Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Title:  Fahrenheit 451

Author:  Ray Bradbury

Paperback:  191 pages

Date published:  1953

Publisher:  Del Rey (div of Random House)

ISBN:  9780345342966

Miscellaneous:  This book was first published in 1953, and has since won the National Book Award and the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award.  The copy I have is a 50th anniversary edition, and has an interview with Bradbury in the back of the book.

“With schools turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.  You always dread the unfamiliar.  Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him.  And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours?  Of course it was.  We must all be alike.  Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal.  Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.  So!  A book is a loaded gun in the house next door.  Burn it.  Take the shot from the weapon.  Breach man’s mind.  Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?  Me?  I won’t stomach them for a minute.  And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world… there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes.  They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior:  official censors, judges, and executors.  That’s you, Montag, and that’s me….  You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred.  Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all?  People want to be happy, isn’t that right?  Haven’t you heard it all your life?  I want to be happy, people say.  Well, aren’t they?  Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun?  That’s all we live for, isn’t it?  For pleasure, for titillation?  And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these….  Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo.  Burn it.  White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Burn it.  Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs?  The cigarette people are weeping?  Burn the book.  Serenity, Montag.  Peace, Montag.  Take your fight outside….  Burn all, burn everything.  Fire is bright and fire is clean.”

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, pages 58-60 (emphasis added)

In the first line of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury,  Guy Montag tells us, “It was a pleasure to burn.”  Guy is a fireman who loves setting fires and watching things undergo change via the flames.  He aims his firehose and sprays the kerosene over the contents of a house and lights the match.  A permanent smile is plastered to his face from the hundreds and hundreds of fires he’s set over the ten years he has spent in service to his city.  Life for Montag is good and makes sense.

Then a series of events occur that rocks his world.  He meets Clarisse McClellen, who is “seventeen and crazy” as she says.  She’s been labeled “anti-social” for asking “why?” instead of “how?” and for wanting to connect to people instead of merely co-existing with them.  She likes to go on hikes and collect butterflies, and is forced to see a psychiatrist for such odd behaviours.  Clarisse’s innocent questions and simple, romantic views on life awakens some long-comotosed awareness in Montag’ssoul.  With the question, “Are you happy?” Guy is forced to re-evaluate himself and the world around him.  His wife attempts suicide, then goes on pretending it had happened and, in fact, refusing to believe Guy. 

The crisis moment for Montag happens when he’s at a house to burn and the older woman chooses to set herself on fire with her books, rather than leaving them.  He is forced to question whether it is morally right to destroy something of such value that people are willing to die for them.  And if such an act is wrong, what can he, MUST he, do about it?

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradburywill have to go on my top 10 list… just not sure which book to bump for it.  First off, I love dystopic books, it’s probably my favorite genre.  My definition of Dytopia is:  Someone’s Utopia is another’s HELL.  Second, Fahrenheit 451 speaks to the time it was written, but also has something to say to future generations of readers.  It’s a cautionary tale of a possible future, barely imaginable when he wrote it nearly 60 years ago, and frighteningly close to life today.  And as I read this, I couldn’t help but feel we did not listen to the warning.

For instance, when Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, wallscreen and battery operated televisions weren’t around.  Black and white television itself was in its infancy, but the love of Mrs. Montag’s life is her parlor wallscreens that allow her to be surrounded by her “family”, virtually live and in color.  A device allows the people on the shows to insert her name and even look like they’re saying it.  A device called a Seashell is worn in the ear, and allows a person to hear music, without disturbing those around them, and Mildred Montagwears hers so often that she’s become a proficient lip-reader.  I immediately thought of MP3 players… Sam wears hers so much that she had a meltdown the other day when I told her she couldn’t take it to church with her.

Truly, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was prophetic.  The society found in within the pages of the book bear a lot of similarities with our culture today.  Disconnected from one another, they/we go about with our devices in our ears (Seashell, MP3 player, cell phone, etc) and no longer take the time for conversations with our neighbors and others we meet in passing, and if we do happen to “chat,” it’s shallower than a pie pan. 

