Ray Bradbury, RIP

fahrenheit 451 605x1000 Ray Bradbury, RIP RIP ray bradbury

An excerpt from Bradbury’s finest novel, Fahrenheit 451. The author died yesterday, June 5.

“When did it all start, you ask, this job of ours, how did it come about, where, when? Well, I’d say it really got started around about a thing called the Civil War. Even though our rule-book claims it was founded earlier. The fact is we didn’t get along well until photography came into its own. Then — motion pictures in the early twentieth century. Radio. Television. Things began to have mass.”
Montag sat in bed, not moving.
“And because they had mass, they became simpler,” said Beatty. “Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. Double, triple, quadruple population. Films and radios, magazines, books levelled down to a sort of paste pudding norm, do you follow me?”
“I think so.”
Beatty peered at the smoke pattern he had put out on the air. “Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending.”
“Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume. I exaggerate, of course. The dictionaries were for reference. But many were those whose sole knowledge of Hamlet (you know the title certainly, Montag; it is probably only a faint rumour of a title to you, Mrs. Montag) whose sole knowledge, as I say, of Hamlet was a one-page digest in a book that claimed: ‘now at least you can read all the classics; keep up with your neighbours.’ Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.”
“Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click? Pic? Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline! Then, in mid-air, all vanishes! Whirl man’s mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters, that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!”
“School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?”
“The zipper displaces the button and a man lacks just that much time to think while dressing at dawn, a philosophical hour, and thus a melancholy hour.”
“Life becomes one big pratfall, Montag; everything bang, boff, and wow!”
“Empty the theatres save for clowns and furnish the rooms with glass walls and pretty colours running up and down the walls like confetti or blood or sherry or sauterne. You like baseball, don’t you, Montag?”
“Baseball’s a fine game.”
Beatty went on, “You like bowling, don’t you, Montag?”
“Bowling, yes.”
“And golf?”
“Golf is a fine game.”
“A fine game.”
“Billiards, pool? Football?”
“Fine games, all of them.”
“More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun, and you don’t have to think, eh? Organize and organize and superorganize super-super sports. More cartoons in books. More pictures. The mind drinks less and less. Impatience. Highways full of crowds going somewhere, somewhere, somewhere, nowhere. The gasoline refugee. Towns turn into motels, people in nomadic surges from place to place, following the moon tides, living tonight in the room where you slept this noon and I the night before.”
“Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex-magazines, of course. There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”
“Yes, but what about the firemen, then?” asked Montag.
“Ah.” Beatty leaned forward in the faint mist of smoke from his pipe. “What more easily explained and natural? With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me.”
Beatty knocked his pipe into the palm of his pink hand, studied the ashes as if they were a symbol to be diagnosed and searched for meaning.
“You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren’t they? Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these.”
“Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too. Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of black dust. Let’s not quibble over individuals with memoriams. Forget them. Burn them all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”
“There was a girl next door,” he said, slowly. “She’s gone now, I think, dead. I can’t even remember her face. But she was different. How — how did she happen?”
Beatty smiled. “Here or there, that’s bound to occur. Clarisse McClellan? We’ve a record on her family. We’ve watched them carefully. Heredity and environment are funny things. You can’t rid yourselves of all the odd ducks in just a few years. The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle. We had some false alarms on the McClellans, when they lived in Chicago. Never found a book. Uncle had a mixed record; anti-social. The girl? She was a time bomb. The family had been feeding her subconscious, I’m sure, from what I saw of her school record. She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why. That can be embarrassing. You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy indeed, if you keep at it. The poor girl’s better off dead.”
“Luckily, queer ones like her don’t happen, often. We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early. You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I’ve tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your dare-devils, jet cars, motor-cycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration. But I don’t care. I just like solid entertainment.”

From The Citrus Report

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Russian Propaganda Font

hittheice propagandhi Russian Propaganda Font Russia propaganda font

Come to think of it, the Russians did have excellent propaganda fonts. It really did make you believe that Drago and Stalin were making the country a better place, never mind your lack of vegetables and jobless reports. There is a place where you can find these fonts, and a pangram… (via)

krasnymirmf Russian Propaganda Font Russia propaganda font

propaganda map Russian Propaganda Font Russia propaganda font

type red october Russian Propaganda Font Russia propaganda font

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Peter Granser: ‘Sun City’

granser1 605x605 Peter Granser: ‘Sun City’ Photography peter granser

Peter Granser created this photography series, Sun City, where he traveled to a retirement colony in the American southwest, where old people go to thrive and then die. In a cookie-cutter society. In a hot part of the country. Somewhere, this women bought this dress, and wears it proud. (via)

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A note on Mitt Romney.

romney A note on Mitt Romney. taxes mitt romney

NY Times Published: January 17, 2012

Having strongly suggested at Monday night’s debate that he would release his 2011 tax returns in April, Mitt Romney needs to begin inoculating himself against the backlash that will almost inevitably ensue when the public sees how much annual income he has, where it comes from and how little tax he pays on it. He started this process Tuesday morning, when he told reporters in South Carolina that his effective tax rate is about 15 percent.

