Daniel Flynn expounds on Ray Bradbury’s retrofuturism and outcast persona in an article posted today. A science fiction writer that railed against technology’s dehumanizing effects, an intellectual dismissed by the literary elite as the “poet of the pulps,” and a futurist whose utopia was small-town life circa 1920, Bradbury’s life was a mess of contradictions but nonetheless, Flynn writes, his work holds lessons for us today.
The obvious reading of Fahrenheit 451 reveals a story about censorship. This view lends itself to competing left-right interpretations, making Fahrenheit 451 the unique politically charged book that transcends the controversies of its day and finds welcome in conflicting political camps. Is it about McCarthyism or political correctness? The flexibility of political readings helps explain the 5 million copies in print. But the more subtle and important theme involves passive entertainment displacing the life of the mind. It is less about right-left than about smart-stupid.
Full story here.