The Incomparable

339: Burned Like Books


  comfortable number 349 februari 2017 [TS]

  welcome back everybody to be [TS]

  uncomfortable i'm your host Jason still [TS]

  and this episode is going to be about [TS]

  two books you may have been assigned in [TS]

  school maybe maybe not [TS]

  and they have become more interesting [TS]

  and relevant lately and I believe in [TS]

  fact copies of one are reportedly sold [TS]

  out in many bookstores whatever [TS]

  bookstore still remain in the United [TS]

  States so we're going to talk about [TS]

  george orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's [TS]

  Fahrenheit 451 two things you know the [TS]

  theme here of course is works with [TS]

  numbers in them that's great [TS]

  clearly so join me i mentioned reading [TS]

  them in school who better to have [TS]

  discussed these commonly assigned works [TS]

  then the hook very host of sophomore lit [TS]

  John McCoy hello hello I want you know I [TS]

  don't even own a parlor wall [TS]

  alright well you know ignorance is [TS]

  strength freedom is slavery Scott [TS]

  mcnulty that's double plus good to be [TS]

  here Jason David jail or we have always [TS]

  been at war with Eastasia that this is [TS]

  true I i guess a it was kind of grim in [TS]

  high school because we had our english [TS]

  class in room 101 ouch that's brutal and [TS]

  Erica and sign is here you might as well [TS]

  jump [TS]

  wait a second now that haha i think i [TS]

  will just go ahead and johanna down the [TS]

  memory hole [TS]

  no don'tdon't you got memory hole after [TS]

  reading these books Jason you felt like [TS]

  you didn't need to just jump down the [TS]

  memory hole well yeah man we are on fire [TS]

  tonight [TS]

  hmm [TS]

  no it's uh let's erase that and make [TS]

  sure it has never happened [TS]

  yeah yeah that was undergoing that [TS]

  wasn't good good so let's start with [TS]

  fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury why don't [TS]

  we start there before we move on to or [TS]

  well these were both published a 44-41 [TS]

  published in nineteen fifty three ninety [TS]

  four was published in 1949 so both [TS]

  post-war fairly quickly post-war [TS]

  dystopian visions often assigned in [TS]

  school like I said along with the may be [TS]

  brave new world you can tune him to like [TS]

  an hour and a half of John and I talking [TS]

  about brave new world a sophomore lid we [TS]

  covered that one who is a weird one [TS]

  um about regrets a lot of credit mean [TS]

  he's written so many different kinds of [TS]

  works and he always gets credit for [TS]

  being very kind of lyrical writer [TS]

  beautiful writer it is prose style is is [TS]

  remarkable and i was struck I read [TS]

  fahrenheit 451 at some point but I feel [TS]

  like I probably retained none of it so [TS]

  revisiting it now was kind of fun but I [TS]

  was also struck by the fact that it was [TS]

  not it was not at all what I expected [TS]

  and although i did at several points [TS]

  stop and appreciate how how much effort [TS]

  was being put into the into the [TS]

  pro-style when it would where everybody [TS]

  else is kind of impressions with her of [TS]

  fahrenheit 451 John did you read this [TS]

  first live with this [TS]

  yes this was actually I think maybe my [TS]

  third or fourth episode so I read this [TS]

  about a year ago I I have to say I'm a [TS]

  fan of bradbery's pro-style but this [TS]

  this seems like kind of early days to me [TS]

  like he's he's finding his way along [TS]

  this he famously wrote this book at [TS]

  night on a typewriter in a college [TS]

  university because he didn't have a [TS]

  typewriter of his own and it really does [TS]

  feel kind of like a guy out to prove [TS]

  himself to me and I think there's a lot [TS]

  of really beautiful stuff in here [TS]

  there's a lot of stuff in here that also [TS]

  seems to me like he's approaching with a [TS]

  bit of a chip on his shoulder because [TS]

  he likes to kind of yeah i'll get into [TS]

  this later but Bradbury strikes me as [TS]

  someone who wants to kind of show off a [TS]

  little bit of what he knows you know by [TS]

  pulling out [TS]

  cicero and pulling out matthew arnold [TS]

  and stuff i think but i but I i like it [TS]

  i thought that there were passages that [TS]

  were just beautiful and strange III this [TS]

  time reading through i really loved the [TS]

  depiction of the Hound which doesn't [TS]

  really pay off in in any major way in [TS]

  just how does this ever-present threat [TS]

  but just the idea this crazy biomorphic [TS]

  robot that makes no sense at all [TS]

  I i like that i like it only one [TS]

  Bradbury doesn't even try to make sense [TS]

  got worried about you [TS]

  well I read this book many years ago and [TS]

  of course remember nothing about it now [TS]

  especially if i had read it last year I [TS]

  wouldn't remember anything about it [TS]

  let's be honest except of course the [TS]

  whole lido with a bird books he's a [TS]

  firebender and they burn books that i [TS]

  remembered so I didn't remember that it [TS]

  was broken up into three sections i [TS]

  didn't i didn't remember the Hound [TS]

  though that would stick out in my mind [TS]

  as well but i really like it I mean I [TS]

  thought that it was striking you know [TS]

  the chat the part that struck me the [TS]

  most is when what's-his-name on tog [TS]

  explains or or his boss explains baby [TS]

  explains to to Montague why they burn [TS]

  the books and you know it wasn't a law [TS]

  it was just that you know people we're [TS]

  just looking for faster entertainment [TS]

  and filling up their minds with with [TS]

  nonsense and that just got me to [TS]

  thinking about Twitter and then I got [TS]

  sad [TS]

  stop reading and you can burn Twitter [TS]

  unfortunately can't do that i've i've [TS]

  tried many times to set your computer on [TS]

  fire [TS]

  that's right it's not that right erica [TS]

  was your experience with fahrenheit 451 [TS]

  I had never read either one of these [TS]

  books before actually I didn't have to [TS]

  read them in school and I thought maybe [TS]

  I tried reading Fahrenheit 451 [TS]

  previously and [TS]

  didn't get through it because I just [TS]

  didn't like it but if that's the case [TS]

  then I really forgot everything about it [TS]

  because I didn't remember anything [TS]

  reading this I mean the only thing I [TS]

  knew was the look you know 451 in [TS]

  burning books like that was that was it [TS]

  I didn't even know the fireman thing so [TS]

  that was that was all new to me and I i [TS]

  agree with John that the the pros is is [TS]

  beautiful but honestly book really kind [TS]

  of angered me because it very much seem [TS]

  like oh he's coming from a place where [TS]

  oh you know people people who like pop [TS]

  culture and people who like you know a [TS]

  literature but looks you know they're [TS]

  going to be the downfall of us all like [TS]

  I'm like that's rich coming from a guy [TS]

  who's known for science fiction which I [TS]

  mean my favorite genre in the world but [TS]

  has been you know throughout history [TS]

  kind of looked and looked down upon [TS]

  so I was just like where do you get off [TS]

  dude and that sort of colored the entire [TS]

  experience for me [TS]

  well I know speed slight spoiler here [TS]

  for my view of it I had a very similar [TS]

  reaction to yours Erica idea [TS]

  David what are your initial sort of [TS]

  fahrenheit 451 reactions [TS]

  yeah that this was another one that we [TS]

  had you know that hundreds of copies [TS]

  sitting around in high school and you'd [TS]

  see them from the various English [TS]

  classes because we had the big open [TS]

  space classrooms with like three classes [TS]

  once it was like you tons of storage and [TS]

  it was one that i wanted to read and and [TS]

  our english classes never read them [TS]

  it was really weird i never got to read [TS]

  either one of these in high school [TS]

  except by choice and so I did I think I [TS]

  did them senior year just for kicks and [TS]

  coming back to it now I i remember the [TS]

  time I had read a lot of Bradbury and [TS]

  this really stood out as very different [TS]

  from a lot of what he was writing at the [TS]

  time and but it's the only thing of [TS]

  those early like you know early fifties [TS]

  Bradbury that that's stuck in my head [TS]

  and I don't know why cause I haven't [TS]

  come back to the other Bradbury which [TS]

  that might be part of it to the only [TS]

  Bradbury I had to read in school was a [TS]

  Martian Chronicles so [TS]

  oh nice not quite the same thing and I [TS]

  really enjoyed that [TS]

  that was a long time ago the only one [TS]

  that we got for street with something [TS]

  wicked this way comes partly because [TS]

  they just wanted to show us the movie [TS]

  movie [TS]

  yeah there's a lot of what we got movies [TS]

  but yeah I i really had this made an [TS]

  impression on me twenties so many years [TS]

  ago and so I had forgotten a lot of it [TS]

  but there were bits and pieces and [TS]

  images that as soon as i got them i [TS]

  could be no almost recite the next page [TS]

  with it which was kind of interesting [TS]

  yeah I my memory of this is is like I [TS]

  said zero i know i read it and and I [TS]

  remember this is what it's like for [TS]

