Thursday, May 15, 2008
I don't understand this obsession with dystopian didactic novels. Do these pretentious idiots who list 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' and 'Fahrenheit 451' as some of the greatest books ever written actually read?
'Nineteen Eighty-Four' is the worst book Orwell wrote, and 'Fahrenheit 451' is the worst book that Bradbury ever wrote.
Make a list of *classic* dystopian didactic novels and you've got a list of some of the shittiest novels ever written. 'Atlas Shrugged', dross, 'The Handmaid's Tale', bilge, 'Player Piano', double dross, 'Brave New World', ... uhm, well hold on a minute.
Now 'Brave New World' isn't exactly the greatest book written, but it is the best didactic dystopian book ever written. Firstly, because it is actually rather well written, and doesn't quite hammer the reader over the proverbial head with its didactic point. This probably explains why it is always listed much further down than 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. But the more important reason is that it was by far the most prescient. Literature is not being destroyed by burning books or doublespeak, but by short attention spans.
The irony is that these intellectual midgets who go around listing 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' as the best book ever written do so because they've grown up in A Brave New World.
Not all dystopian books are awful, of course. When a book is an extension of the authors world view such as Phillip K. Dick's paranoia and belief in the questionable nature of reality, some very interesting dystopias can emerge.
But if you need to read an "important" book like 1984 in order to understand that a totalitarian society sucks or Fahrenheit 451 in order to realize that burning books is bad, then you are also going to be stupid enough to fall for the newest form of fascism rolling down the pike, like Political Correctness or Obamamania, because you never were able to master the concept of thinking for yourself.