Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012): Igniting Our Imaginations

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) 

 As a high school student in the 1960s I was required to read several of Ray Bradbury’s works. Included were his novels Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes and a short story The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit

 Bradbury’s writings were my introduction to the world of science fiction and fantasy.  Written at the right psychic temperature, his writings set the kindling of my imagination aflame, burning holes in my scripted life prior to graduation. 

 It was during this time in high school that my off and on desire to write became an imperative. And with it came the urgency to feed those necessary flames with countless books. Logocentric, I was enthralled with the written and spoken word and their power to create, inform and inspire. Since those days I continue to fan those flames as I am ever fireside.

  In honor of Ray Bradbury, below are plentiful excerpts from a June 8th, 2012 article by Bruce Walker of the American Thinker website titled “The Conservative Legacy of Ray Bradbury.”

 Ray Bradbury is dead.  His literary career spanned an incredible 73 years, and his influence was felt across the broad spectrum of American thought.  Bradbury was very conscious of the fact that he grew up in almost a pre-technological society; “[w]hen I was born in 1920,” he told The New York Times Magazine in 2000, “the auto was only 20 years old. Radio didn’t exist. TV didn’t exist. I was born at just the right time to write about all of these things.

Although he eschewed squabbling over the political issues of the day, Bradbury embraced the idea that there are grand and common themes to the human condition — and nowhere more piercingly than in his Fahrenheit 451.

 Fahrenheit 451 focuses on a single, salient aspect of human life: the written word.  Bradbury’s dystopia is fantastically simple.  Firemen exist to burn books: the final immolation of all the collected writings of men will liberate us from our past and from the long heritage of civilization.  Mass communication and particularly mass amusement have replaced the solitary acts of reading and of writing.  What Bradbury saw, of course, is the world we live in today, and what he was defending was, in the purest sense of the word, conservatism. (emphasis mine)

It is a fact of modern history that conservatism is inextricably connected with the written word.  The Torah and the Christian Bible, preserved so deliberately by believers over many centuries, are touchstones to conservatism.  Documents like our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution prescribe the purposes and limits of government and void the ambitions of power-hungry leftists.

The solemn beauty of Chambers’ Witness or Koestler’s Darkness at Noon or Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago lay open the ghastliness of souls sold to Marx’s nightmare.  The flawless spiritual rhetoric of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, the brilliant theories in Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and Thomas Sowell’s Vision of the Anointed, and the passionate indictment of collectivism in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged use simple words to make truth clear. 


The left lives on emotions and images.  There is no leftist counterpart to Thomas Sowell or C.S. Lewis or Ayn Rand or Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  Bradbury grasped the unique vitality of the written word.  Bradbury once said, “Libraries raised me.  I don’t believe in colleges and universities.
(emphasis mine)

Ray Bradbury:

Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years. (emphasis mine)

Bradbury on Bradbury:

 In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap opera cries, sleep walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.

From Wikipedia:

Bradbury was a strong supporter of public library systems, and helped to raise money to prevent the closure of several in California due to budgetary cuts. He iterated from his past that “libraries raised me”, and shunned colleges and universities, comparing his own lack of funds during the Depression with poor contemporary students. He exhibited skepticism with regard to modern technology by resisting the conversion of his work into e-books and stating that “We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.” (emphasis mine)

 Ray, I agree. And thanks for igniting our imaginations.

****

Bradbury quotes sourced from Wikipedia.

Ray Bradbury website

It’s A Nuclear Family Affair

The Big Bang or the time of the Great Annihilation, when Matter and Antimatter clashed and cosmic sparks went flying, the progeny of majorons provided the universe with an asymmetric mix of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, more quarks than anti-quarks. And, that’s what Mattered the most.

It was in That Beginning that Time and his twin-brother Space were born. Since that day, they sprawl the universe with their feet up and their hands behind their head.  Under a contractual agreement, though, they will have to return – from whence they came.

 Time, the patient caregiver, the healer of all wounds, or, as has been seen, the brutal tormentor of the long-sufferer, always takes his time. He’s been known to say, “A day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

 Space, a distance runner, hopes to place in the next inter-galactic marathon.

 Space and Time or Space-Time as they are often called spend most of their time-space wrestling in gelatin with friends and neighbors. They tell me that this adds dimension to their lives. They listen to string-theory music while wrestling.

 Miss Universe, a stellar beauty, is curvy. The brothers also spend their time following her around.

 Speed-of-Light, the brothers’ close friend, always beats them to the remote whenever something special is broadcast.

 My family, the Atoms family, spends its time playing king-of-the-hill and marbles. We do like knock-knock jokes. Little Hydrogen gets pushed around a lot, though.

 The Nebulae Family members, known for their starry eyes, are nomadic. They spend their time gazing at Space-Time from a point of departure somewhere in the galaxy.

 The favorite saying of the Planet households is “What goes around comes around.” Their favorite hangout is the Milky Way.  They own several tanning salons.