  Scott all the time I realize it's not [TS]

  always like that for me but condition [TS]

  please [TS]

  yes I i know i I'm I'm walk i walked a [TS]

  mile i read a book in your shoes I got [TS]

  no that's why i usually comfortable put [TS]

  on choose to read a book but in this [TS]

  case I did and a yeah i think the the [TS]

  opening is especially lyrical and I had [TS]

  that moment you know it was a two-stage [TS]

  thing with the first stages so here is a [TS]

  writer who is going to show off right i [TS]

  mean i guess you could see it and then I [TS]

  was like he's pretty good at it right [TS]

  now is the next step was like like this [TS]

  the way that this book starts it feels [TS]

  very much like I'm just gonna I'm gonna [TS]

  impress you with my prose a little bit [TS]

  and he does yeah but and there are [TS]

  moments throughout that I i would look [TS]

  at it and be like okay you know I see [TS]

  his skill at this but I was struck by [TS]

  the same thing erica was and if you look [TS]

  at Bradbury statements about Fahrenheit [TS]

  this is really interesting so we lumped [TS]

  the this these two books together and [TS]

  there is this mid-twentieth-century [TS]

  books that are against totalitarianism [TS]

  and censorship and other other kind of [TS]

  similarly terrible things and they get [TS]

  lumped together and i find it funny [TS]

  because having read fahrenheit 451 and [TS]

  then seeing that bread for himself [TS]

  admits this I feel like they kind of [TS]

  don't fit because fahrenheit 451 to me [TS]

  feels very much like it's about it's a [TS]

  satire about how if people don't read [TS]

  the world will be crappy not that [TS]

  totalitarian [TS]

  governments will come and keep people [TS]

  from reading in order to have them beam [TS]

  you know how in order to exert their [TS]

  power over them here it's very much more [TS]

  like a kind of kind of elitist a [TS]

  snobbish turning you know it's an attack [TS]

  on television and popular culture in [TS]

  general and people don't read like they [TS]

  used to and leads the the society in [TS]

  fahrenheit 451 into these terrible [TS]

  places it's almost like the you know the [TS]

  the the censorship is a just comes out [TS]

  of the fact that nobody's reading [TS]

  anymore it's not because of the state [TS]

  and so I was kind of taken aback by that [TS]

  because that was not what i was [TS]

  expecting and I guess I also didn't [TS]

  particularly appreciate that message the [TS]

  underlying conflict me that's weird [TS]

  about this book is a Bradbury is warning [TS]

  against political correctness raisuli in [TS]

  a time before they had that language [TS]

  because he says the danger that people [TS]

  saw in books was that they were [TS]

  contradictory that they confuse people [TS]

  you know they hurt people's feelings [TS]

  yep and the troubles people felt [TS]

  marginalized people felt excluded by [TS]

  great works of literature there weren't [TS]

  written to them or that said truths that [TS]

  they didn't agree with so culture had to [TS]

  be dumbed down and made polite and made [TS]

  good for everybody and it's kinda spooky [TS]

  when you have to see how that's actually [TS]

  played out in the actual arena of how [TS]

  political correctness gets used as a as [TS]

  a casual [TS]

  the other thing I would say is that it's [TS]

  a very romantic book about the power of [TS]

  words and it strikes strikes me that [TS]

  that comes from the place that bribery [TS]

  is coming from which is he's an [TS]

  autodidact he's a guy who never went to [TS]

  college but he wanted to show the world [TS]

  he was an educated person and the the [TS]

  thing that I think is so funny is the [TS]

  scene where he starts reading poetry to [TS]

  his wife milled at Mildred and her [TS]

  friends to try and show them what has [TS]

  been lost the unplug their screen right [TS]

  right and the poem he chooses is matthew [TS]

  arnold Dover Beach now this is the [TS]

  this is I'm a great fan of people just [TS]

  reading literature and and you know [TS]

  to hell with whether you know where it [TS]

  comes from go ahead and read it and see [TS]

  if you can connect with it but matthew [TS]

  arnold is not something you just pick up [TS]

  and have got a reaction to you know it's [TS]

  like I keep that in my wallet come on [TS]

  and if you've never experienced anything [TS]

  remotely like that before why would [TS]

  those words in that order make you [TS]

  suddenly break down and cry i just did [TS]

  not buy head for a second yet maybe if [TS]

  there if there were a poem that would [TS]

  make me break down and cry it is not [TS]

  differ beach [TS]

  no you're right and your age on it made [TS]

  me feel icky to when I got to that point [TS]

  because I mean basically what he says [TS]

  and this may even be in there [TS]

  specifically I can't I don't have a [TS]

  something to quote here directly but [TS]

  it's basically like well you know what [TS]

  the problem was that you'd write a book [TS]

  and the women would complain or you [TS]

  write a book and the Negroes would [TS]

  complain and so they had to make these [TS]

  dumb books that nobody complained about [TS]

  in that ruined everything i'm like yeah [TS]

  I that is not a good [TS]

  no no no I mean if it's just for being a [TS]

  guy who is thinks he's so smart [TS]

  the the idea that that the solution to [TS]

  that is to write books that are more and [TS]

  more you know bland is ridiculous I mean [TS]

  I think it's become clear in this day [TS]

  and age of the the answer to that is if [TS]

  more books by all kinds of different [TS]

  people it be [TS]

  I love the idea why i hate i'm using [TS]

  loving quotes that the idea that his his [TS]

  thought is that yes it's it's the you [TS]

  know it's the white men that should be [TS]

  producing all of these books and because [TS]

  of that we need to think about the [TS]

  minorities that was that just kept [TS]

  coming up over and over again we need to [TS]

  think about it already is right and give [TS]

  basically he's saying we need to give [TS]

  them things that are not going to upset [TS]

  them [TS]

  there's never any thought that all [TS]

  perhaps these quote-unquote minorities I [TS]

  mean women not exactly minority could be [TS]

  producing content for themselves [TS]

  producing things from their own point of [TS]

  view that's that's just not something [TS]

  that ever enters into his head as a [TS]

  narrator of this book even though the [TS]

  walls and by the way these are both [TS]

  books with a with the feature [TS]

  essentially television large television [TS]

  as part of the premise with [TS]

  which is kind of fun in fahrenheit 451 [TS]

  there are just walls that our television [TS]

  screens and a guy Montag's wife is is a [TS]

  getting on him about how she wants the [TS]

  fourth wall to be a screen to so they'll [TS]

  be it's kind of like virtual reality [TS]

  that basically will be inside a box of [TS]

  television and so the characters on the [TS]

  shows are watching will be all around [TS]

  them and so as a as a satire of you know [TS]

  almost like reality TV and all that I I [TS]

  can see it i'm not sure if I'm like [TS]

  totally behind it but i was i was struck [TS]

  by the fact that it what it's not it is [TS]

  it's politics are very different from [TS]

  something like 1984 it's politics are [TS]

  yes a celebration of writing and [TS]

  decrying about of a kind of a coarsening [TS]

  culture that does not appreciate great [TS]

  art which is not at all the same kind of [TS]

  story is something that you get in 94 or [TS]

  something like brave new world and it's [TS]

  it's also bad government overreach to I [TS]

  mean this he was writing this after the [TS]

  whole house of unemployed american path [TS]

  house on American Activities Committee [TS]

  was going on and you know this was kind [TS]

  of a reaction to that the the [TS]

  anti-intellectualism of that and so so [TS]

  yeah it's it's about the power of words [TS]

  where 1984 a lot of your other dystopian [TS]

  novels are about the crushing power of [TS]

  words maybe or the the destruction of [TS]

  the words whereas this is literally [TS]

  destroying the books but the words will [TS]

  save you on in both emotions these books [TS]

  there are there are no illicit materials [TS]

  that are found in and and red and that [TS]

  you know there are there are acts of [TS]

  rebellion and things like that they do [TS]

  have they do definitely have things in [TS]

  common and of course in this case in [TS]

  both books actually it's a [TS]

  representative it's a functionary in [TS]

  this totalitarian society who it becomes [TS]

  disaffected and partakes of the band [TS]

  material i mean they do have things in [TS]

  common even though they're coming from [TS]

  pretty different sorts of places i think [TS]

  Bradbury is still hopeful where Orwell [TS]

  is absolutely not no it's debatable [TS]

  there might be a little help there but [TS]

  we'll get we'll get to that the other [TS]

  thing that's funny about this book for [TS]

  me and it struck me reading through both [TS]

  times is there's there's a lot of stuff [TS]

  that's just kind of tacked on a because [TS]

