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In which Hank discusses his feelings after the first parts of Fahrenheit 451, argues with John, and takes a bite out of a banana.

I worry that, since Ray Bradbury appears to think that all humanity can be stripped of people, that some people will assume that all humanity /has/ been stripped from people. In my discussions with people of all sorts, I have not found that to be even a little bit possible, no matter how much mindless entertainment they consume, or how averse they are to the idea of deep thinking.

I worry about the implications of dehumanizing an entire society. I also think that, as a SciFi novel, the culture itself isn't very well sketched out, but it is quite a short book, and maybe I should save that discussion for next time.


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A Bunny
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Good morning, John. As you know, I read books very differently from the way that you read books. I mostly think about what they do to me, not how they do it. I like to be inside of a story, and I feel like if I'm analyzing it all the time, then I'm not going to have the book do what it's supposed to do to me. Also, I get bugged by, like, little stupid things like auto-ignition temperatures. An auto-ignition temperature is the temperature at which something spontaneously bursts into flame without an ignition source. Burning something is not related to auto-ignition. Also, the auto-ignition temperature of paper is like 425 to 475 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on a bunch of things. It's complicated. Fire and burning and ignition, all of these things are very complicated, and to put like such a precise number, that's a lot of significant digits! That was a great example of an uninteresting way to talk about a book. But I have to be me, you know? So let's change the subject to Clarisse, who I think you were terribly unfair to, singling her out as an unrealistic character in a novel full of unrealistic characters. You, as someone who sort of professionally constructs fake teenagers, might be a little hyper-sensitive to it, but I like her. And what Clarisse really is, for me, is me. She's sort of like a fairly well-adjusted member of our culture that's placed into Montag's culture to give it a counterpoint. To open the door for Montag to our culture and also to open the door for us to Montag's culture, to see how weird it is. The important thing here is, though, that Montag has no idea how weird his society is. He's a well-adjusted member of his society and so when Clarisse starts asking these questions, he just is totally like disturbed and confused. That's how everybody reacts when you question their society, when you say, 'Why do you do this weird thing?' And every culture does weird things! You just don't see them when you're a part of that culture. Like you look and say, 'Aah those guys are so weird; they have bones in their noses, and they're singing songs about vagina monster gods!' And we are like 'Oh look, a baby boy! Let's cut off his foreskin! Totally normal!' Fahrenheit 451 is one of a few books that I have encountered that are really effective at lifting me up over my culture and letting me look down and think, 'Why is this weird? What are the strange things that we do, and why do we do them?' And that's a really hard thing to do! It's almost unnatural, like inhuman to examine your culture as such a, like, a specifically cultural being. I'm sure you could make the case that Clarisse is unrealistic, but there's no one in the book, or in all of literature, more unrealistic than Mildred. I might be crazy but I feel like there's no amount of TV watching that will lead to you accidentally attempting suicide. You can't scrub love out of the human! And this kind of bothers me, like if we treat these people like symbols then I guess it's okay but if we think of them as actual people then that would lead, maybe, to some people thinking, 'Think of all of those mindless TV-brainwashed drones going about their daily lives and never being, never being people at all!' And that's dangerous stuff, man! Like that's just dehumanizing other people that you don't know anything about! It's true that this deluge of mindless entertainment has fallen down upon us; Bradbury got that absolutely right. But it hasn't scrubbed us of our humanity. No human, past or present, will ever live in a world without love, or despair, or hope, or friends, or passion. I feel like this is a tool for examining yourself and your culture, for getting yourself out of yourself a little bit, but I'm afraid that it's sometimes a tool for thinking, 'Oh, here I am, one of the few enlightened ones looking down upon the mindless drones,' because there are no mindless drones. But I am thankful to this book for helping me in my present and in my past, for letting me examine myself and sort of understand what it is that I love about life. And that's one of the things that that book does to me. And honestly, I don't care how it does it, as long as it does it. John, I'll see you on Monday. Nerdfighter shirt! This one! For sale again. It's been like a year or more since this was on TeeFury, and now it is on! Also, that.