They/we are so afraid of offending others that the thought police (Firemen or Political Correctness) have made it socially unacceptable, and in some cases  criminal, to express ourselves, even monitoring our own self-talk.  Free speech?  HA!  Congress is doing everything they can to eliminate that little inconvenience.

They/we are so obsessed with instant gratification that they/we no longer want to take the time to think about what they/we read, to let it distill in our souls.  So books are flatter and more “pastepudding,” as Bradbury calls it, and the average person is no longer able to read and comprehend a newspaper article… not that they actually have the patience to read a whole one, just the headline and first paragraph, then onto the funnies (and even they are getting too long).  Supermarket tabloids, Harlequin romance novels, car and sports magazines are the only books found in some homes, and to be “intelligent” is to be reviled.

I don’t say this often, if I’ve ever said it at all, but Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a MUST READ.  It should be taught in schools and read every year.  Oddly enough, this book was actually challenged as part of a school curriculum… A parent wanted to ban a book that is a warning against book banning!  How ironic.  

Obviously, I give Fahrenheit 451 5 out of 5 stars.  READ IT!

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Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbank

Title:  Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank:  And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom

Author:  Celia Rivenbark

Hardback:  262 pages

Date Published:  September 2006

PublisherSt. Martin’s Press

ISBN:  9780312339937

When my daughter announced her class was taking a field trip, I involuntarily shrieked “No!” but then had to realize that it was doubtful the kindergarten classes were going to prison or the dookie factory.

Indeed, it was the zoo.  This would be safe and fun, I thought.  Animals frolicking – what could go wrong?

Well, for starters, the baboon, who was frankly obsessed with amorous activities that didn’t require a partner.

“What’s he doing?” a few of the kids asked.

My husband, who was the only man who had come along to chaperone, decided he would deal with this question, and deal with it he did.

“That’s just the traditional baboon way of waving hello,” he said, sounding remarkably poised and knowledgeable.

“Oh,” a little boy in the class said.  “Should we wave back?”

“Oh, God no.”

Next up:  the “desert habitat” where an ancient camel proceeded to amuse the children by leaning down to eat his own shit.  Without even moving his legs, the giraffe savored every bite as if it were the Christmas ham.

Oooh, icky gross! I think I’m gonna hurl!

“It’s just nature,” said one of the kids, trying to comfort my husband.

Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark, pages 53-54

I first heard about Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark on the April Books Brought Home Library Thing thread (the discussion starts going around message 174).  It created quite a stir, as everyone passed around their “bad parents and monstrous children” horror stories.  With the conversations circulating, as well as it’s hilarious-but-shocking title, I knew I wanted to read this book.  So I clicked on over to BookMooch, entered the title in the search bar, and voila! mooched the only copy available. 

When it arrived in the mail on Saturday, I cracked open the book and just glanced at the title of the first chapter:  There’s Always Tomorrow(land):  “If You Really Loved Me, You’d Buy Me Pal Mickey”.   The chapter’s about Celia planning and taking her family to Disney World.  Before I realized it, I was at the end of the chapter, ripped envelope still in my lap, and bladder barely holding its ground after all the laughter.  The whole book is like that, and you just about have to tear the book from your hands to put it down to make dinner, sleep or even go to the bathroom (okay, I admit it… Celia went there, too).

With the charm of a Southern Belle, and a snarky, sarcastic wit, Miss Celia expresses all that it is to be a mother/wife/career woman/person with the sense God gave a goose in this day and age.  She tells of her experience trying to buy size 7 clothes for her six-year-old, and only finding outfits that’d make a Vegas showgirl feel naked.  Later, she points out that grown women in character-embossed clothes need to grow up, which points out the Topsy-turvy nature of the American culture today:  Children dressing like sexually mature adults and grown-ups dressing like school kids at play.