  Bradbury I don't think kind of could [TS]

  figure out what he wanted to do the [TS]

  whole into this book is if focuses on [TS]

  the fact that there's been rumors of war [TS]

  going on throughout the entire book they [TS]

  they just keep handing a war happening [TS]

  war happening and then suddenly the city [TS]

  that he's in has just blown up and [TS]

  they're like oh well we guess we better [TS]

  go back and rebuild everything of a kind [TS]

  of trash back into the civilian it's [TS]

  sort of like where did that come from [TS]

  if the end is really weird like it [TS]

  becomes a chase scene sort of and then [TS]

  there's the he finds the like the hobo [TS]

  camp of college professors and then the [TS]

  city gets nuked and the end [TS]

  yeah it's like that's the happy ending [TS]

  yeah the the happy ending is the fact [TS]

  that civilization has just been doomed [TS]

  and now we can rebuild it in and not [TS]

  internet in a new way in the old way [TS]

  that's right well the stupid people are [TS]

  in the city and there's I so that's it [TS]

  burned like books exactly as they should [TS]

  be and you know Orwell was writing a [TS]

  straight novel where is Bradbury's [TS]

  reading pulp stories in the fellas and [TS]

  then threading them together and that's [TS]

  part of why this is in parts and part of [TS]

  why it's a little disjointed and put [TS]

  away just start suddenly becomes a chase [TS]

  and then suddenly ends it's like oh I [TS]

  hit I hit my number where the editor [TS]

  said it was good and that's it and he [TS]

  just kind of left to reach my workout [TS]

  i'm just thinking of the parallels now [TS]

  which I didn't really think before [TS]

  because in addition to him being a [TS]

  functionary you've got his his a boss [TS]

  who basically kind of like lets him in [TS]

  on the secrets and says it's okay and [TS]

  you know in this case Montague boss says [TS]

  you know everything happens every [TS]

  fireman you just bring the book back you [TS]

  get 24 hours it's not a big deal you [TS]

  know we'll we'll make it work and that [TS]

  that's similar to a point to what [TS]

  happens in 1984 the idea that there i [TS]

  mean it is a clever like elevator pitch [TS]

  which is in the future there are firemen [TS]

  but they start fire [TS]

  that's right that's right that's that's [TS]

  clever and he's and he's troubled and [TS]

  the Hound is an interesting character [TS]

  there's a lot of there's a lot of [TS]

  interesting stuff here the big screens [TS]

  and the the the the people who are [TS]

  obsessed with with television [TS]

  essentially although they're in Eric I'm [TS]

  sure that you have similar feelings to [TS]

  me it's like it is a very gendered [TS]

  portrayal it is [TS]

  oh the women with their soap operas are [TS]

  nattering on and they're so annoying and [TS]

  it's it you know it's not it's it's it's [TS]

  the women who are seen as as kind of [TS]

  throwing away their time on the on their [TS]

  on their stories [TS]

  yeah every single woman in the entire [TS]

  story is is that basically and then the [TS]

  men are either the firemen or the old [TS]

  guy who invents this magical machine and [TS]

  and loves books or a whole bunch of a [TS]

  hobo college professors I don't remember [TS]

  any women being in that group yeah other [TS]

  than Clarice is the only exception right [TS]

  who who is the young woman who you talk [TS]

  to him in both novels though it's a [TS]

  woman who's going to save you know the [TS]

  or or at least lift the spirits of the [TS]

  main character Clarice and Julia are [TS]

  parallel rhesus is really i mean i hate [TS]

  to use the word you know Matt Pixie [TS]

  dream girl but please is ambiguous [TS]

  exactly she asleep yeah prototype which [TS]

  is why I didn't quit her with women [TS]

  because she's a girl for sure Julia [TS]

  kinda is too will get there but I mean [TS]

  they're both kinda like that but yeah I [TS]

  mean they're not Katniss or anything if [TS]

  you see the movie day is Truffaut makes [TS]

  a couple of really good choices and one [TS]

  of them is he makes Clarice like 20 in [TS]

  her twenties she's a she's a [TS]

  schoolteacher and so that takes away a [TS]

  lot of kind of goofiness of Montag's [TS]

  infatuation with this teen girl [TS]

  the other thing that did Truffaut does [TS]

  is at the end of the book when montage [TS]

  makes it to the society of people who [TS]

  memorized the books the people they're [TS]

  actually sit there and memorize the [TS]

  books there's a wonderful sequence of [TS]

  the end of the movie where you see these [TS]

  people repeating the words of great [TS]

  literature out loud and they're trying [TS]

  to commit this to memory and it-it-it [TS]

  seen as an arduous and a very precarious [TS]

  task you can you feel like oh any second [TS]

  they're going to make a mistake [TS]

  you know Hamlet is going to suddenly [TS]

  become hamblett or something and it but [TS]

  but in the book it's all kind of like [TS]

  waved away like they say we've we've [TS]

  discovered a magical way to make people [TS]

  memorize books [TS]

  yeah I guess he's trying to get to like [TS]

  all tradition and connect that to books [TS]

  and say that this is all part of this [TS]

  long chain in human society but you know [TS]

  the irony here is if you go back to [TS]

  ancient sources the ancient Greeks were [TS]

  very distrustful of people starting to [TS]

  learn to write because they said now [TS]

  you're gonna lose your memory and that's [TS]

  terrible you know we're going like the [TS]

  idea of people writing down Homer [TS]

  because before then people memorize [TS]

  Homer I am kinda down on this but there [TS]

  are some moments in here that are pretty [TS]

  spectacular and the one that really [TS]

  worked for me is mon togs wife's [TS]

  attempted suicide because it's told so [TS]

  matter-of-factly and and and she just so [TS]

  she swallowed all the pills again and he [TS]

  called someone and they basically said [TS]

  like plumbers to the house to pump her [TS]

  stomach and layer down she doesn't get [TS]

  taken away and then the next day she [TS]

  doesn't even remember or think about it [TS]

  and you get the sense that this is [TS]

  something that she just she does and I [TS]

  what I like about that is not only is it [TS]

  super creepy but there's this [TS]

  undercurrent that like these people are [TS]

  miserable but won't let themselves [TS]

  believe they're miserable and their [TS]

  society is very helpful in not letting [TS]

  them die so they're just sort of stuck [TS]

  forever in this [TS]

  yeah like the plumber guys are like you [TS]

  know we've got three more calls like [TS]

  this we gotta go buddy it's not just her [TS]

  and then when he says what happens if [TS]

  she doesn't get any better and he's [TS]

  there i will just call us again will [TS]

  show up again [TS]

  yeah yeah so weird thats that really [TS]

  stuck with me that was a that was a a [TS]

  nice creepy moment of light because you [TS]

  know on the surface it is this sort of [TS]

  Sonny gave Sonny scene and then but [TS]

  beneath the surface it's just like oh [TS]

  yeah she tried to kill herself again [TS]

  will you know just call the guys and [TS]

  we'll fix it up until next time to his [TS]

  credit that was that was one of the [TS]

  moments that I enjoyed the most pros [TS]

  wise because that is one of the first [TS]

  times that we experience the jets flying [TS]

  overhead as well right you know he [TS]

  realizes when his wife is done at the [TS]

  same time like you know the sky is split [TS]

  by this the scream of a jacket or [TS]

  whatever it is and [TS]

  it was it was it was a beautiful moment [TS]

  in a lot of ways and then and then [TS]

  immediately went right back to being [TS]

  completely matter of fact and it's just [TS]

  these guys with their weird snake to to [TS]

  pump her stomach [TS]

  the thing I like the best was when favor [TS]

  spent like three pages explaining to [TS]

  Montague this exciting little earpiece [TS]

  he was going to give him because you [TS]

  because Montague was so blown away by [TS]

  the idea that there was this radio [TS]

  receiver that was going to stick into [TS]

  his ear and he lives in a world where [TS]

  they have freaking the hounds running [TS]

  around the place but this is what blows [TS]

  him away [TS]

  yeah it's weird it's a weird book there [TS]

  there there are things that i like but [TS]

  um well it's not sort of what i was [TS]

  expecting and I i don't think i would [TS]

  say that I i like the name on tagged [TS]

  isn't even like he's barely a character [TS]

  I mean we did we get his inner life but [TS]

  it didn't feel very lively which I guess [TS]

  is kind of part of the point because you [TS]

  know he's been downtrodden by his [TS]

  society but I feel like instead of you [TS]

  as his awakening into understanding that [TS]

  no books are important instead of that [TS]

  making him more interesting what it [TS]

  actually was the opposite i got more and [TS]

  more annoyed with him as his thinks when [TS]

  I was just like I don't care about you I [TS]

  don't care about the things that you [TS]

  think I'd I was more interested in favor [TS]

  like I wanted to see what he was gonna [TS]

  do but right now is just off to st. [TS]

  Louis or whatever and we didn't get to [TS]

  watch it is i mean it is a weird I guess [TS]

  it goes hand-in-hand with bribery's of [TS]

  take on this being a cultural kind of [TS]

  degradation that happens when society [TS]

  becomes disconnected from you know art [TS]

  and other things that are the roots of [TS]

  society and so it just becomes this [TS]

  materialistic you know it's just it's [TS]

  just fast cars and everybody's violent [TS]

  and that's all that that's all that is [TS]

  in the society is cars and and talking [TS]

  to your TV's in every single bribery [TS]

  short story someone dies [TS]

  I don't know what he's complaining about [TS]

  I mean he's the guy everyone who writes [TS]

  who's really running violator every [TS]

  yeah finances inside us all the only [TS]

  sort of the actual structure that you [TS]

  get about society is is the fireman like [TS]

  you don't hear a whole lot more about [TS]

  about other stuff you know you got the [TS]

  hound and the other police sort of [TS]

  chasing him but it it's implied that [TS]

  it's not a big deal to just run somebody [TS]

  over with a car because if somebody in a [TS]

  car turns around and to try to take a [TS]

  second run and Montague's he's trying to [TS]

  get away because they missing the first [TS]

  time so like they in and being shot is [TS]

  it's not a big deal because that happens [TS]

  to a bunch of people in the high school [TS]

  so it seems like there's probably not [TS]

  not a whole lot in the way of [TS]

  consequences for that sort of thing and [TS]

  then somewhere toward the end you get [TS]

  him or still one of the characters [TS]

  talking about how how this must be why [TS]

  other countries like outside of of their [TS]

  country hate them so much and that was [TS]

  one of the things that really made me [TS]

  think about the United States of today [TS]

  because I having since i moved to Canada [TS]

  I've realized that the sort of i want to [TS]

  say anti-american but just like home [TS]

