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Ray Bradbury, Conservative?

I saw this linked on a blog somewhere and while I never had the privilege of meeting Bradbury, and don’t know much about his politics, there’s not much to it.

On the contrary. Bradbury stood with the Tea Party in his final years.

“I think our country is in need of a revolution,” Bradbury told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. “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.”

Or he stood with anyone who wanted a revolution. A group that covers a lot of territory. It’s a libertarian view loosely, but there’s also no context for it. The only source for it is a brief sketch in the LA Times that looks like they took a few of Bradbury’s most controversial statements and pieced them together.

Bradbury had positive things to say about Reagan and Bush and negative things to say about Carter and Clinton, but that doesn’t make him a conservative. Maybe open minded. Maybe just not very political. There’s not enough context to draw any conclusions about his politics.

Salon asked him what he thought of Bush in August 2001. This was before September 11 or Iraq. So Bradbury’s comments weren’t about war patriotism.

What do you think of President Bush?

He’s wonderful. We needed him. Clinton is a shithead and we’re glad to be rid of him. And I’m not talking about his sexual exploits. I think we have a chance to do something about education, very important. We should have done it years ago. It doesn’t matter who does it — Democrats or Republicans — but it’s long overdue. Our education system is a monstrosity. We need to go back and rebuild kindergarten and first grade and teach reading and writing to everybody, all colors, and then the whole structure of our education will change because people will know how to read and write.

This gives us some context. This is pre-war so Bradbury isn’t referring to September 11 as I assumed after first reading the quote. So what is Bradbury talking about? My best guess is No Child Left Behind.

It’s hard to remember now, but Bush ran as a compassionate conservative. No Child Left Behind was a big topic in the summer of 2001 because it was being debated in Congress. It seems as if Bradbury was praising Bush for No Child Left Behind.

Bradbury was conservative in some ways and liberal in other ways. He distrusted the government and that comes out in a lot of statements. He praised Reagan for cutting taxes and giving money back to the people. He advocated space exploration. He disliked the police. He was skeptical about most things, except the power of reading.

That’s a profile of most people in Science Fiction. Bradbury was touchy about being associated with the field, but his political  views were typical of American Science Fiction writers.

So what about that Tea Party thing? Maybe.

I don’t believe in government. I hate politics. I’m against it. And I hope that sometime this fall, we can destroy part of our government, and next year destroy even more of it. The less government, the happier I will be.

Bradbury really did believe in cutting government. That put him to the right and the left of contemporary politics. Bradbury wasn’t a joiner and while he might have supported any group that wanted to cut the government, I’m not too sure he would have wanted to be a member.

Not With a Bang, But With a Dylan Cover

Last year I tried to take a photo of OWS theater only to have my iPhone snatched away and almost smashed, but for the intervention of one of the NYPD’s boys in blue. Not an isolated phenomenon it seems.

The issue of some protesters targeting photographers covering the Occupy Wall Street movement came to the fore after videographer Tim Pool shot footage of protesters letting the air out of an NYPD squad car’s tires the night of the eviction. Since then, protesters engaged in black bloc tactics—illegal actions that some in the Occupy movement embrace as part of a “diversity” of tactics—have attempted to damage or confiscate cameras documenting them.

“The protesters’ argument is righteous, but is also silly,” José Martín, a 30-year-old activist and Marxist who has been involved in militant actions for over a decade and attended the Wildcat march, says. “Still, there is some philosophical legitimacy to what these people are saying. We’re not here to legitimize the state. If journalists are willing to incriminate those engaged in illegal actions, it’s very difficult for me to suggest they shouldn’t be angry with the photographer.”

That’s not how a movement acts. That’s how a micro-movement acts. If you know pro protesters, you can’t miss the high ratio of paranoid schizos who dress up their mental illness in politics, and the micro-movements from lefty splinter cells waiting for someone else to pull off the revolution while they make the leaflets. And then a lot of the anarchists who are like biker gangs for upwardly mobile white kids.

New Yorkers like protesters, even when we don’t agree with them, because we like the energy and assertiveness in a city gone stale. Most of us lean left, at least in theory, so we’re primed to support a little public anger but OWS has managed to piss off everyone exposed to them for any length of time. Not a surprise. Boil together some anarchists, combine them with some Trotsky worshipers, throw in a bunch of Late-to-Woodstock types, mix with Twitter and cop confrontations, and you get this.

Walter Russell Mead says OWS is dead, but was it ever alive?

OWS is not in the same league. Despite generally favorable coverage from the MSM (something the Tea Party has never had), OWS has essentially fallen apart. It is not a significant presence on the streets; it is not a significant presence in Democratic Party politics.

Was it supposed to be? Summed up Tea Party was less government, OWS was more government. Tea Party was less regulation, OWS was more bank regulation and social spending. Forget partisan politics. OWS was redundant from the start. When your agenda is already your party’s agenda, what’s left to do except threaten people taking your picture and get into shoving matches with the pigs?

You can put out an album.

Created by Music for Occupy, it’s appropriately titled Occupy This Album, and is “a compilation of music by, for and inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and the 99%.” The digital compilation features 99 tracks (plus one hidden, bonus track for you one-percenters), and 78 songs on the four-disc physical release (which you can buy here for–you guessed it–$9.99). Proceeds from the album will go directly toward sustaining the Occupy movement.

The album has plenty of familiar names, including Yoko Ono, Third Eye Blind, Debbie Harry, Tom Morello (who led May Day’s music festivities), Yo La Tengo, Ani DiFranco, Willie Nelson, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Thievery Corporation, Immortal Technique (who also performed at May Day), and even Michael Moore covering a Bob Dylan song.

Like Occupy Wall Street? Buy the CD. It’s what happens when a movement that never really existed gets sold off for its brand name. Everyone involved will have a commemorative four CD collection of songs inspired by Harry Potter, Battleship the movie and Occupy Wall Street.

It ends not with a bang but with a Bob Dylan cover by Michael Moore.

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