Grab your asbestos-lined book safe, dear reader, and keep an ear out for the tell-tale crackle of the flame. The Firemen are coming and no book is safe. Check out the new Fahrenheit 451 trailer!
“Have you ever seen a physical book before? Do you want to know what’s inside?” Michael Shannon’s fireman, Beatty, says as he waxes eloquent to newbie Guy (played by an absolutely riveting Michael B. Jordan) “Insanity. Chaos.”
The narration continues as he decries all forms of knowledge. The derision with which he says “news” as a propagandic hologram of an eagle implores readers to “Say Something” sends chills down my spine.
The new HBO TV movie is a retelling of Bradbury’s cautionary dystopian novel in which the government has realized its goal of a draconian control of all knowledge. To borrow a phrase from the internet “this is the future the government wants.” Knowledge contained. Disseminated only by those who “know best.” Free thought curtailed to the point where anything that isn’t part of the agenda is destroyed.
I came across Fahrenheit 451 back when the internet was just a couple of military computers chatting with each other. I’ll readily admit that, while the book was gripping, I didn’t really get it. After all, there would always be books. How else would people get their information? But now? Living in an age where it’s become readily apparent that what we see online can and is manipulated to meet the agendas of others, the static word is the only refuge. Physical pages the only respite from the shifting sands of human knowledge. Suddenly, a world where those are all taken away and the only thing left to rely on is the internet isn’t just troublesome.
You’ll be able to see Fahrenheit 451 this May on HBO. But maybe you should read the book first. Just to be safe.