  OMG America sentiment is but even [TS]

  stronger than I thought it was living in [TS]

  the States [TS]

  well I I still maintain that it is good [TS]

  book i liked it mostly because i think [TS]

  it appeals to my inner elitism and I [TS]

  think that more people should read books [TS]

  about has bad it is surely this out but [TS]

  it looks like you're gonna let your [TS]

  shiny gold flag shine don't hide your [TS]

  elitism under a bushel I I won't but you [TS]

  know either there was a study that just [TS]

  came out a little while ago that you [TS]

  know american adults like some [TS]

  ridiculous number have not read one book [TS]

  in the last year and that just blows my [TS]

  mind [TS]

  we have got to get political but we have [TS]

  a president who just does not like to [TS]

  read books which is struggling to meet I [TS]

  just feel like it's important and Ray [TS]

  Bradbury is writing to someone like me [TS]

  who feels like you know for every decade [TS]

  societies crumbling because not enough [TS]

  people read it's a perennial problem [TS]

  which I guess means it's not really a [TS]

  problem [TS]

  but I don't like it the incomparable is [TS]

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  Casper for sponsoring the uncomfortable [TS]

  alright let's let's talk let's go to the [TS]

  airstrip one and talk about nineteen [TS]

  eighty-four George Orwell is classic I I [TS]

  was telling my wife managed to never [TS]

  read this book i guess like Erica and [TS]

  she still has read it and I I [TS]

  said to her in the past i said to her [TS]

  again I i think it's worth a read [TS]

  I think it is one of the great books of [TS]

  the 20th century and I think there's a [TS]

  lot of great stuff in it [TS]

  I had no memory of it either other than [TS]

  little flashes i read this too young i [TS]

  would say I read this in 1984 but I was [TS]

  in eighth grade then and I think that [TS]

  that I could not understand a lot of the [TS]

  stuff i think i could have used another [TS]

  three or four years honestly and I would [TS]

  have appreciated a much more but i [TS]

  really appreciated going back as an [TS]

  adult to read it [TS]

  obviously this is set in a in a [TS]

  dystopian future that is now past I like [TS]

  that Star Trek does that a lot to its [TS]

  great the eighties oh my god it's the [TS]

  far future where uh where there's a [TS]

  totality is it the eighties we don't [TS]

  know he doesn't even know it probably is [TS]

  like 84 85 but he doesn't really [TS]

  actually even know what year it is it is [TS]

  a totalitarian government in the [TS]

  super-state one of three in the world of [TS]

  Virginia and airstrip one is the former [TS]

  great britain and he's in London winston [TS]

  smith and he works for the the party the [TS]

  English socialist party in stock and ma [TS]

  he works for uh hehe is a redactor [TS]

  essentially he revises old newspaper [TS]

  articles to reflect whatever the current [TS]

  political winds are and so if somebody [TS]

  is made to disappear or if if they cut [TS]

  the chocolate ration he might have to [TS]

  rewrite articles to make them seem like [TS]

  the chocolate ration was always that and [TS]

  it wasn't cut or perhaps was so low that [TS]

  that that the cut seems like a an [TS]

  increase and that's his job and he's a [TS]

  dissident and and doesn't really believe [TS]

  in all of this and has carved out a [TS]

  little hole in his apartment where he [TS]

  cannot be seen by the ever-present [TS]

  telescreens which our TV screens that [TS]

  cannot be shut off and can look at you [TS]

  two and which is very max headroom [TS]

  actually uh yeah so that that's a that [TS]

  is 1984 it is a it I really well [TS]

  did I enjoy reading it isn't 1984 meant [TS]

  to be enjoyed [TS]

  I suspect not but I appreciated the the [TS]

  work of it overall whatever whatever [TS]

  else is history with this thing Erica [TS]

  you knew [TS]

  never read it before no i didnt the ID [TS]

  this book was not one that was required [TS]

  in for any of the classes that I like in [TS]

  my school so it wasn't even around that [TS]

  other classes were reading it I just [TS]

  kind of knew of it because you know it's [TS]

  been part of the part of society for so [TS]

  long kind of slipped the phrase big [TS]

  brother is watching is something that [TS]

  churn even I I knew even before Big [TS]

  Brother the reality TV show ya where [TS]

  Bradbury shakes his fist somewhere [TS]

  John reality baby thank you thank you [TS]

  are well for for that show you know ya [TS]

  huh [TS]

  but yeah so it was it was interesting to [TS]

  watch you know I think if watch read huh [TS]

  watch the pages was just why right but [TS]

  the thing is i did watch the the John [TS]

  Hurt version of the movie as well and [TS]

  let's let's not talk about no yeah I i [TS]

  do agree that it is a good book it is [TS]

  not I I didn't enjoy it either but I [TS]

  think I don't know when [TS]

  laughs enjoy still weird word to use [TS]

  because i think that it if you get [TS]

  something out of it that sort of counts [TS]

  as enjoyment on on some level and i'm [TS]

  not even sure I got that out of it i [TS]

  think it's a very well done book is [TS]

  doing what it try it was trying to do [TS]

  fairly solidly but it's not a thing that [TS]

  I'm like I'm I guess I'm kind of glad i [TS]

  read it once but but i don't know at [TS]

  this point in history it was much more [TS]

  difficult to read than i expected it to [TS]

  me and I expected it to be difficult i [TS]

  feel like there's a basic cultural [TS]

  literacy though about it but there's so [TS]

  much refers to it that knowing the [TS]

  details of it i think is helpful in just [TS]

  how people refer to it because it is it [TS]

  is such a part of me has such a currency [TS]

  and in so many different terms that we [TS]

  use now I feel like it's got gain that [TS]

  cultural status that like of the Mona [TS]

  Lisa where you don't even you can't [TS]

  experience the Mona Lisa you are just [TS]

  experience the experience of CM the mona [TS]

  lisa station so it's kind of like you [TS]

  know you don't really need to read 1984 [TS]

  to reference 1984 understand i think [TS]

  reading it makes it much better [TS]

  whatever that means right you you [TS]

  understand the full importance but i'm [TS]

  sure that you should read the books you [TS]

  should be doing that is my bold step [TS]

  looks best when red is what you're [TS]

  saying [TS]

  got it did you remember this book uh I [TS]

  remember reading it I remember account [TS]

  that I knew nothing of what happened i [TS]

  remember the telescreens and big brother [TS]

  always watching but that was about all i [TS]

  read i remembered i remember too happy [TS]

  ending and there's not a happy ending in [TS]

  this book so I don't know where I came [TS]

  from with that but I don't know he seems [TS]

  pretty happy at the end he looked big [TS]

  brother us it was great [TS]

  it's a love story John what's your from [TS]

  1984 experience [TS]

  oh I I read this in high school I wasn't [TS]

  it was assigned to me we had animal farm [TS]

  assigned to us by red 1984 i was reading [TS]

  a bunch of the air air how you mention [TS]

  they vote in the early eighties for [TS]

  these really grungy dystopias i think it [TS]

  was something about the Reagan years era [TS]

  that did that but i read this i read a [TS]

  clockwork orange or red all these things [TS]

  and at the time it seemed funnier to me [TS]

  is it as a high school student i guess [TS]

  here yeah I thought I was too cool for [TS]

  school and kind of cynical as i read it [TS]

  now it's just kind of unrelentingly [TS]

  depressing and it's so it's so [TS]

  oppressive and/or will makes this point [TS]

  very early on and i think the other [TS]

  thing that has happened in the time [TS]

  since then as I've read a lot of [TS]

  Orwell's essays and I think that he's a [TS]

  better a serious than he is a novelist [TS]

  and certainly a lot of the ideas that he [TS]

  covers in 1984 are covered in his essay [TS]

  politics in the English language which [TS]

  is one of the greatest asset is written [TS]

  in English the other greatest SI being [TS]

  shooting an elephant which is also by [TS]

  george orwell and-and-and there he's [TS]

  allowed to be a little bit more direct a [TS]

  little bit more [TS]

  he's not playing with irony the way that [TS]

  he is in this book and so it's a little [TS]

  bit more [TS]

  he's a little more decent to the reader [TS]

  this is kind of I I agree [TS]

  you can't judge a book on whether or not [TS]

  you it brings you enjoyment in the sense [TS]

  that you feel a thrill [TS]

  there are certainly points to this book [TS]

  where you feel chills or you profoundly [TS]

  disturbed and there are profoundly [TS]

  starkly beautiful images but there's [TS]

  also a lot of that xserve expositional [TS]

  writing where people spend a lot of time [TS]

  saying as you know this this is the [TS]

  society we live in [TS]

  but let me explain it to you anyway let [TS]

  me read you this book that explains [TS]

  everything [TS]

  see that that's something that you can [TS]

  tell that he is an SAS and this actually [TS]

  reminded me to of brave new world which [TS]

  which john i read for sophomore lid on [TS]

  74 you haven't done an episode about [TS]

  that for sophomore let ya know it's [TS]

  pretty striking while the iron is hot [TS]

  you just read it you don't have to read [TS]

  together on the both of those books [TS]

  basically stopped for you to read [TS]

  another work that is going to be quoted [TS]

  at length and I always felt like that [TS]

  was kind of a a cheap trick that that [TS]

  it's basically like here's this book by [TS]

  Manuel goldsteins you should read it and [TS]

  then like we proceeded to read large [TS]

  passenger but yes I was gonna say you [TS]

  know I that Johnny I believe you that he [TS]

  is a better SAS know but you know I've [TS]

  never read any of his essays oh wait yes [TS]

