There's A Space for Us

"Do you ever read any of the books you burn?"

He laughed. "That's against the law!"

- Farenheit 451

It is on my daughter's summer reading list for Honors English. She is rather bummed at having to READ a BOOK over the SUMMER (see, another "switched at birth" argument, I KNEW it!) I figured I could make it more interesting if I read it too, then we could discuss.

I think I first read Bradbury's classic in 7th or 8th grade. . . I thought it was a little far-fetched, but not so science-fictiony that I couldn't attain that suspension of disbelief. I'm only 30 or so pages into my refresher, but I'm already struck by my different perspective.

The poor guy's wife has just attempted suicide and now wants him to drop a third of his salary on a fourth "parlor wall" (read: big-screen) with interactive capabilites (read: internet.) Sure, burning books is so "Footloose," but its still a little creepy!

I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. I love virtual school, e-mailing a teacher/friend from high school who lives in Miami, and being able to find Steve Martin's "King Tut" bit for my son when he's studying Egypt.

But I hate "MySpace."

At first it doesn't seem so bad. Its a neat way to connect to people, to express your true self. At the same time, you are making yourself totally vulnerable to, well, everyone. People you don't know have access to you, your kids, their friends. And some of the stuff you see on the friend's pages would curl your hair. I won't even look at my 19-year-old's page anymore!

Self expression is not a new thing. From cave drawings and heiroglyphics to Van Gogh's bandaged ear and Munch's "Scream" to our modern-day obsession with "reality", people have always found ways to share their souls with the world.

Is it really such a bad thing, or does it just make me feel a little nekkid? I'll have to ponder that question. . .but I'll be sure to let you know exactly what I think in a future blog. Somehow, somewhere, some way.

Don't you just love irony??


NS said...

Are you reading the Veldt by any chance? I had to read that "short story" in high school. I think 9th grade. It was truly AMAZING. Of course, it took some time to really pay attention and understand it, but WHOA was it creepy. And you're right, life is immitating fiction. Farenheit was awesome too. Ray Bradbury definately was ahead of his time, I think. I wish I had time, or maybe when my son is older, to read all the stuff I loathed in HS, with the perspective of an adult now. Well, enjoy the Veldt. Oh, and if you get a chance, some of my other favorite short stories: anything by o'henry, jack london's the frost, and the game (which i cannot get my hands on now, but am dying to read again.)

Lara said...

Another great thing about being a mom of teens (and there are so many!) is that you can re-visit all that stuff you were too busy thinking about boys to catch on the first go-around!

I'll have to check out the short stories, we're working our way through Farentheit 451 right now.

I love O'Henry -one of my forever faves the Gift of the Magi? I'm building up a decent looking summer reading list for myself. Thanks for the tips!