hbo fahrenheit 451

HBO's "Fahrenheit 451" Can't Hold A Candle To The Book

Next time, read the book HBO.

Ray Bradbury wrote "Fahrenheit 451" in a time where technology was used for an analog existence. Tools of the trade, using your hands, making something immediate, personal, and close gave people their own sense of independence. It took Bradbury only nine days to write the entirety of his own paperless dystopia on a rented typewriter in the UCLA library. The irony then is just as potent as it is today. People depended on technology to have independence in the world, but new technology is taking away that freedom.

Most readers were introduced to banned books from the required reading lists in middle school. Most of these banned books were science fiction: "1984", "A Clockwork Orange", "Brave New World", "The Handmaid's Tale". The genre is multiplicative, bending the facts to make a social commentary to get to a truth. Having read "Fahrenheit 451" three times, the plot reads as succinctly and detailed as a movie script. The future however holds true to an unfortunate fact: a book cannot be read on the silver screen.

Michael B. Jordan is the enured firefighter Guy Montag and Michael Shannon is his ever sly and stern fire captain, Captain Beatty. The relationship between them remains at an uncomfortable yet curious arms length. The hypocritical yet severe use of poetic language by Beatty (especially in reference to a famous whale; the script for which Bradbury wrote for film) was a nice nod and stays true to the authoritarian novel in this respect. This world of "Fahrenheit 451" has its advances but it is not without its detractions.

It is often better to be in chains than to be free. - Franz Kafka

The plot of burning books to keep society from knowing anything potenitally crippling, harmful, or truthful to remain oblivious but happy is there. A society of people called Natives, a gang called Eels, a digital network called Dark 9 run by a tech hive mind syndicate called the Ministry, a voice-activated equivalent of Siri called Yuxie, and Oculus eye drops are also somehow in the mix. These technologies and the world-building as a result of them felt Orwellian and too much of a contrast from Bradbury's novel. They distract the viewer, who with any luck remains a reader, from getting back to the basics of an analog world. A film about burning books based off a book about burning books is a double irony; "Fahrenheit 451" is a book to be read, not watched. If that is the point, how many people are really reading into this?

Like any book, every page can't make it on screen, but a reference to a page rather than through a scene would be enough to get the idea across. The irony that HBO has thrust onto its viewers is that Hollywood intersperses quick moments of entertaining actions and visuals with a heavy hand, something Ray Bradbury despised with new cinema and television programming and broadcasting. There is no time to be a critical thinker as you witness a film or news reel move faster than you can see it. Images are easier to digest than they are to think of, but the meaning of them will be lost when the expectation is to keep the attention of audiences.

The Eels, the replacement for the book's defunct English professor Faber, a member of the Book People, upload text images, e-books to the Dark 9 or the internet. They are the readers and writers who will not part with self-expression and new perspective. The Natives are a digitally simple society that hate literature or what they call grafitti who use the Dark 9's emoji-like language in place of letters to represent books in a literal and debased sense (a person running, a lightbulb, and a house represents the title and entirety of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse). HBO's adaptation shows a society that is desensitized to spoon-fed information with no context for the "fast facts" which by today's standards is how people read, and read very little of, the brain food they chew.

It is better to be happy than free. - The Bill of Rights

The movie shows a reflection of our current technological times and proves that ignorance is not bliss. The slogans like "Stay Vivid" and "See Something, Say Something" inspire and instill the I-tell-you-to-jump-you-say-how-high mentality. We didn't need Montag to cash in on the presidency however: time to burn for America again? HBO's Montag says they burned every book in America, but he's not afraid to burn a few servers with e-book files on them either. Over kill much? Isn't there a delete key in the future? It's forced clichés like this that make for bad writing, bad screenwriting, and bad social commentary dealing with a theme that reaches farther than politics.

HBO must only watch films because they neglected to read a few pages. Clarisse McClellan is working as a double agent for the firefighters instead of being the elusive, born-in-the-wrong-age free spirit readers know her to be. Granger is now Montag's father instead of another Eel or member of the Book People reading off the grid. Montag's wife Mildred is nonexistent and there is still no Mechanical Hound, two perfect examples of the unhappiness and undesirable fear that ignorance brings. A firetruck tells us the movie also takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, a state away from Bradbury's birthplace of Waukegan, Illinois, which is fair; the novel takes place in an unspecified city.

The wackiest plot point of course is the one that goes unexplained but accepted, the one that makes the plot passable. Science fiction was not made exclusively for wonderful excuses like lasers and teleportation, that is called sci-fi. Ray Bradbury's novel dealt with the dangers of super science, nuclear warfare, and HBO has instead taken Ray's return to nature too literally. If you watch until the last twenty minutes, you'll know the difference between science fiction and a wonderful excuse right away.

The one thing HBO did right was capture the theme of censorship, how we censor ourselves from being more open-minded, and that even when it burns us, we learn from the fire's touch. As Ray put it, without libraries there is no past and no future and "if you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn."

Cover Image Credit: HBO

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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