  I have this right it looks like you know [TS]

  you know yeah and that was that stuff [TS]

  when he's like okay as a novelist she's [TS]

  like throwing up his hands like all [TS]

  right I'm gonna have a marine SI and [TS]

  here it is that was kind of the point [TS]

  that I sort of just jumped off in this [TS]

  now i really like the topic I ain't [TS]

  enjoyed the beginning because i was sort [TS]

  of you know feeling out the edges of [TS]

  this world from the perspective of the [TS]

  main character and I think thought that [TS]

  was very skillfully done it was really [TS]

  interesting to discover the way the [TS]

  world worked piece by piece as it was [TS]

  being revealed to us through the eyes of [TS]

  this Porsche lobby character but as we [TS]

  went on this Porsche lobby character [TS]

  that kind of same as in Fahrenheit 451 [TS]

  I didn't really care that much about the [TS]

  character and yes again i'm sure it was [TS]

  it is a part of that world you don't [TS]

  have all that much in her life because [TS]

  you've been so stamped down from the [TS]

  outside but it there was real [TS]

  nothing once I've kind of gotten an idea [TS]

  of the world he inhabited nothing that [TS]

  sort of drew me to him and then we get [TS]

  this female character who I'm excited by [TS]

  it first and then realize oh no she's [TS]

  not really treated hell that well either [TS]

  from the point of view of the of the [TS]

  writer she doesn't she doesn't care [TS]

  about anything she wants to get laid [TS]

  okay well so I just and then there's the [TS]

  essay and at that point I was just like [TS]

  I don't care anymore excusing the rest [TS]

  of this sucker i can see both sides of [TS]

  it right because yes on one level [TS]

  she's just having sex with people but on [TS]

  another level i would say this is her [TS]

  act of rebellion against the state she's [TS]

  forced to be in the anti-sex League you [TS]

  know all these things and this is her [TS]

  act of rebellion which was good i I [TS]

  thought that was cool and then you know [TS]

  it but then and then she falls in love [TS]

  with him which I have mixed feelings [TS]

  about you know love love can be great [TS]

  but then that becomes her only defining [TS]

  character characteristic for the rest of [TS]

  the book she doesn't really care about [TS]

  rebelling against Big Brother she's only [TS]

  doing what she's doing [TS]

  so that she can be close to the man that [TS]

  she has fallen in love with after all [TS]

  that sexy show so sharp edged up to the [TS]

  up to that point and then she just kind [TS]

  of recedes into the background right [TS]

  after that you [TS]

  yeah David I didn't give you a chance to [TS]

  weigh in here [TS]

  yeah I i actually had the commemorative [TS]

  1984 edition right when the sort of [TS]

  blocky chunky letter up lettering on the [TS]

  cover when i read in 8th grade and and [TS]

  but i but i never got through it until [TS]

  1988-89 in senior year and yeah it [TS]

  it reads really differently when your [TS]

  teen because you know at that point you [TS]

  know I'd been reading a lot of science [TS]

  fiction but so I appreciate the world [TS]

  building and you're kinda like all these [TS]

  cool slogans oh that's a clever [TS]

  combination of words no doublethink ya [TS]

  ando mini true [TS]

  whoo that's great and and then you start [TS]

  getting into the the characters and the [TS]

  story you're like okay that's you know [TS]

  and then you hit the essay [TS]

  yeah and now it's the you know the world [TS]

  building is still very good but now you [TS]

  see after 25 some 30 years [TS]

  you see the the combinations of words [TS]

  and the double think the inn in real [TS]

  life and you're going oh that's not [TS]

  really clever with world-building that's [TS]

  actually happening [TS]

  Oh God and it's much darker and more [TS]

  depressing so I mean it i would say it [TS]

  is a great book i can't say i like it [TS]

  but it's a great book you have to you [TS]

  should read it one of the nice things in [TS]

  that a.m animal farm episode of [TS]

  sophomore lid which is good i recommend [TS]

  it to people it's a it's a really fun [TS]

  episode [TS]

  although John you and Elliot sort of [TS]

  spent a lot of time like not talking [TS]

  about the book before perfect talking [TS]

  about the book but the point that I [TS]

  think Elliot made in that episode is [TS]

  george orwell eric blair was a socialist [TS]

  but he was also waste a pretty strident [TS]

  anti Stalinist and that a lot of his [TS]

  work is commentary on you know it's not [TS]

  just about like future peril it's about [TS]

  the Soviet Union and about the way that [TS]

  information is controlled in the Soviet [TS]

  Union and so great you know that that is [TS]

  you know some of what he's doing here is [TS]

  not is not a warning about the future [TS]

  it's a warning about his present and I [TS]

  think that's kind of one interesting way [TS]

  of looking at it also getting back to [TS]

  him being an SAS yeah you can really [TS]

  read this whole book as being somebody [TS]

  who is really interested in the idea of [TS]

  a new language that suppresses nuanced [TS]

  and that you can control your society by [TS]

  coming up with a new language and that [TS]

  he kind of built a whole story around [TS]

  that because at its core I think [TS]

  sometimes the Newspeak is what this is [TS]

  kind of about and the fact that it ends [TS]

  with a lengthy essay about Newspeak that [TS]

  is interestingly enough and this is the [TS]

  glimmer of hope it is written kind of [TS]

  from an in world perspective word is [TS]

  referred to as something that happened [TS]

  in the past but it's written standard [TS]

  English so the suggestion is that in the [TS]

  end this regime did fall and that [TS]

  English standard English returned [TS]

  because of that sa but I but you know [TS]

  that aside it sort of feels to me like [TS]

  the essay was really wanted to do [TS]

  andrea was a way to explore those [TS]

  concepts about what if we had you know [TS]

  double plus good and I'm good and you [TS]

  know I and and boiling the language down [TS]

  to this tiny controlled set of words one [TS]

  that was kind of thing at the time right [TS]

  taking a thought experiment and building [TS]

  it out and then turning it into a novel [TS]

  and say okay what would we do in this [TS]

  situation and and so it's not written [TS]

  like like a prose craftsman like coming [TS]

  up with a great plot and prose [TS]

  everything it's it's how can we tell [TS]

  this lesson through fiction and you know [TS]

  the Inklings doodle did it a little bit [TS]

  and r and then it a little bit [TS]

  there's I mean there's literally like a [TS]

  hundred and fifty page segment of Atlas [TS]

  Shrugged that is a radio speech that [TS]

  supposedly takes an hour and like no [TS]

  that's about five days I i think that [TS]

  it's worth reading this book simply for [TS]

  this very reason because today we're so [TS]

  steeped in server a post Raymond Carver [TS]

  world where in the literary world at [TS]

  least the the pinnacle of literature is [TS]

  writing convincing characters and [TS]

  writing convincing dialogue and having [TS]

  this and run these moments that feel [TS]

  real and we've got we've gotten kind of [TS]

  so into that and we forgot that there [TS]

  are other ways to write books and [TS]

  certainly I think the mid-century [TS]

  everyone was writing [TS]

  ideabooks I mean with brave new world [TS]

  was ideabook this is an idea but yeah a [TS]

  lot of science fiction around this time [TS]

  are ideabooks but a lot of major works [TS]

  of literature are were ideabooks too i [TS]

  think what's interesting when you when [TS]

  you mentioned that Jason that the last [TS]

  essay they're being written serve in [TS]

  World the about the Newspeak it actually [TS]

  reminded me why I was reading it through [TS]

  of the fact the appendix to the [TS]

  handmaid's tale which is also lets it [TS]

  was sort of this ostensibly scholarly [TS]

  look back on the book you've just read [TS]

  and it kind of it has very strict a [TS]

  strange effect where your kind of [TS]

  invited to look at this whole book that [TS]

  you've wrapped in now as well we don't [TS]

  know whether this was true or not or [TS]

  whether this was a work of propaganda [TS]

  or what it was and up till now you've [TS]

  been very deeply invested in the the [TS]

  characters and and that's a lot of [TS]

  people point to that ending of the book [TS]

  is though it's something kind of a Miss [TS]

  misstep almost i don't know i don't want [TS]

  to read that book but it had that same [TS]

  effect at the end of 94 of kind of [TS]

  popping me out of this world and making [TS]

  me look at everything as you know ideas [TS]

  and stand-ins for you know Stalinism or [TS]

  whatever it's funny you mentioned [TS]

  margaret atwood right because one of the [TS]

  pieces that i read in prepping for this [TS]

  podcast isn't is an essay by margaret [TS]

  atwood about that final essay in 1984 so [TS]

  i think was definitely hiring [TS]

  influential to her [TS]

  perhaps what even when writing [TS]

  handmaid's tale and she she's one of [TS]

  those people who believes that you know [TS]

  you need to read it as a not just you [TS]

  know it's not written as hey it's me [TS]

  george orwell let me talk about Newspeak [TS]

  it's like scholarly work in world and [TS]

  you know science fiction readers are [TS]

  more used to that conceit maybe then [TS]

  then people who are reading more [TS]

  mainstream stuff but it's an important [TS]

  distinction that it's it's sort of not [TS]

  breaking the the the wall in order to [TS]

  talk about how the book was done it's [TS]

  been it's instead this retrospective [TS]

  thing but I mean you also see that this [TS]

  is what drives him this is the thing [TS]

  stuff he's most interested in we've seen [TS]

  it in something like politics in the [TS]