Each chapter’s title both encompasses its contents, while being surprising and tongue-in-cheek.  A few examples of this are:

  • Yo Yo Yo!  Where Can a Sista Get a Cowgirl Outfit?:  Holidays Make This Mama Wanna Get in Your Grille
  • Weary Mom to Uppity Teens:  At Least I Know Where the Continent of Chile Is
  • Field Trip, Fornification, and a Shit-Eating Giraffe:  Who Says School Can’t Be Fun?
  • Montel’s Smoking Weed:  (But Will He Share With Sylvia the Psychic?)
  • Reality Bites:  Super Skanks Lewinsky and Hilton Are Fun to Watch, but Those 100-Pound Toddlers Rule!
  • The Butcher’s Great, the Baker’s Suffering:  But How Is the Anti-Carb Frenzy Affecting the Candlestick Maker?
  • The Paradoxical Male:  Smart Enough to Find “Me Time,” but Dumb Enough to Get Stuck Buying the Tampons
  • If It Ain’t On eBay, It Ain’t Worth Having:  (Whoa!  Is That Willie Nelson’s Face in Your Grits?)
  • Politicians Serve Up McValues:  (With Extra Cheese on the Side)

Amidst the humor and anecdotes, Rivenbark manages to slip in facts and evidence that support her position, but  you’re too busy laughing and enjoying her company to realize “Hey, there’s serious journalism going on here!”

I enjoyed Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark  immensely, and am going to buy a new copy from Amazon and have it shipped to my mom for Mother’s Day (don’t tell her, or you’ll ruin the surprise!).  All the way through, I could just hear my mom’s voice in Rivenbark, and I know she’ll enjoy it as much as I did.  While the book won’t stay with me as far as remembering specifics, the feeling of fun and laughter will live on, and I’m sure that when I re-read this review a year from now, I’ll remember specifics in the chapters mention, and laugh again.  For the joy it’s given me and will give to my mom and myself in the future, I give Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark 4 iout of 5 Krispy Kreme donuts 😀

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In this video clip, Celia Rivenbark opens up a book signing by reading an anecdote in an email from a friend.

Viral Video Wednesday ~ What’s Ur Sub?

Happy Wednesday Everybody 😀 Today’s VVW is all about the subs.

I’m not talking about “What’s long, hard and full of seaman?” I mean subscriptions. To what YouTube channels do you subscribe? What videos made you subscribe to them? What’s their current video?

Here are mine:

asathecomic has a strange, but hilarious sense of humor. He’s easy on the eyes, I might add. Often his videos are social commentary, but he can also sing.

The first Asa video I watched and the one that got me to sub his channel is “7 Youtube ‘Don’ts!’ – STOP IT!!!!!!!!” It’s probably the video that introduced me to the idea of viral videos in the first place. If you like VVW, thank Asa… if ya don’t… 😀

His current featured video is “We Make YouTube – [Eminem – We Made You SPOOF]” which oddly kind of calls back to the previously video. He does a lot of other stuff too, I promise.. lol. While writing this, Asa made a new vid Dragonball Evolution Sucks?!? (FAN REVIEW), but I didnt’ feel like rewriting this.

Cory “Mr. Safety” Williams, owner of smpfilms channel, looks like Sylar from Heroes, I swear! I have featured his videos on past VVWs, including the first video I saw, Mean Kitty, and the Numa Numa parody. I’m not sure if I subbed for the Mean Kitty music video, or if it was one of the “how to deal with Sparta” vids, so I’ll share the one with the Witch Doctor, because it cracks ME UP!

The channel’s feature vid is called “What Goes Up…” and Cory gives the following description for it:

If you’re not of a fan of my “artsy” videos, don’t worry… I’ve got a dumb one coming right up! Tony and I had fun with this video and we hope you do too : )

Of course, there is FRED. Fred, the eternally four-year-old boy with an alcoholic mother, enprisoned father, and a C-Span watching grandma, who has a crush on Judy (she hates him) and a problem with a bullly named Kevin. Fred has an anger problem and a YouTube stalker, he takes medication, ran for class president, ran from Kevin, sleeps with the cat with rabies and thinks the neighbor’s pekingese dogs are squirrels. I love FRED! He was also recently on i-Carly, where we got to see the real guy behind Fred, or rather… got to hear his real voice.

