Glenn Beck read a passage from Ray Bradbury's 1953 classic "Fahrenheit 451," on his radio program Wednesdsay, saying it is "so close to [the] conversation many Americans are having today."
"Science fiction is not a predictor of the future," he said. "They take trends that they see, and then they put them in the world that they're in now. So this is 1950, and so you'll hear 'swell, things are swell' because it's 1950."
Beck said the conversation takes places between a fireman who burns books, and a 17-year-old girl on her way home.
Beck begins with the fireman asking the girl, "why aren't you at school?"
The girl replies, "Oh well, they don't miss me. I'm antisocial they say. I don't mix. It's so strange. I'm very social indeed. It depends on what you mean by social, doesn't it? I mean, social to me means you talk to people about things."
"You talk about how strange the world is," she continues. "Being with people is nice, but I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you? An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures and then more sports. But, you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't. They just run the answers at ya, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four hours of film teacher. That's not social to me at all. It's like a bunch of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom and them telling us it's wine when we all know it's not. They run us so ragged that by the end of the day, we can't do anything but go to bed or head to a fun park to bully people around..."
"I haven't any friends," she proceeds to say, "But that's supposed to prove I'm abnormal? ...Everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild people, beating up on one another. Do you notice how many people hurt each other nowadays?"
Beck continued reading:
[The fireman] says to her, "You sound so very old."
"Sometimes I think I'm ancient. I'm afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always used to be that way? My uncle says no. Six of my friends have been shot in the last year alone. Ten of them died in car wrecks. I'm afraid of them. They don't like me because I'm afraid. My uncle says my grandfather remembered when children didn't kill each other, but that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncle says. You know I'm responsible. I was spanked when I needed it years ago. When I'd do all the shopping and the housecleaning by hand. But most of all," she said, "I like to watch people. Sometimes I ride the subway all day and I look at them and I listen to them. I just want to figure out what they are and what they want to be and where they're going. Sometimes I go to the fun parks and ride the jet cars, and as they race along the edge of the town at midnight and the police don't care, as long as they're insured, as long as everybody has 10,000 insurance points, everybody's happy. Sometimes I just sneak around and listen in. I listen in subways or I listen at soda fountains. And you know what?"
"People don't talk about anything."
"Oh, they must," he said.
"No. No. Not anything. They'll name a lot of cars or they'll talk about clothes or swimming pools and they'll all say, oh, that's swell. But they all say the same things. Nobody says anything different from anybody else....It doesn't mean anything. And at the museums, have you ever been to the museums? They're all abstract. That's all they are now. My uncle says it was different once. A long time ago, a long time back sometimes pictures showed things or even showed people."
"Your uncle," he said, "he must have been a remarkable man."
"Oh, he is. He certainly is."
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