An effective tax rate of 15 percent means that most of his income comes from investments, as he acknowledged Tuesday. The rate on such capital gains income is far lower than the top rate of 35 percent on ordinary income, the kind that most people who receive paychecks have to pay. (Investment income is also not subject to the payroll tax.)

As a result, Mr. Romney is one of the 200,000 millionaires in America who pays a rate less than that of a taxpayer making $100,000. And if his rate turns out to be lower than 15 percent (a feat usually achieved through various tax avoidance schemes), he will be one of the 22,000 millionaire households paying less than half the rate of a middle-class family. (Based on the vague information Mr. Romney has already disclosed about his 2010 income, Citizens for Tax Justice estimated last year that his rate would be 14 percent.)

If that is the case, he would be subject to the “Buffett rule”—a new minimum tax rate for people making over a million per year— proposed by President Obama. Mr. Romney opposes the rule, and any other effort to raise taxes on the wealthy. When asked about it, he routinely deflects the question and says that government needs to be shrunk. But once it is clear that such a rule would directly affect him, he won’t be able to bat it away quite as easily. The Super PAC supporting President Obama already has a video out entitled “the Romney rule.”

There may be another reason why Mr. Romney is already trying to build up immunity to the coming Democratic onslaught over his income. As The New York Times reported last month, he negotiated a retirement deal with Bain Capital, the private equity firm he ran, that provides him with a substantial share of Bain’s profits every year. That probably means he can take advantage of the low 15 percent tax rate on carried interest, the special tax break for hedge fund and private equity managers. (Hedge-fund partners like to claim they deserve an investment-level break because they put their money at risk, but most people outside the business—including the United States Tax Court—have said that it is really pure compensation.)

If true — and this may become clearer depending on how much of his tax return he releases — he will then displace Warren Buffett as the country’s most prominent example of elite tax treatment. Mr. Obama has proposed ending the break on carried interest, one of the principal reasons why the incomes of the very richest Americans has soared in recent years, at a time when ordinary American incomes have been stagnant or fallen behind. The president is certain to amp up his demand once it is clear it will directly affect his likely opponent in the general election. The concept of income inequality is about to become far less abstract.

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The Onion on Steve Jobs: “Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies”

jobs jpg 600x345 crop smart upscale q85 The Onion on Steve Jobs: Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies the onion Steve Jobs

Well, leave it to The Onion to just top every news report possible about a topic that everyone covered: Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Computers and the only American in the country who had any clue what the fuck he was doing, died Wednesday at the age of 56. “We haven’t just lost a great innovator, leader, and businessman, we’ve literally lost the only person in this country who actually had his shit together and knew what the hell was going on,” a statement from President Barack Obama read in part, adding that Jobs will be remembered both for the life-changing products he created and for the fact that he was able to sit down, think clearly, and execute his ideas—attributes he shared with no other U.S. citizen. “This is a dark time for our country, because the reality is none of the 300 million or so Americans who remain can actually get anything done or make things happen. Those days are over.” Obama added that if anyone could fill the void left by Jobs it would probably be himself, but said that at this point he honestly doesn’t have the slightest notion what he’s doing anymore

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49ers vs Raiders: An examination of pure lunacy

matt revelli 49ers raiders100 605x454 49ers vs Raiders: An examination of pure lunacy shooting raiders preseason pictures Photos nfl fights brawls 49ers

A friend of the Citrus Report attended the 49ers vs Raiders preseason football game (we have no idea why, because it is preseason, the NFL blows, Raiders and Niners fans are the worst, and Candlestick Park is the worst place to watch professional sports in North America, but we digress) and said to us, “it was fucking unreal. Like being in jail.” You may have heard if you are in the USA, but there were fights in the stadium, fights in the parking lots, shootings in the parking lots, all during a PRESEASON, pointless sporting event with no bearing on anything. Even a regular season game has no bearing. But people, wearing their expensive football gear, decided to fight and shoot each other.

This is a microcosm of how fucked up our country is. Sure, other nations fight, throw bottles, and have barbaric actions at sporting events. But this is goddamn a preseason game in the Bay Area, where our football teams play in cities where they aren’t even headquartered. There is no allegiances, shit, the players change every year. You care about Frank Gore? Jason Campbell? Come the fuck on. We don’t have jobs, the world’s economy is falling apart, education is on the brink of major disaster, and we are fighting in the stands of pointless sporting events.

This happens with NFL owners make billions, players make millions, but fans don’t even get decent protection in the stands if they want to attend a game. What ever happened to security? The 49ers should ashamed of themselves. They have wanted to leave SF for years, and have left a stadium with no proper 2011 updates just rot, including the surrounding areas of the stadium. Poor lighting, poor parking situations, less security, just a breeding ground of drunken debauchery. And its crap. Just pure shit.

