speaking of burning

A little interlude from Ray Bradbury, as I’m reading Fahrenheit 451 at the moment, this is from the new foreword he wrote in 1993 when a new printing of the book was released:

    There remains only to mention a prediction that my
    Fire Chief, Beatty, made in 1953, halfway through my
    book. It had to do with books being burned without matches
    or fire. Because you don’t have to burn books, do you, if the
    world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, non-
    knowers? If the world wide-screen-basketballs and -footballs
    itself to drown in MTV , no Beattys are needed to ignite the
    kerosene or hunt the reader. If the primary grades suffer
    meltdown and vanish through the cracks and ventilators of
    the schoolroom, who, after a while, will know or care?

    All is not lost, of course. There is still time if we judge
    teachers, students, and parents, hold them accountable on
    the same scale, if we truly test teachers, students, and par-
    ents, if we make everyone responsible for quality , if we
    insure that by the end of its sixth year every child in every
    country can live in libraries to learn almost by osmosis, then
    our drug, street-gang, rape, and murder scores will suffer
    themselves near zero. But the Fire Chief, in mid-novel,
    says it all, predicting the one-minute lV commercial with
    three images per second and no respite from the bombard-
    ment. Listen to him, know what he says, then go sit with
    your child, open a book, and turn the page.

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