 I guess that if Time were to be no more and if Space was pigeonholed and if Speed-of-light was somehow surpassed and if Family Nebulae no longer roamed and if the Planet households split up then, God knows, you and I are no longer relative.

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2011, All Rights Reserved

H/T to italo calvino

 

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
   Tell me, if you understand.
 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
   Who stretched a measuring line across it?
 On what were its footings set,
   or who laid its cornerstone—
 while the morning stars sang together
   and all the angels shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7

 

*****

“We don’t allow faster-than-light neutrinos in here,” says the bartender.

A neutrino walks into a bar.

–Joke circulating on the internet

Outsourcing

 The radio message came at 22:01:44.9 Martian time:  “The Community-Organizer-in-Chief has left the Washington DC Bureau of Breadlines and has fled to his Martha’s Vineyard compound.”

 It was to be expected. The People’s Economy had turned on him. Unfed jobless (and tattooed) masses were walking the streets looting, robbing and killing for food. Washington, the center for The People’s Economy was no longer safe.  But, we felt safe in our star-ship Gorforit. That is, Friedrich and I felt safe.  My name is Milton.

 You should know that there were many Capitalists in The People’s America when the Hope and Change Desolation began ten years ago. But, since that time, there is now only a small remnant left.

 Back then we were called the “Free-Market-eers.”  As such, we were constantly booed and jeered by The People’s Media.  Flash mobs of union workers, guided by The People’s Media, attacked us. And though we were peace-keeping people, many of us were battered and some lost their lives.  At one point it became so bad that corporate jet owners were being hung openly on the Mall, right in front of Lincoln Memorial.

 How did this all begin? A Progressive candidate (The Candidate) won the presidential election in 2008. This newly elected president began to stir up class warfare among the people.  He incited people to turn against each other, neighbor against neighbor, because of money. The People’s Media joined in.

 In 2011 a “Lean Forward” campaign was launched by the People’s Media.  Soon, the slothful, the dimwitted and the envious began to call themselves “The Forward Thinkers” or the “Lean-Forward Thinkers” – commonly known as the “LFT”. Their numbers, mostly union workers and unemployed college graduates with useless degrees, grew rapidly.

 The People’s Media which had once campaigned for The Candidate in 2008, now campaigned for the Lean-Forward group.  The campaign encouraged these marauders to take from the rich (those who had a job and some income) and to give to the “under-privileged” – those who saw what others had and wanted the same things.

From the Oval office the president, via regular People’s Media broadcasts, told the citizens that government was the best mechanism to handle society’s problems.  So, with the help ‘elected’ representatives he began to take away the people’s money through taxation. People were no longer able to donate to charities or to directly help their neighbor.  Every dollar was excised from the people for the people in The People’s Economy.

 The People’s Media, rousing the animal passions of the LFT members, encouraged demonstrations to take place against Free-Marketeer businesses.  Soon, though, the demonstrations were replaced with random looting and pillaging of stores.  Strife increased between merchant and customer, neighbors and friends.

 Our nations’ economy, once strong and vibrant because of free-market exchange, was now subject to the whims of recalcitrant, angry mobs and inept tyrannical leadership.  It quickly deteriorated until our present time.

 So, a plan was decided at our last Capitalist conclave held in a secret hiding place near Mount Rushmore.  Two of us would go to Mars and begin a free market economy on a new planet. Both Friedrich and I volunteered to go.  We were the oldest in the group.  If something happened we were both prepared to die.

 We had the star-ship Goforit but not the fuel.  The People’s Economy rationed both fuel and food. So, we had to put our heads together to find a solution. Now, we had done similar things like this before so we were not overly concerned but time was running out.

There was no IPO for this venture, no influx of cash.  The US dollar had folded.  Instead, we had to learn to create fuel out of gold bullion.  And, as it turned out, a small amount of this fuel would take us all the way to Mars. Once there we could also use it to barter with the Martians.  They have no gold on Mars but they do have good underground living quarters for the two of us. We could set up shop very quickly. In fact, it was the Martians who had offered to help us.  They would benefit from us. It would be a mutually beneficial relationship, something no longer found in The People’s America.

 We all believed, the Free-Market-eers, that is, that there would be defectors from the People’s Economy but we didn’t know when. Things were getting nasty in The People’s America.  So we decided to plan ahead and get ready for the influx of homeless and hungry. We had to start somewhere new.  Somewhere that wouldn’t be affected by The People’s Media. 

It seemed to us that Mars was the best option since there was a significant time delay for any radio signal to reach that planet. And better yet, The People’s Media Broadcasts would easily get lost within the noise of space radiation and our own Sun’s solar flares. “Bingo,” I said when I heard this.

*****

 “Milton”, Friedrich spoke glancing out Goforit’s small window at the silent Martian orb, “soon you and I will be able to start our booming life again, but this time, on the Red Planet!”

Milton replied, “A laissez-faire world at last. To Mars or bust, my friend, to Mars or bust.”

© Sally Paradise, 2011, All Rights Reserved