Bradbury’s Fahrenheit-451: Predicting Today’s Reality
Media Censorship’s Stark Forecast
Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel written by Ray Bradbury, whose main focus in this piece is warning those who read it of the censorship of media and prediction literature. Science fiction, in its early stages, was based around the idea of forbidden knowledge being discovered and then bringing destruction and chaos to the world of man and to the environment, and it still does today, but it has vastly improved since then. It has expanded into what Fahrenheit 451 can now be seen as today. These next predictions will prove that we should be concerned about what becomes of media being censored and how extensive this problem will become.
Bradbury’s Tech: Earbuds to Bluetooth
Many of the predictions Ray Bradbury has made have come out to be very close to the truth in our society today, and many have been proven to be coming true throughout the time it took him to write and publish this novel. But if you look closely at the number of correct predictions and compare them to the incorrect predictions, you will notice there is an exceeding number of correct predictions than incorrect predictions. Therefore, many of these have been proven true or as close as they could get to the truth.
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During his writings of the early stages of when this novel was called “The Fire Man” and was now considered science fiction, he saw something like the Seashell that Mildred used throughout the novel in Beverly Hills on one of his walks. A woman was holding a small radio with cone-like earbuds, walking in a sleepwalk-like state, ignoring both her husband and dog. Ray Bradbury was now racing against science to show his predictions were coming true before it was too late. In the book, Bradbury describes Mildred listening to music and commercials using a wireless radio embedded in her ear. When the book was being made, radios were being made, but earbuds were not yet wireless.
Today, wireless connections between devices have been used in more than just simple earbuds. Today, cars use Bluetooth to connect to your music apps, contacts, text messages, and more. Many cars can install Bluetooth radios, such as my family’s Mazda CX9, which does just that. Recently, when picking up my brothers from school, I heard a radio commercial describing fire alarms that “speak” to each other wirelessly so that when one goes off, so do the rest. Many of today’s speakers can now be portable, wireless, and will fit in the palm of your hand. Many of the bigger companies, such as Apple, Roku, and many others. Some may argue otherwise, but today, in the year 2019, wireless earbuds and portable speakers have been around way before the beginning of the year, just as he had predicted.
Rapid Media Consumption’s Rise
Adding to that, the prediction of media popping up in unexpected places and being short and condensed has indeed come true. Billboards, although not hundreds of feet long like in the story, that have ads have been placed in many more places than predicted. They have popped up in more than just subways and gas stations, but have also found their way into stores school billboards, and have expanded all over the media. As predicted, ads have become shorter and more condensed and have been added to all sorts of programs. Live TV, talk shows, podcasts, radio stations, videos, and anything digital have been stuffed full of ads that can now go from one minute to thirty seconds. Back then, commercials could go on from fifteen to thirty minutes per commercial.
War Predictions: Accuracy Assessed
Another thing that he predicted was that war would be constantly practiced and supported by the government. In the book, he describes bombers as constantly flying overhead in practice for war. He was correct about the predictions of warplanes flying overhead when practicing for war. I saw many fly over my middle school through sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, but he also mentioned that they would go at five thousand miles per hour, which is not true.
The fastest manned bomber aircraft known today would be the North American X-15, which has a top speed of Mach 6.70, which is about 7,200 km/h. Not 5,000 mph, for sure. Another thing he got wrong was that remote-controlled craft would be all piloted without a pilot using a long-distance remote. Today, remote-controlled technology is being perfected but not used in large numbers. Today, remotely controlled drones are growing in mass numbers and are even predicted to be used for more than just cameras and toys, but they are still not as advanced as remote-controlled helicopters. The military has designed a few remote-controlled aircraft vehicles, but they are not yet perfected and not yet widespread.
Despite all this, the military has been constantly improving both during and in the absence of war. Our current government has been focussing on the military and improving military technology, but unlike in Fahrenheit 451, we have not fought in two atomic wars and won before the year 2019, as Bradbury stated. Many have joked in the past four to five years that we may start a nuclear war with Korea, but these are just rumors spread to upset people. Today, the production of nuclear weapons has been canceled and illegal to do for many years. The last nuclear weapon used in war was on August 6, 1945, when the U.S. was hitting the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima with atomic raids during the final stages of World War Two. Not a single atomic war after that, and for a good reason, too.
Work in Bradbury’s Lens: Long Hours, Low Pay
Another thing that Bradbury predicted correctly was that work hours would become longer and the pay would grow smaller. People are doing full-time jobs and are becoming sleep-deprived to the point that it physically ails them, and they have to take pills to sleep. Companies want to squeeze out as many hours as they can as cheaply as they can. Today, we have replaced buttons with zippers and shoelaces with velcro to make things go faster, either to have more time to work or for leisure. Nobody enjoys work anymore, just as predicted, and can’t wait to get home and do as they please. People’s patience is shorter now, and things are shorter and more condensed to keep their attention and avoid losing them.
Life becomes immediate, and people’s attention is only a few seconds long as media becomes faster and easier to take in. Research for school projects used to take hours or days of work and searching to find, but now it only takes a few seconds and a couple of clicks and scrolls of the mouse. Today, media has changed to where it is portable and can operate faster than the eye can blink. It has been scientifically proven that technology today makes us forget things easily. So the prediction that we could recite a book word for word after only reading once is definitely not true, but the prediction that someone could accidentally take too many sleeping tablets is possible, but not yet true. So, the prediction that technology can make one’s memory lessen is true.
In my opinion, all these predictions suggest that we may have to worry about all of this now and many years ahead of us. Technology today and the thirst for power have become bigger and stronger, and this suggests that some of those situations in such a future would come soon, maybe in a few years or even a couple of decades. Ray Bradbury had his share of false predictions, but he also had a good number of true ones. Therefore, his work should be kept in mind to prepare for the near future.
- Bradbury, R. (1953). Fahrenheit 451. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
- Johnson, M. (2015). Science Fiction: Evolution and Predictions. London, UK: SF Publishing.