get naked. (get naked is always an option, no matter the situation)
So…Here is my first post. I’m angry. I’m mad. I’M FREAKIN’ PISSED OFF!!!
Thanks to facebook, myspace, email, text, digital cameras, etc…we have ruined what life is about. Let me elaborate on my elaborations here…
Facebook = Hell. Thanks to facebook I can easily check up on my “friends” and see what they’re up too without every having to speak to them. Of course, I can “Like” their status, or leave a witty comment…but that is NOT real communication. Social networking sites are giving us the illusion of socializing without us ever having to actually socialize.
Texting gives you that same feeling. You’re talking to someone. You’re being a part of the world. You have friends. But really, you don’t. It’s a breakdown of the human language. Small talk has been murdered and I’m putting technology on trial for the killing. It’s so easy just to text a quick question, get a quick reply, and go on doing whatever it is you’re doing.
Cellphones were supposed to make communicating easier. And they did! You could talk to anyone, on the go! Then we got texting…then smartphones. Now, I can pull out my blackberry, check my facebook, giggle at status messages, send out a quick text and feel like I’ve actually accomplished some form of conversation. *SCREAM*
Television…socializing with people who aren’t there and don’t talk back. I know the main characters of Scrubs better than I know some of my best friends.
and how about digital cameras??? (Yeah, I went there) Instead of enjoying an event, a party, etc…now we’re just spending out time taking pictures of life instead of living it. When we still had 35mm film cameras, eventually you ran out of exposures and put the camera down…then you enjoyed yourself! Cameras were for SPECIAL OCCASSIONS!!! Now, thanks to memory cards with 98 billion gigs, you save all your pointless photos and keep shooting until Jesus comes back. I went on a weekend vacation a while back and as I sit here thinking about this, I realize I have lots of great pictures from that weekend. But I don’t remember actually DOING a damn thing…except taking pictures.
So my point is…technology is killing us from the inside out. You don’t need an education or books. You have google. You don’t need to visit friends, just check out their updates. You don’t even need to live your own life, just take pictures of it. Mr. Bradbury was so close to the truth when he wrote that book in 1953 that it scares me.
and the worst part of all of this. The part that REALLY makes me angry, is that I am absolutely GUILTY of all accusations. I’m a facebooking, picture taking, texting, multi-tasking addict…
but you know what…I can still read a book.

Published by laura

I'm the author of two short story collections, a story cycle, and a collection of short memoirs. I am an educator, literary translator, journal editor, and writing coach.

4 thoughts on “>…Now What, Mr. Bradbury???

  1. >All this techno-babble is changing our brains — our neurons don't know what to pay attention to. Soon we won't know HOW to pay attention. And by that time, we won't even have enough brain (or maybe even heart) to know what we've lost.I agree — great post.

  2. >"You don't even need to live your own life, just take pictures of it." Wow. And make sure everyone is posed and wearing coordinating outfits. Absurdity, irony, and cynicism are your friends. I haven't read Bradbury either. Yes, we should make a list of all the good books that make us literarily healthy that we haven't read. I, myself, read the Mountain Dew of the literary world.

  3. >Wow, my list would be insanely long. The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice (though i did read the zombie version), War and Peace. My favorite thing to hear ever is…"Oh! There was a BOOK? I saw the movie!" Wow…Go You!

  4. >Wow, great post. We should have the society of Great Books We Never Read. God knows my list would be way long. And BTW: have you noticed the new chapter in March of The Morons? That's when, in real life, we find more and more people post reviews of books on Amazon that they openly admit they have not read!!!!

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