Ray Bradbury is the author whose work helped shape me through what would have otherwise been a rather hopeless childhood. At first you receive his work as a pleasure, an escape, and yet eventually you realize the imperative messages in all his stories about personal responsibility, the importance of imagination, freedom and individualism, while reinforcing in each scenario issues of judgment, truth, fairness, and the generosity and power of the human spirit. He has been, ever since I can remember being able to pick up a book, my hero, and a man whose values, through his work, shaped my own. Many of you had parents who did that for you. I did not. Without his knowing it, Mr. Bradbury became that influential adult for me, and I am forever grateful. His 90th birthday is August 22nd, and Los Angeles has a week of activities celebrating his life and work.

His latest comments to the Los Angeles Times about the upcoming week inspire me and I wanted to share them with you. He may be 90, but his passion and insight about who we are as a people, and the nature of politics, have never been brighter.

Happy Birthday Mr. Bradbury!

Ray Bradbury hates big government: ‘Our country is in need of a revolution’

Ray Bradbury is mad at President Obama, but it’s not about the economy, the war or the plan to a construct a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.

“He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,” says the iconic author, whose 90th birthday on Aug. 22 will be marked in Los Angeles with more than week’s worth of Bradbury film and TV screenings, tributes and other events. “We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever.”

The man who wrote “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “The Martian Chronicles,” “Dandelion Wine”and “The Illustrated Man” has been called one of America’s great dreamers, but his imagination takes him to some dark places when it comes to contemporary politics.

“I think our country is in need of a revolution,” Bradbury said. “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.”

The native of Waukegan, Ill., has never been shy about expressing himself — he described President Clinton with a word that rhymes with “knithead” back in 2001– nor is he timid about correcting people when it comes to his own perceived legacy. Bradbury chafes, for instance, at the description of his work as science fiction — in the past he has pointed out that, to his mind, “Fahrenheit 451″is the only sci-fi book in his vast body of work — and despite his passion for more national space projects, he is not technology obsessive by any means.

“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.”

Bradbury wrote darkly about bookburning in “Fahrenheit 451,” but he sounds ready to use a Kindle for kindling. “I was approached three times during the last year by Internet companies wanting to put my books” on an electronic reading device, he said. “I said to Yahoo, ‘Prick up your ears and go to hell.’”

Related Links:

Ray Bradbury week in Los Angeles: Something special this way comes

Ray Bradbury Week Facebook Page

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10 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. larrygeary says:

    There should be a countdown clock for this.

  2. TheresaMC says:

    TAMMY’s Birthday and it is a weekday….Good for us so we can all wish her Birthday Joy in the Chat.
    And Happy Birthday to her in two days Right Now!!!!!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY in two days.

    Love, The McCloskeys

  3. MaryVal says:

    I have read every book Ray Bradbury has ever written, most of them several times; I’ve been reading his stuff since grade school. Love the man. I’m relieved that I’m not the only person who thinks this country may need another revolution.

  4. Lamplighter says:

    So Tammy, you’re a Leo too…..I should have known.

  5. DianeRoberts says:

    Happy “B” Day Tammy. Blessings to you and yours. :) XO

  6. eMVeeH says:

    Woah, Tammy. How fortuitous that Ray Bradbury should be showcased at this time. Other than because it’s his birthday.

    When Kagan and Obama were together at her swearing in to the SCOTUS, I couldn’t stop thinking about the scene at the end of Mr. Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451. It was chilling to hear Kagan publicly state that it OK to ban books “because government won’t really enforce it [the ban].” Oh, really? And the godling’s “bitter and clingy” comment also came to mind. I guess small-town people in Pennsylvania and the Mid West “cling to guns or religion, or antipathy” because they are frustrated, jobless, don’t like “immigrants” and unions.

    But, isn’t it something that it is people living away from the cities who are preserving books in Fahrenheit 451?

    Oh, on telling the press not to take pics of him “topless”, isn’t Obama simply following some sort of Muslim modesty bathing ritual? Just askin’.

    P.S. Just heard your comment regarding Obama’s full immersion into Islam. Wow, ‘hadn’t even thought of the possibility. However, I hope it’s like you said: after he’s out of office.

  7. Laura says:

    Bradbury is right, we are way too dependent on technology and losing are abilities for personal interactions, not being self-aware or aware of our surroundings

    I keep waiting to see obama in full muslim garb any day now

  8. MACVEL says:

    I thought 451 was an idiotic book–until I actually read it. Indeed, it was ingenious and chilling. At the end, the main character’s wife rushes to gather up her fictional life and holds on to it until the bombs fall. It appears Obama and some of us are doing quite the same.

  9. girlsgotrhythm says:

    I dig Ray Bradbury! He’s brilliant and sublime, and has a sense of humor you wouldn’t believe!
    http://tinypic.com/r/nv9w7k/4

  10. thierry says:

    i found this interview with bradbury quite interesting in which he argues that ‘fahrenheit 451′ isn’t about government censorship but how other people are the threat-( with which i am in complete agreement especially now that the liberals have gained so much power and are trying desperately to legally implement the pc crap they have foisted off on us quite effectively while they were mere citizens) and that television will dumb down the population , destroying its literature.

    http://tinyurl.com/28mnftn

    “Bradbury imagined a democratic society whose diverse population turns against books: Whites reject Uncle Tom’s Cabin and blacks disapprove of Little Black Sambo. He imagined not just political correctness, but a society so diverse that all groups were “minorities.” He wrote that at first they condensed the books, stripping out more and more offending passages until ultimately all that remained were footnotes, which hardly anyone read. Only after people stopped reading did the state employ firemen to burn books.

    Most Americans did not have televisions when Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, and those who did watched 7-inch screens in black and white. Interestingly, his book imagined a future of giant color sets — flat panels that hung on walls like moving paintings. And television was used to broadcast meaningless drivel to divert attention, and thought, away from an impending war.”
    -Amy E.Boyle Johnston, LA Weekly

    i just put the film version in my netflix cue last week- but i am not a truffaut fan. along with’ the illustrated man’ they are instant views. i am really excited bradbury is such a goth- loving halloween and being pals with charles addams. bradbury’s wife sounded like a wonderful fun person- she made his writing career possible.

    http://www.raybradbury.com/maggie.html

    “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”- thomas jefferson.

    “When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality. ” – jefferson

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