Montag and co-workers (
by Steve Timmer
Jun 6, 2015, 1:00 PM

Fahrenheit 451 revisited

Someone sent me this video and asked my reaction.

It’s a promotional video made by Corning that purports to show what our future will be like. If our future is a complete dystopian nightmare, that is. Even the title is chilling to me.

The video takes us through a day, dawn to dusk, of a prototypical family who seems to manage to entirely avoid looking at anything real. They share an existence with video screens, mostly giant, that tell them everything. They rarely perceive anything in their environment that is unaltered or unfiltered in some way.

One of the parents receives an email on her bathroom mirror asking her to hurry it up to a meeting at the office. She smiles and responds. Perhaps they could have done an instant video conference.

The school-uniformed children go on a field trip to a place in the woods, but spend their time looking through a video screen viewer that projects cartoonish images of scary dinosaurs — just like Jurassic Park — on the natural scene they see.

What kind of trees were those? The kids have no clue.

The father, a medico of some kind, peers at what seems like a hologram representation of a patient. No human flesh involved.

At day’s end, they gather in an antiseptic viewing room to stare at the wall. It’s an animated wall, of course, that shines in their wondering eyes.

In fact, an image repeated endlessly in the video is of faces that go from slack-jawed to smiling when a screen lights up, large square catchlights of the screen reflecting in the eyes of the anesthetized viewers.

These are the video walls in Guy Montag’s house as described in Ray Bradbury’s 1953 classic Fahrenheit 451. There is no paper, no printed words, anywhere.

The children in this video aren’t going to grow up wanting to go the Boundary Waters. Heck, they aren’t even going to want to read. Or probably even think.

What are they going to want to do? That’s pretty obvious.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.