  English language this is the stuff that [TS]

  george orwell was fascinated by and that [TS]

  the story itself i do think the story [TS]

  suffers in from modernize in the fact [TS]

  that we have seen a lot of dystopias now [TS]

  and and so perhaps it in 1949 this would [TS]

  have been a lot fresher but a lot of [TS]

  people have done this kind of dystopian [TS]

  since then so there's there's less [TS]

  shocked in in in what you see in it [TS]

  although they're funny moments I mean [TS]

  you you know that the the it's almost [TS]

  like a comedy gag where he keeps taking [TS]

  out of cigarettes and the tobacco flies [TS]

  out of them [TS]

  that's money and make and and they talk [TS]

  about the victory gin which I mean I [TS]

  don't even want to know what's in it but [TS]

  it's he describes in detail and its [TS]

  second and it sounds terrible oily yeah [TS]

  that's good in the end the coffee that's [TS]

  not any good and the chocolate rations [TS]

  which when he finally have some real [TS]

  chocolate he describes what the actual [TS]

  chocolate tastes like after complaining [TS]

  about them cutting the rations and it's [TS]

  like something that was from like some [TS]

  it's like the Ash left over after [TS]

  something burned is what the chocolate [TS]

  tastes like so there's i do think that [TS]

  there's some funny things in there too [TS]

  or when O'Brien uh gives him a drink and [TS]

  since it's called wine [TS]

  yeah well as for i knows this is [TS]

  something i was i was gonna ask erica to [TS]

  how much of knowing the tropes and [TS]

  knowing the details you know coming at [TS]

  this fresh it's it's you know you don't [TS]

  know those things and like even my my [TS]

  children no big brother than a Winston [TS]

  Smith they know we have always they do [TS]

  jokes we have always been at war with my [TS]

  brother right now see I didn't even know [TS]

  that they haven't read the book right [TS]

  but they've seen references to it online [TS]

  they've seen references and TV shows or [TS]

  other things and so we were talking it [TS]

  over like the other day the 15 year olds [TS]

  like when he reading is 1984 and the int [TS]

  runs through all these things [TS]

  war is peace and you know and then a [TS]

  commercial for whose adaptation of the [TS]

  handmade and the handmaid's tale comes [TS]

  on and he's riveted he's like what's [TS]

  that [TS]

  so it's based on a book by margaret [TS]

  atwood what's going on well here's the [TS]

  basic story and he got more and more [TS]

  upset as i was telling him just like the [TS]

  blurb from the book right and that's not [TS]

  even you know that's like the tiniest [TS]

  amount of detail of the thing and I [TS]

  think i'm curious to see what happens if [TS]

  and when he reads that without any of [TS]

  the preamble that he had four 1984 like [TS]

  1984 he knows it right [TS]

  yeah he's hurt at all yeah well I've I [TS]

  felt like I really only had the very [TS]

  broadest broad strokes I I knew even [TS]

  less than your kids did I didn't know [TS]

  the characters name you know if I heard [TS]

  the phrase Ministry of Truth didn't [TS]

  actually know what it referred to and [TS]

  they knew that long five uses the same [TS]

  terms and that's a 94 reference you [TS]

  might have gotten it from there [TS]

  that actually probably is where i doing [TS]

  and it's another 30 number huh and and [TS]

  yes I used Italian totalitarian society [TS]

  and he and I knew the big brother you [TS]

  know they were they were being watched [TS]

  all the time and i think i heard that [TS]

  police that really that was it I mean [TS]

  for me it was it was sort of like I had [TS]

  these tentpole phrases and everything [TS]

  was just sort of coloring in and filling [TS]

  it in but I certainly as difficult as it [TS]

  was to read in part because of the way [TS]

  the world is today but it's still [TS]

  nothing compared to what I experienced [TS]

  when i read The Handmaid's Tale which [TS]

  many years ago because that actually [TS]

  felt like a personal story told right [TS]

  the point of view of a character [TS]

  this was the outline of a character who [TS]

  was you know sort of swooping his way [TS]

  through this world and the world [TS]

  illustrate the worldly matters [TS]

  yeah I will say also that not to get to [TS]

  trivialize this but I mean when you get [TS]

  to the point where star trek the next [TS]

  generation does an entire hour about [TS]

  breaking a character in a bit and [TS]

  torture chamber in order to get them to [TS]

  say two plus two is five essentially i [TS]

  think that we've you know as a society [TS]

  we have as a as a pop culture we have [TS]

  processed what happens in the last act [TS]

  1984 and kind of spat it out the other [TS]

  side now so as effective as it is i [TS]

  think that at the same time like we've [TS]

  all processed it now and that that is I [TS]

  feel bad because that you know this is [TS]

  this is what happens to works that are [TS]

  this influential is that it's hard to [TS]

  judge them as being as influential [TS]

  unites deserving as they should be [TS]

  because all of it has you know it [TS]

  seriously you read that and you're like [TS]

  oh yeah there are there are four lights [TS]

  right i mean it's like it's the same [TS]

  thing and it's like yeah okay but almost [TS]

  every 1960 spy TV show did a variation [TS]

  on the Asher sequence right was always [TS]

  let's play the entire here in our room [TS]

  and break him and the entirety of the [TS]

  prisoners especially and and when I was [TS]

  so young adult novels and held today [TS]

  exactly right so that you see that [TS]

  influence influential nature of it but [TS]

  that makes it hard to kind of you know [TS]

  it's hard to hard to judge it there i [TS]

  wanted the the thing decor this we [TS]

  talked about it a little bit but the [TS]

  thing that really i think has the most [TS]

  residents is [TS]

  is this idea of information and [TS]

  controlling information and and yes and [TS]

  language and how people talk and the [TS]

  idea of getting people to believe things [TS]

  it in the in a way like fahrenheit 451 [TS]

  some of the people don't care but also [TS]

  its this complete control like if we [TS]

  tell you something that is false and and [TS]

  say it's true then you will believe it [TS]

  and if you if you try to check up on us [TS]

  you will find that all of the [TS]

  information its kind of gas lighting on [TS]

  a grand scale like then all of your all [TS]

  of your all of your reference material [TS]

  will agree with the lie and at one point [TS]

  Smith and when he's being tortured says [TS]

  to himself well everything in the world [TS]

  happens in our minds as interpreted by [TS]

  our minds and every mind believes this [TS]

  thing to be true then is it not true and [TS]

  I thought I found that fascinating the [TS]

  idea that that its core this is a book [TS]

  about complete control of information [TS]

  and that if you can control information [TS]

  you control reality because that's all [TS]

  that is required [TS]

  yeah I i used to work at a biotech [TS]

  company that in was interested the CEO [TS]

  is interested in research into the brain [TS]

  and some really kind of out-there stuff [TS]

  and we would have conferences from time [TS]

  to time and some of the presentations of [TS]

  the conference's talking about brain [TS]

  chemistry and the way the human brain [TS]

  processes its input and you know what [TS]

  what the nature of reality is and how [TS]

  much it's actually based on the [TS]

  chemicals in the brain and what [TS]

  receptors they happen to attach [TS]

  themselves to the idea that that yeah [TS]

  that everybody just choosing to believe [TS]

  something different and in that this one [TS]

  character is the guy who's actually [TS]

  crazy and it's everybody else that's [TS]

  saying isn't that far off from some of [TS]

  the the the research and the the [TS]

  theories that I had learned about the [TS]

  path so that was that was uncomfortable [TS]

  in an entirely different level like oh [TS]

  my god what what if he did flowed out of [TS]

  the room but that could be a thing so [TS]

  yeah it was trippy it's also i mean [TS]

  talking about the earpiece in fahrenheit [TS]

  451 and there's some there's some [TS]

  interesting tech and brave new world [TS]

  that John and I talked about an event [TS]

  that episode of sophomore lit in 1984 [TS]

  I'm struck by the [TS]

  it is in a totalitarian state with [TS]

  complete surveillance like Winston Smith [TS]

  got his little cubbyhole where he cannot [TS]

  make noise but he can write in his [TS]

  notebook without being seen by the [TS]

  telescreen but I'm struck by the fact [TS]

  that there's no I mean other than [TS]

  essentially CCTV there's no like [TS]

  location surveillance so it nor is there [TS]

  a it seems like a like a data trail kind [TS]

  of concept so he's able to get on a [TS]

  train out into the country and walk [TS]

  around and end up in the woods and then [TS]

  meet Julia and he's able to do that [TS]

  maybe they go by different means in case [TS]

  they're followed but I did think oh haha [TS]

  yeah you can do that today right because [TS]

  you would have to explain why your cell [TS]

  phone wasn't on or leave it behind and [TS]

  you'd be you have to pay for the ticket [TS]

  with a code that is tied to you and all [TS]

  these things that I kept thinking about [TS]

  how there would be plenty more [TS]

  technology has created plenty more ways [TS]

  to exert control over population than [TS]

  then you even see in 1984 [TS]

  yeah and actually in in that case it's [TS]

  almost a little more fahrenheit 451 [TS]

  esque in that you know the population [TS]

  has voluntarily given up information [TS]

  about where they are i mean how many [TS]

  people have their GPS just turned on [TS]

  their cell phone all the time whereas [TS]

  you know if they if they did have that [TS]

  technology right it would be very [TS]

  difficult for them to to sneak away [TS]

  yeah it's interesting it's an [TS]

  interesting world in that there's [TS]

  actually very little high technology in [TS]

  this world it's it's all just kind of [TS]

  reconfiguring things that sort of [TS]

  existed in 1948 when he was writing this [TS]

  book but the the and the other thing [TS]

  that's interesting to me is that the [TS]

  proletariat class [TS]

  it seems to be kind of left to their own [TS]

  devices they seem to be they seem to [TS]

  have more of a connection to the past [TS]

  and what's interesting is that being a [TS]

  member of the upper class seems to be a [TS]

  trap as far as as Winston is concerned [TS]

  but it it it's remarkable in a way this [TS]

  book you know I was talking about how [TS]

