Fox Fact: some foxes have retractable claws, like cats.
Happy Monday! It’s been an eventful week, and if you’re like me and the other millions of people out there, you went to see the new Star Wars. If you haven’t seen it yet I won’t spoil it for you, but I will give you the gentle reminder that when it releases to Netflix next year, Canada will be the only place with the Netflix streaming rights.
One of the cool stories out this week featured a new HTTP Error code which indicates that content has been blocked by a government agency. The code? 451. It’s a great use of a literary work, and most of us immediately grasp the significance of the numbers 451.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Fahrenheit 451 is a book by Ray Bradbury, depicting a future where books are outlawed, and rather than putting out fires, Firemen are dispatched to burn books wherever they are found.
It’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the idea.
It made me recall, though, reading about how Bradbury himself hated the fact that everyone assumed it was about government censorship, in the 1984 sense of the term. He’s quoted as saying that the book is about television replacing literature. At first, the people of his book voluntarily stopped reading and then eventually the state outlawed books altogether as a source of dangerous social deviance.
In the novel, books served to make people think too much. Books made the people turn off the TVs, stop listening to the state sponsored entertainment/news, discuss new ideas, and so forth. Television was used to divert attention away from anything that would cause societal disruption. Even the looming threat of war was an afterthought to those consumed by the comforting glow of the stories and entertainment fed through the TV.
So, keep reading. Use this magic information box called a computer to read whatever you can. Learn new and weird things. Talk about them. Discuss and debate things with people who think differently than you do. Don’t let governments or agencies or corporations distract you from the real world, and all those things that are so important.