Then again, leaders of this country in a way probably love this. While they are comfortable in their upper class homes and PhD backgrounds, they can sit and look at the “other” people as they are distracted by jerseys and gang affiliations at preseason football games. Why do we allow leaders the satisfaction to know we aren’t paying attention? That we are far more interested in going to a preseason game to fight then to put our energy into something constructive? It may seem like a loose analogy, but it just feels like another example of how far this country has sank into the pit of no return; we are damaged. And we do it to ourselves.

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matt revelli 49ers raiders92 215x165 49ers vs Raiders: An examination of pure lunacy shooting raiders preseason pictures Photos nfl fights brawls 49ers
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David Levinthal’s ‘Toyland’ opening July 21 at Leadapron

20110714 100105 David Levinthals Toyland opening July 21 at Leadapron toyland leadapron David leventhal

Do dolls have souls? Do Toys? Most children wish them to – Toys are the objects that furnish our childhood and we learn both about the surrounding world and our abilities within it by manipulating them. To quote Baudelaire:

“All children talk to their toys; the toys become actors in the great drama of life, scaled down inside the camera obscura of the childish brain. The overriding desire of most children is to get at and see the soul of their toys.”

What is the function of a doll? A toy? Most obviously toys are playmates for children – upon which they project their puerile notions of the sexes – they role-play and act out those impulses that are innate to both the male and female instincts. Toys offer children an outlet to allay their fears, express their emotions, and to act out their drives– be those of aggression, adventure, mothering, rage, socialization, individuation, love. Through game play and charades they exert their will upon an otherwise frightening and senseless world.

Artist David Levinthal: “I don’t think childhood is at all innocent, so why should toys be? It’s a period of socialization and conformity. Boys are supposed to grow up to be strong and stalwart men, willing to die for their country, and so on. That period of one’s life instills certain values. Playing with toys is innocent only in the sense that most people have passed through that stage. I suppose I never have.” Levinthal has discovered and succinctly reveals “that toys are not benign objects, but metaphors for culture itself.”

Childhood is the blueprint for the rest of our lives and is populated by toys. Levinthal moves through time in and out of the melee of impressions and youthful experience to show us through his arresting imagery the fuse that cuts through these formative years.

Levinthal captures the graininess of the past, in vivid clarity, as an almost Wordsworthian spot of time so that we see the past now as we saw it then. His moments, though paused, carry us back to the attic of our memory and unfold in cinematic nostalgia, to the days of our creation. I think Tarkovsky, Bergman, a baseball game, a first date…back to our very own rooms, to our homes, to the wellspring of emotion…to the fons et origo…first desires, first blush, first time our hearts raced. The images we have known of color, size and shape are almost familiar in Levinthal’s work, as if he photographed our very own childhood.

One can also extrapolate to a discussion of toys and dolls as works of art in their own right, made by anonymous crafts people and machines. They are the epitome of pop in their mass production and packaging. Levinthal captures all the banalities of dolls, but then brings them into the larger theatre of adult play where he transcends the trammels of time and space exalting them to real subjects becoming more than dolls – subjects no longer objects – subjects with which we have to contend.

The artist must see the world anew, with childlike wonder – to see it perhaps the way it is and not how they’ve been told to see it. The job of the artist is to show us their world and thereby reveal a truth that we can choose to acknowledge or ignore. Levinthal recounts the past and draws us into the present so we can foresee our future. This is a great artist at work – a man who has the courage to play with toys and make the experience so powerful, so life-like and so beautiful that we question the very nature of reality – this is not only an artist but, in the world he has created, a God.

This land is our land this land is Toyland.

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Great Find: “Onion-Like Headlines in Real Life” Tumblr

Screen shot 2011 06 12 at 9.54.56 PM Great Find: Onion Like Headlines in Real Life Tumblr tumblr the onion

The great thing about The Onion is that at times, those headlines could possibly be real. Well, there is an amazing Tumblr called “Onion-Like Headlines in Real Life” that collects real life headlines that seem like they should be on The Onion, but are, in fact, in papers and blogs across the country telling “real news.”

Like NBC actually used this headline: Picking your parents: Adult adoption creates new bond.

Wow. Why?

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Buster Posey, you make a grown man cry

ba giants 0499806209 Buster Posey, you make a grown man cry san francisco giants buster posey

The news that our San Francisco Giants have perhaps lost Buster Posey, the star catcher and heartbeat of the defending World Series Champions, for the entire season has incredibly brought an entire region of the country, the 5th biggest market in the United States, to a complete quiet standstill. We weren’t in SF when this happened, but we hear grown men (and one of our moms) was in tears.

Get better, Buster. We need you for years to come.

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