  Bradbury as a kind of an autodidact was [TS]

  kind of pushing his way up [TS]

  and making a case for elitism or well [TS]

  came from a server impoverished [TS]

  gentility he is like his grandfather had [TS]

  a noble title i don't think it it [TS]

  persisted to is his day but he went [TS]

  through you know all the education [TS]

  everything but but he let his life like [TS]

  living amongst the slums and he actually [TS]

  wrote a book about like living rough in [TS]

  the streets of Paris and London and so [TS]

  he has this kind of a romantic view of [TS]

  what it means to be poor and it's kinda [TS]

  like you know the pulp song common [TS]

  people i always feel it's kind of a [TS]

  little bit uh it's a little bit [TS]

  condescending I i'm struck the polls are [TS]

  very interesting in this because they [TS]

  they have their they have the bars and [TS]

  they they get to drink beer and they can [TS]

  be those of they can read things I mean [TS]

  it the the whatever they said seventeen [TS]

  percent of the population who can read [TS]

  and they have their lottery that they [TS]

  talk about I mean you you get it is a [TS]

  little bit of like the preparations for [TS]

  like they have sport they have like [TS]

  football and beer and things like that [TS]

  and they're there in some ways they seem [TS]

  happier than the miserable people in the [TS]

  party in the outer party like winston [TS]

  smith that's interesting also a unlike [TS]

  something like like brave new world [TS]

  which is is weird and creepy but it's [TS]

  also super shiny and futuristic one of [TS]

  the things that Orwell doesn't do here [TS]

  is have 1984b futuristic anyway there [TS]

  are the telescreens and they provide [TS]

  this this complete viewing of everybody [TS]

  they can see you but like the world is [TS]

  just awful like its battered and [TS]

  everything is rationed and they the [TS]

  things other than the government [TS]

  buildings everything is run down and you [TS]

  can get this grimy you get the sense [TS]

  that the whole world yeah there's that [TS]

  moment where he goes to fix the [TS]

  neighbors the pipe in the neighbors sink [TS]

  and he looks at her and says she looks [TS]

  almost like she has dust in the cracks [TS]

  you know in the increases in her face [TS]

  and then she stands in better light was [TS]

  like oh she does she does have dust on [TS]

  her face because everything is just [TS]

  dusty and grey and green [TS]

  and battered and falling apart and I [TS]

  kinda like that about it that this is [TS]

  Aidan you know it's not a futuristic [TS]

  world where we've traded our freedom for [TS]

  comfort [TS]

  it is a drab awful totalitarian [TS]

  government where nobody has anything he [TS]

  tries to find out find an old pro who [TS]

  could tell him like was it better in the [TS]

  old days who cannot answer his question [TS]

  but I I like that about it yeah and that [TS]

  ties into what John was saying earlier [TS]

  about the technology really just sort of [TS]

  you know somewhat being a rehash of the [TS]

  technology that they had him and he [TS]

  makes a point in one of the sah parts [TS]

  i'm talking about why that happens [TS]

  because you're quashing so much of the [TS]

  the creativity in the free thought I [TS]

  mean the one person the guy who was [TS]

  helping make the Newspeak dictionary the [TS]

  11th version i had actually had such a [TS]

  quick mind and with was an intelligent [TS]

  fellow my mind of course Winston Winston [TS]

  yes once knew he was going to disappear [TS]

  and then and then he did because anybody [TS]

  who is it is smart and creative enough [TS]

  to come up with a new technology that [TS]

  would be helpful for everyone gets gets [TS]

  disappeared and vaporize pretty quick [TS]

  and he mentions that the all the [TS]

  engineers are set to just improving the [TS]

  weapons that can kill people [TS]

  weapons that can kill people [TS]

  when they already have the the nuclear [TS]

  bomb that can kill most effectively but [TS]

  they spend all their time you know [TS]

  making poison gas and floating [TS]

  fortresses that are slightly better than [TS]

  others just to use up the resources so [TS]

  that nobody can be happy [TS]

  yes I'm story is really great because [TS]

  that is a that is a wonderful bit piece [TS]

  of I think satire as well which is which [TS]

  is Simon is a true believer right he [TS]

  believes in the party and everything [TS]

  that's going on but he's still a threat [TS]

  because he's too smart and he he don't [TS]

  want they don't want people who are that [TS]

  intelligent and can think that far ahead [TS]

  because that is dangerous to the party [TS]

  the party doesn't want outliers even if [TS]

  they're on the parties side and so sign [TS]

  is doomed [TS]

  even though he's totally on the side of [TS]

  the party because he's just he's too [TS]

  bright and to creative and that is a [TS]

  that is a very cutting thing about how [TS]

  like this is not this is not a system [TS]

  designed to bring out the best in people [TS]

  and to advance the best people it is it [TS]

  is meant to crush everybody even at its [TS]

  own death into its own detriment which [TS]

  is what happens [TS]

  yeah and the character of persons who is [TS]

  kind of the opposite is he's he's an [TS]

  idiot but he's totally into the party [TS]

  and he is he's all for it [TS]

  he he does the activities he raises the [TS]

  money for the bunting he's teaching his [TS]

  kids to be good and of course they spy [TS]

  on him and his supposedly in his sleep [TS]

  he was talking about death big brother [TS]

  and so he ends up in prison and one [TS]

  assumes killed sure you're wanted on the [TS]

  core 101 right yeah yeah it's a young [TS]

  person's Parsons rides rises high in the [TS]

  party because he is he is he's dumb and [TS]

  and a true believer right and so he's [TS]

  he's not threatening in any way I [TS]

  actually I mean if you back it out like [TS]

  in brave new world there are a lot of we [TS]

  see into the inner workings of the kind [TS]

  of titans who control that society and [TS]

  in 1984 we don't like we see a Brian [TS]

  who's in the inner party and he's got [TS]

  wine to prove it right but like big [TS]

  brother is strongly and prot implied [TS]

  that big brother does not exist and [TS]

  perhaps never did exist and you do one [TS]

  of the things i kinda like also about [TS]

  this society is [TS]

  it's like an empty machine like the [TS]

  society is running itself at this point [TS]

  there is no dictator to speak of [TS]

  there is just the party and it's [TS]

  completely faceless and that's [TS]

  interesting because if there are people [TS]

  in positions of power then they can be [TS]

  corrupt and they can be taken advantage [TS]

  of or they can overthrow the system and [TS]

  in 1984 i think one of the chilling [TS]

  things about it is there are no leaders [TS]

  that it's just a blank machine [TS]

  big brother is as far as we can tell not [TS]

  even a real person [TS]

  everybody's just cogs man yeah even [TS]

  though Brian right although I i went [TS]

  from a plot perspective ask i'm not [TS]

  quite sure why O'Brien invest all the [TS]

  time he does into inviting Winston at [TS]

  and Julia over and talking to them and [TS]

  giving them the book and then they get [TS]

  him and then they spend all this time [TS]

  deconstructing again is are they doing [TS]

  it you know he's doing it for fun is [TS]

  this to keep O'Brien busy it seems like [TS]

  a lot of work to just screw around with [TS]

  this one guy who's just rewriting [TS]

  newspaper articles it it may just be to [TS]

  keep him entertained you know [TS]

  yeah well i think i've read it is [TS]

  O'Brien is a zealot and this is his [TS]

  passion is making minds perfect before [TS]

  they shoot them [TS]

  yeah and you know here's here's where [TS]

  the heat he sees an opportunity because [TS]

  I mean it seems like he planted that [TS]

  seed himself seven years ago because I [TS]

  mean unless unless we're supposed to [TS]

  believe that Winston is psychic somehow [TS]

  which I doubt O'Brien that's somehow [TS]

  spoke to him probably through the Big [TS]

  Brother screen saying we will be no one [TS]

  beat in the place where never any [TS]

  darkness or darkness never falls [TS]

  whatever it be exact scripters so yeah [TS]

  so so really he has it you know he this [TS]

  is this is past time he gets off on it [TS]

  you know he's not a serial killer he's a [TS]

  serial reshape ER killer the cereal [TS]

  grain washer and I think I imagine it's [TS]

  his job to to root out these kind of [TS]

  people who they think will be [TS]

  troublesome because it seems clear at [TS]

  the end that they knew everything that [TS]

  Winston was doing yeah along every step [TS]

  so he had no [TS]

  you know real free freedom to do what he [TS]

  was doing he thought it was getting away [TS]

  with everything he wasn't getting with [TS]

  anything and so I think it's just the [TS]

  system policing itself and just [TS]

  self-perpetuating and then you create a [TS]

  resistance I mean that the the whole [TS]

