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Tag Archives: Time Magazine

Ray Bradbury, Luddite

Around the time that internet became culture, the internet developed an odd relationship with Ray Bradbury. Bradbury’s books were still popular, but his unabashed opposition to the internet and ebooks made for some uncomfortable moments.

“When did Bradbury become such… well, such an old man?” Graeme McMillan at Time Magazine complained. Bradbury was never old or he was always old. This was who Bradbury always was and it was odd that anyone could read his books without realizing that.

His best known book was an attack on a society filled with technological entertainment. Fahrenheit 451 isn’t just a book about book burning, it’s a book about an America where everyone watches television because it makes people easier to control. Where the television is fully interactive and you can participate in the stories together with your friends.

You can make fun of Bradbury for talking about “internets”, but he saw MMO’s and social gaming coming and he didn’t see anything good about them.

Bradbury was enthusiastic about some kinds of technology. He was in favor of space exploration. The technology that he was suspicious of was mobile entertainment and communications technology. He disliked portable radios playing music, phones and surveillance equipment. He distrusted technology that dehumanized or diminished life.

Was Bradbury wrong about television and the internet? Kind of pointless to talk about it, since he didn’t use the internet and probably didn’t understand it. The internet has its own pros and cons, but Bradbury’s criticisms have been made by even its biggest enthusiasts. It distances us from people.

Bradbury’s cynicism about technology was more popular when it was fashionable to talk down television and worry about the reading culture. When the internet became culture, suddenly Bradbury was being treated like an “old man”. And that reaction justified his distaste for the medium.

When Stephen King Comments on Politics, Bunnies Cry

Stephen King is a pretty decent writer or he used to be, much as he resists it he’s also a celebrity which is something that he manages to prove when he sits down with Time Magazine and begins pontificating on politics… and gets all of it wrong. There’s a reason that celebrities shouldn’t talk about politics… and Reason Numero Uno is that they’re pig blind ignorant about it. Famous people have the delusion that their opinions about politics are important or relevant. They’re not. Worse they’re usually downright stupid about 90 percent of the time.

Case in point, again Stephen King going into a rant complaining about the inappropriate attention given to celebrities over the important issues going on in the world… at a celebrity interview for Time Magazine. Relish the irony.

And meanwhile, you’ve got Pakistan in the midst of a real crisis where these people have nuclear weapons that we helped them develop.

Nice Stevie, except they developed them thanks to North Korea, not us, and then peddled the technology all across the Middle East. Stephen King is probably thinking of India whose nuclear program we are now aiding, but who can really expect celebrities to keep all those funny countries straight. Hey they’re all brown, right Stevie?

You’ve got a guy in charge, who’s basically declared himself the military strongman and is being supported by the Bush administration, whose raison d’etre for going into Iraq was to spread democracy in the world.

Yeah the problem with that is the Bush Administration is actually unwisely pressuring Musharraf to make concessions, hold elections and step down from his control over the military.

So I said something to the Nightline guy about waterboarding, and if the Bush administration didn’t think it was torture, they ought to do some personal investigation. Someone in the Bush family should actually be waterboarded so they could report on it to George. I said, I didn’t think he would do it, but I suggested Jenna be waterboarded and then she could talk about whether or not she thought it was torture. And then the guy from Nightline said, “Well, obviously you’ve not been watching World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson.” But I do — I watch ’em all!

Yes sadly, just not understanding any of it. Being captured on the battlefield and stuck in prison for months isn’t torture either. That doesn’t mean the average person should experience it. There’s a reason why the people who are sitting in Gitmo or being waterboarded are having it happen to them and it’s not because they were out playing in puppies.

But Stephen King believes abortion isn’t murder. By that logic, he should actually abort a baby and report back on it. But that’s of course juvenile rhetoric, which is the only kind celebrities like King can manage.

I think there ought to be some serious discussion by smart people, really smart people, about whether or not proliferation of things like The Smoking Gun and TMZ and YouTube and the whole celebrity culture is healthy.

This coming from a guy who has an Entertainment Weekly column that consists of random ramblings about pop culture and is going on Cable TV News Networks to discuss an adaptation of a decades old novella. Celebrity culture much?

But he said to me, “If we didn’t cover cultural things, we wouldn’t be covering you and The Mist, and promoting the movie.” And I’m like, “Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan aren’t cultural.”

Uh and the Mist is cultural? It’s hypocrisy and Stephen King knows it. Rather than honestly stating that Nightline, which banished serious news along with Ted Koppel, shouldn’t be covering either Spears or The Mist, King tries to defend it.

But Britney? Britney Spears is just trailer trash. That’s all. I mean, I don’t mean to be pejorative. But you observe her behavior for the past five years and you say, “Here’s a lady who can’t take care of her kids, she can’t take care of herself, she has no retirement fund, everything that she gets runs right through her hands.”

Uh Dude, Britney has probably taken less drugs than you have. How much of The Tommyknockers complete with the attempted wife stabbing was autobiographical anyway? At the very least King has admitted to alcoholism and severe drug abuse. There wasn’t a camera following him around to see how he was taking care of his kids when he was chasing whiskeys with cocaine, but I imagine he wasn’t going to win Father of the Year. Pot, kettle, black.

I love how celebrities lecture us on the celebrity culture. Not only is the irony some sort of paradox, but they feel the need to follow it up by lecturing us on world politics, which they have no clue about. Get a job already.

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