I can’t say this often enough. Books are banned in Ray Bradbury’s novel, “Fahrenheit 451,” but government censorship isn’t the point of the book. (Bradbury himself said so himself.) Censorship is merely a plot device to talk about what newer media are doing to the desire to read and understand literature. It was television when he wrote the book, but Bradbury would say the same things about the Internet today. It’s about people not being wanting the burden of having to think — and of them turning to mindless junk instead of anything worthwhile. It’s about people’s individual choices, not about the dangers of banning books. Bradbury said clearly that the culprit is the people, not the government. Clarisse McClellan’s family were used in the book to contrast thinkers from the rest of society. They weren’t out there fighting censorship. No, they were merely iconoclasts who had the good sense to talk and think about things that mattered, as opposed to almost everybody else — those who were entranced by the White Clown and his television friends. This book is more relevant than ever before, especially as social media consumes us and changes society for the worse. Please read the book. You might need it just as badly as I needed it when I first read it years ago.
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