Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dystopia Done Right - In Memory of Ray Bradbury

In 1953 Ray Bradbury wrote, Fahrenheit 451.

Many people misinterpret the book to be about book burning and cencorship, but as Ray Bradbury says, "It was about people being turned into morons by t.v.".

The following link shows a great clip of him discussing this. (click below)

If Ray Bradbury came up with that concept in 1953, I wonder where his thoughts on it were by the time he died yesterday, June 6, 2012.

About a week ago, I had a girl come in to the library and ask me to help her locate a book. Sure, I told her, I love helping students find books to read. But she wanted a book about the MTV show Jersey Shore. Nope, none...that's how many books we have on that one. Not only did she want a book on the show, she really wanted a book of the episodes of the show...moron.

Yes, Mr. Bradbury, television has turned people into morons.

Rest in peace, Ray Bradbury.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

In Defense of Mr. McGregor

Literature abounds with villains. Some of the truly "noteworthy" include Simon Legree from Uncle Tom's Cabin, Long John Silver from Treasure Island, Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist, Pap Finn from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Iago from Othello, Voldemort from the Harry Potter series, and not least of all, the notorious Mr. John McGregor.

In 1883, Beatrix Potter wrote the first of the adored books centering on Peter Rabbit.  The first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, we follow Peter as he disobeys his mother and sneaks into, or rather "breaks into", Mr. McGregor's garden. She had forbidden her children from entering the garden because her husband had met his untimely demise there, and was made into a pie by Mrs. McGregor (which I bet was delicious).

There in the garden he eats as many vegetables as he can before Mr. McGregor sees him and chases him about. Now Peter, the rapscallion, manages to escape, but Mr. McGregor does snag his jacket and shoes and uses them to dress a nice scarecrow. When Peter returns, his mother puts him to bed and gives him chamomile tea. Really? That was his punishment? I'd be thrilled if someone put me to bed and gave me some chamomile tea...harrumph....

Casing out the place

The thief in action
Another picture capturing the crime!
Look at that red cloth being loaded up to be carried out!

Sure, as a child I read this book and though how mean Mr. McGregor was. But really, Peter disobeyed his mother, and then broke in and stole from Mr. McGregor and wrecked havoc in his garden. Today, I have a different take on this.

You know these clay pots broke into a million pieces...

Yesterday, I walked outside and noticed big holes dug into my pots of begonias (not even vegetables). I muttered about the stupid squirrels, but was corrected because it had been witnessed that the culprits were rabbits. Two weeks ago, I came outside to my rose bushes nibbled to nubs! Rabbits! I muttered some more, and even wished for a hawk or two. Today, I walked out front and two rabbits were nibbling clover, they eyed me for a second, and went back to nibbling. They didn't even run! I muttered more about those stupid rabbits, and then it hit me. I had become Mr. McGregor, the villain of the Beatrix Potter books! And I realized he wasn't a villain, but a poor man plagued by too many pesky rabbits!!

Very similar to my yard on a daily basis

Bringing his siblings along to commit more theft