  Emmanuel Goldstein thing and and [TS]

  creating enemies and creating and then [TS]

  showing them being dispatched I mean you [TS]

  could argue that that's also what's [TS]

  going on here is one way to prevent [TS]

  their from being a real resistance is by [TS]

  having a lot of thought police acting [TS]

  like they're the resistance and sort of [TS]

  snagging those interesting people and at [TS]

  that point one you either get caught by [TS]

  the thought police or to you become so [TS]

  petrified that anybody could be the [TS]

  thought police that you do nothing at [TS]

  which point you know either way there's [TS]

  no resistance and then the acts of [TS]

  resistance are meaningless anyway so [TS]

  like having sex you you're not supposed [TS]

  to enjoy sex but it doesn't really [TS]

  matter if you do or not but then you [TS]

  think you're getting away with something [TS]

  that you're not you're just doing with [TS]

  the party wants to do anything but [TS]

  Winston I think Winston feels that way [TS]

  to right i mean he he says that he he [TS]

  knows he's going to be killed for this [TS]

  he knows he's going to be caught and [TS]

  killed he does it anyway [TS]

  he also believes that the one thing they [TS]

  can't take away from him [TS]

  is that what he thinks he's turned his [TS]

  hatred of Big Brother and at the end he [TS]

  loves big brother [TS]

  yep yep although he does I mean he does [TS]

  say I he's doing he's doing double think [TS]

  at that point right he is he is holding [TS]

  within his heart the knowledge that he [TS]

  has this other set of thoughts but he's [TS]

  not you know but he's also also loving [TS]

  big brother i think i found that ending [TS]

  a little less concrete than i did when i [TS]

  read it as a teenager about about where [TS]

  it Winston Smith really leaves off in [TS]

  that he loved big brother I don't [TS]

  entirely believe that he truly loves big [TS]

  brother big brother and that's all in [TS]

  that moment I mean maybe it's enough but [TS]

  I i don't i don't believe it as much as [TS]

  I used to I feel like butt but even if [TS]

  he's capable of doing doublethink which [TS]

  is what the whole party was your party [TS]

  has one anyway yes oh yeah no doubt [TS]

  about that [TS]

  although there is an earlier you know [TS]

  when it ends he has you know he's fallen [TS]

  in love with big brother but he hasn't [TS]

  been shot yet [TS]

  earlier on you here have been like [TS]

  thinking to himself about how if you can [TS]

  just keep one tiny little corner of [TS]

  himself and you know let that corner but [TS]

  let that hatred hatred flag fly at the [TS]

  moment before he was shot right back of [TS]

  the head then then he will have one [TS]

  right so it's it is ambiguous and in the [TS]

  very very end [TS]

  does he manage to to unleash that hatred [TS]

  in that fury before he is actually dead [TS]

  we don't know yet what it what it [TS]

  doesn't do is the book does not end with [TS]

  that moment of it doesn't like The [TS]

  Sopranos right where it's like is that [TS]

  guy coming to kill me or is this just [TS]

  another day but that is the position [TS]

  that he's in right which is which is [TS]

  he's been given this cushy job where [TS]

  people that was kind of funny too [TS]

  he's on like a subcommittee of the [TS]

  subcommittee where people show up [TS]

  sometimes they don't show up and [TS]

  sometimes the show up and they just [TS]

  leave because there's nothing to do and [TS]

  there they were given this pointless [TS]

  task but it's all a whole bunch of [TS]

  people like Winston and they're being [TS]

  taken care of and being paid and they [TS]

  can kind of do anything because [TS]

  essentially they're just be [TS]

  rehabilitated and then at some point [TS]

  they'll be shot but that's what this [TS]

  again [TS]

  that seems like a long way to go but [TS]

  that's what any other good way to use up [TS]

  resources we gotta say is an adaptation [TS]

  of 1984 that ended with don't stop [TS]

  believin yeah would be amazing could be [TS]

  made the what happens inside the [TS]

  ministry of love in the narrow wide [TS]

  corridors there is just as journey [TS]

  playing on a loop on the telescreen [TS]

  because that would drive you mad [TS]

  yeah oh my god you guys you just [TS]

  described my room 101 and see i'd say go [TS]

  back and read shooting an elephant it's [TS]

  got everything that this book doesn't [TS]

  have it's got its got jokes it's funny [TS]

  it's makes you think it makes you care [TS]

  about the main characters which [TS]

  ultimately i think is the biggest [TS]

  problem for me with 94 is I die I wasn't [TS]

  happy for what happened to Winston Smith [TS]

  but I really didn't like him either the [TS]

  elephant getting my dystopian future a [TS]

  little town he's kind of a blank he's [TS]

  you know he's he's there like Erica said [TS]

  he's there to kind of switch you through [TS]

  the world and so that you can see it all [TS]

  because that's what [TS]

  gonna do yeah i think i think you're [TS]

  right John I think I think this is an [TS]

  important book and I think it's good for [TS]

  people to read it and be conversing in [TS]

  it because it is important but there are [TS]

  just those two essays who are way better [TS]

  reads really then the 1984 us [TS]

  well I i think sometimes you just have [TS]

  to read the foundational texts the right [TS]

  I agree this is clearly one of the most [TS]

  important books of the 20th century [TS]

  completely grad it should be read either [TS]

  that's why we force people high school [TS]

  career was probably not the best time to [TS]

  read it [TS]

  no i agree i think i think people should [TS]

  read it because i think it's i think [TS]

  you're a better person after having read [TS]

  it in terms of being conversant with [TS]

  people's references to it and also to [TS]

  think about some of these issues of [TS]

  language and how we treat information [TS]

  and facts and how in the dangers of [TS]

  society gone wrong and directions that [TS]

  society has gone in the past and may [TS]

  extend to see some of these techniques [TS]

  at work in the present day or or in [TS]

  things like Max Headroom I mean max [TS]

  headroom has a lot of this DNA and oh [TS]

  yeah absolutely when they're there [TS]

  there's a reason why it's if people are [TS]

  buying this book now right is because [TS]

  the idea that facts are not facts that [TS]

  can be changed at any time and you can [TS]

  have your facts and I can have my facts [TS]

  and the past doesn't really exist we can [TS]

  change it to what we need is a very [TS]

  resonant at this moment it is and [TS]

  reading this book is it's very chilling [TS]

  when you think about now even with the [TS]

  technology we have now that this could [TS]

  you know facts can change you have to be [TS]

  hyper-vigilant and went today Winston [TS]

  Smith would just be editing the x is CMS [TS]

  wikipedia right or already which BB n92 [TS]

  wikipedia to be in The Times a CMS that [TS]

  you know the times is what he's editing [TS]

  here but yeah he's going to be in a web [TS]

  page editing the web pages they won't [TS]

  even need to print there's a passage [TS]

  about like how they print new copies of [TS]

  the old issues and put them out there [TS]

  I'm like well we've got that solved now [TS]

  you just added the old story [TS]

  I mean we had that discussion [TS]

  at my old job we have that discussion i [TS]

  remember our good pal phillip michael [TS]

  said at one point we're not going to do [TS]

  you know Soviet revisionism on articles [TS]

  if we if we added an article we're going [TS]

  to put a big note at the bottom saying [TS]

  we added this article and you see that [TS]

  but one of the reasons you do that is [TS]

  because otherwise you end up in this [TS]

  Winston Smith situation where the [TS]

  article doesn't say what it used to say [TS]

  and that is not that is not good so it's [TS]

  much easier to do that these days than [TS]

  it was in winston smith stay back in [TS]

  nineteen eighty-four track changes [TS]

  technical track changes technology is [TS]

  advanced least wikipedia has a has an [TS]

  added trail that you can see does it huh [TS]

  hey brother is reminding you that if you [TS]

  donate to wikipedia foundation [TS]

  well yeah I i do agree Scott I think [TS]

  that's what I that's what my wife is I [TS]

  think you should read it because i think [TS]

  people should read it I i think it is it [TS]

  is foundational and important and today [TS]

  I feel like it is it is just as [TS]

  important and it is as a communication [TS]

  major from you know back in the day I [TS]

  like the thoughts about how the way we [TS]

  use words influences the way we think [TS]

  and how much Italian government could [TS]

  decide it was going to invent its own [TS]

  language in order to control the thought [TS]

  of its citizens citizenry I think that's [TS]

  really an interesting idea [TS]

  again it's a novel much more of ideas [TS]

  then of characters in the end but i [TS]

  think it's i think it's worth it worth [TS]

  the time not entertaining no not fun not [TS]

  fun not fun though is that if all right [TS]

  well I think it's time to put this [TS]

  episode down the memory hole there [TS]

  belongs and I lat were all out of it [TS]

  later so that we said completely [TS]

  different things one of those but i'd [TS]

  like to say goodbye to my gas before [TS]

  they are vaporized and we deny their [TS]

  existence on this on this planet at all [TS]

  David jail or thank you for being here [TS]

  thank you all i have to say is apple [TS]

  think different [TS]

  see she was in the book Scotty thank you [TS]

  the pleasure is all mine [TS]

  glad you got to read and remember these [TS]

  books for a short time they were they [TS]

  will soon be forgotten again [TS]

  indeed Eric ensign thank you thank you [TS]

  you know if I thought corrupt podcasts [TS]

  podcasts can also corrupt thought and [TS]

  John McCoy from the shores of Oceania [TS]

  let's put it that way [TS]

  thank you i love you big brother and [TS]

  he's been broken and thanks to everybody [TS]

  out there for listening listening is [TS]

  double plus good we'll see you next time [TS]

  [Music] [TS]