been the province of a minority and that television would do little to kill it. More books are written, published, and read today than at any other point in history. Most of them are just redundant filler, but so is Pete Funny Alonso For Pete’s Sake shirt of any mass creative output, books, art, movies, or TV, as Sturgeon said. And there’s nothing new about that, either: cheap, trashy novels have been a joke since the Victorian.
Television is a different medium than books and has its own strengths and weaknesses. Bradbury’s critique of TV–that it will get larger, more pervasive, and become an escape for small minds–is just as true of books. As for television damaging social interaction, who is less culturally aware: the slack-jawed boy watching television or the slack-jawed boy reading one uninspired relic of genre fiction after another? I read a lot of books as a kid and watched a lot of TVs, and each medium provided something different. Neither one displaced the other since reading and watching aren’t the same experiences.
There is an egalitarian obsession that people are all capable of being informed and intelligent. We now send everyone to college, despite the fact that for many people, college is not a viable or useful route. The same elitism that values degrees values being Pete Funny Alonso For Pete’s Sake shirt, and since this is the elitism of the current power structure, it is idealized by the less fortunate subcultures. Bradbury became informed not because he read, but by what he read. He could have read a schlocky pop novel every day for life and still been as dull as the vidscreen zombies he condemns.