Fred goes to the Dentist was probably the video that made me subscribe. His voice, his screams, the idea of his mother… lol… I hit the yellow sub button before I even knew it!

Fred’s newest video is a Thank You vid for reaching a million subscribers. BTW, for those who might not know…. Fred is the #1 sub channel of all time 🙂

My first time seeing Tony “The Wine Kone” Huyen was actually with him in a YourTubeNEWS video segmant called the WTF Factor. I laughed so hard, and had to go and look up TWK himself and subscribe.

His featured video is a Q & A with him. Here’s the description:

Do you have a burning question you need answered? Ask away on Twitter or here or wherever. It could be YOU who I call an idiot next!

 

Probably, by far the most disturbing channel I subscribed to is Mr. Pregnant’s. I actually have to admit that the following video was one of the very first videos I ever saw on the Internet (I had a long period of time with no ISP in which YouTube and a lot of other things happened). AND I first saw it on Grouper, before I had even heard of YouTube. Apparently, though, due to copyrights on the song, the original video has been pulled from YouTube. It was originally made with the song “Big Girls Don’t Cry”.

Kinda sux now… not even half as funny as the original, but such is life.

I had messed up on the copy/paste and put the same vid as above here, so I went back to grab the right one. But now there doesn’t seem to be a MrPregnant feat vid, so here’s the one that pops up on my YouTube home page for him:

Before I knew he was on YouTube, I was subscribed to Mark Day‘s video blog at MySpace. Mark Day is originally from Scotland and lives in San Francisco. He’s a social commentator with an interestingly twisted view of things. Plus, he’s Scottish… and if it isn’t Scottish, it’s CRAP!

My first experience watching Mark was at some random video site, which made me check him out on MySpace, which then sent me to his YouTube channel to which I subscribed. This is that video WARNING: Video contains adult content:

I messed up putting Mr.Pregnant’s correct current video in this post, putting it over Mark Day’s current feature video. So when I went to grab Mark’s current vid’s code, I found he had a new one up. So here it is. I’ll warn you, though, it does have some offensive material in it.

Red State Update is another of those MySpace-YouTube crossovers. Hailing from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Travis and Johnathon, aka Jackie and Dunlap, are a comedy team providing politcal satire for the masses. Conservative and Republican, they’ve also appeared on CNN during the ’08 campaign offering their YouTube question. Dunlap is a total goof, who opens his mouth and inserts both feet with politically incorrect statements, while Jackie is a grumpy (but loveable) old man who tries to maintain some amount of respect, grunting in between swigs of beer and puffs on his cigarette.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what the first video I saw was. I watch them regularly, though less often of late. So I’ll give you my all-time favorite RSU video. Last year, Dunlap was promoting Jackie Broyles for President, to which Jackie vehemently denied his candidacy. His refusals did NOT stop Dunlap, however, and the following is one of those campaign vids. I actually have this video memorized…

Their current featured video is a bit strange for them…. Dunno if I like it very much, but it’s okay… The description says:

Non-actors Billy Bob Thornton and Joaquin Phoenix share laughs, swap stories, and discuss tricks of the trade in this enlightening one-on-one.

I guess I’m sub’d to more channels than that, but I think my kids have done some of the subbing…. lol… I’m thekoolaidmom at YouTube, too, if you wanted to see what all I’m doing there. One of these days I’ll get a cam and make some of my own videos.

So, You’re turn…. What channels do you subscribe to? What video made you click the sub button? What’s your fav of theirs? What’s their current featured video? Leave a comment sharing your vids or, better yet, blog it and leave the link so I can check your VVW out 😀