Friday, November 2, 2007

Is China a Bradburian Society at Heart?

Hello everyone! I asked Ms. Smith if I could create a post about a recent article I read in TIME magazine. I thought it might be a spark for a meaningful discussion. It is entitled "China's Me Generation" and looks at the nature of China's twentysomethings. I read this article and automatically made connections to Fahrenheit 451. The young adults in this article had parents who grew up in the throws of the Cultural Revolution, in which approximately 90 million people were killed for "the good of the party". After all of this suffering, the next generation barely even cares about China's political future. All they care about is the technology available to them and the materialistic side of life. This brings up the question of why they are not rebelling. After one generation, have these citizens really been brainwashed into believing that what is happening in their country is okay as long as they can buy stuff and watch television? Isn't this exactly like the people in Bradbury's society, indifferent unless it concerns their parlor walls? I find this a little unsettling, and I hope that you will read this article and see its implications in relation to 451. Have fun discussing!

23 comments:

kristinah said...

Cool, I am the first to comment, I hope it is meaningful. Maybe the people aren't rebeling because as a majority vote, life is simpler with the supply of technology and new things at their fingertips. With all of the new technology there to distract them, they aren't foccusing on what happened to the 90 million people in the past. They are foccusing and what is happening now, and what is readily available to them to give them entertainment and "joy". That brings up another subject of whether of not it is true joy that we get from watching the TV. After a funny movie, sure you are happy and filled with joy for a while but it still does not give you the same happiness that you recieve when you laugh all day with your friends or have a great family dinner. But the television is a simpler, quicker way to access happiness even though it is short lived and not as fulfulling. When getting together with your friends it involves some effort to call them, figure out when and where. and figure out who is able to go. But with TV especially now with tevo what you want is right at your fingertips. The people in Africa arnt necessarily thinking about Darfur and the genocide everyday, as with the rest of the world, Darfur wasn't really even known until some charity groups brought it up. We are just so distracted that we dont rebel, we dont think of what happened or is happening becuase ultimately we try to ignore all of the possible bad things and look for joy in the easiest way even though it may not be real joy that we are getting.

I hope this answers that well or adds to your thoughts!!

ParkerH said...

Kristina, that makes a lot of sense and I agree. Also, what if we are brainwashed? I mean, they tell us to say the pledge every day. We are supposed to love our country. I'm not saying I don't. But every country has its nationalism and pride. Every country has it's own "brainwashing". Step outside the normal system and see whats there. Look at it analyticly. i.e., challenge the system. Hehehe.

alexf said...

Kristina and Parkerh-- You both make excellent points. As said before in block 5's inner circle discussion, what if we are being brainwashed RIGHT NOW? Who says that what Ms. Smith is teaching us is correct (no offense :)? What if we are just doing this because we think it is right, but really it's not?! I think that that is what is happening to the Chinese people. No one has ever said, "Hey, wait! What ARE we doing?", so they think it is correct. American's have been brought up differently from other countries, and therefore think very differently. Maybe we are wrong!

hannahl said...

I love that we are questioning our learning. I think that is what this book is really supposed to do. It is supposed to make people rethink what they do. After I got a few chapters into this book, I can't even watch TV anymore without feeling awkward and, well, brainwashed! I actually cut down on TV time because of this book. I think that is a sign that as long as books like this are around, that people who want to really live will be able to, because they will realize the downfalls of our society. It is hard for the Chinese people, because their information is so censored, that they probably are not even allowed to read 451, and so they don't realize how far in they are.

elisabethc said...

I think that there are probably many different people in that country that know what is going on but they can't do anyhting about it. My class read a certain book in seventh grade (I currently do not remember the name) that was about a rebellion that occured in China and a lot of people were killed. They probably do not want to do anthing like that ever again because of the consequences. They have a very tightly wound government, which is also communist, so it is hard for them to act out.

morganw said...

I think everyone is making excellent points and I agree with them. When reading through the article is struck me how odd it seemed that these people could cause a protest over the hieght of the animals they were allowed to keep, but couldn't even begin to think of politics. Most said that politics didn't involve them, yet some of them wanted to be strong ecenomically so that they could add to their country's greatness and power. It shows that no matter what happens and communist country can get such a tight grip on it's people that they admit to being selfish but think that that is the way to live. They don't even seem to realize that the longer they have a communist government the less and less freedoms they will attain. The government has exercised a twisted form of mind control over them which makes them think that they are working for the good of there country when really they are just encouraging it's rise into economic and political power.

morganw said...
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amyw said...

I think we're already starting to be like this. We're obsessed with TV as a society, and we have babies plopped in front of the TV practically as soon as they're born (think Baby Einstein...). We're starting to abuse technology. In Ms. Smith's class we use it in a positive way, like to help us learn, but when you constantly are on the computer and play video games and stuff like that it's another story. We had a discussion during one of the period 2 Fishbowls about how so many books are being made into movies so it's starting to be like, why read the book when you can just go see the movie? Hope my comments made sense... :-)

chelseas said...

I think that there are many different people in society. I think that many people try to challenge the system, but are “too low in society”. By this I mean that people will try to rebel, but they don’t have enough power to make a difference. That is a great point that alexf brought up. Are we being brainwashed, and are we really learning anything in schools today? I mean, if you look at patterns throughout history, most generations have made HUGE advances. In our generation, we haven’t really made any. Many people will probably argue with me on this point, but if you think about it, we aren’t. With the help of computers, we have just proven that Einstein’s theories are correct. Another example is during the World Wars. Look at how fast we were able to produce our military power and ammunition. If you ask me, we haven’t really made any advancements in our generation, as of today. I agree that America has been brought up differently than other countries, and that we probably think differently.

josed said...

Well, I think this won't stop in China...

The Chinese population is what every government dreams about: a people cowed into indifference. Even our own government would like us not to care so much.

When people get plugged in to technology, they care less and less. Baby Einstein really is dangerous in that respect. If our babies stop caring from such an early age, the world is going to go crazy. Nobody will care about anything, so there will be no political movements, and nothing will change.

KatherineM said...

Wow, that's a really great connection! The article was really interesting. I found this quote to be awful."But when it comes to democracy and all that, well ..." She shrugs expressively and takes a sip of her latte. "That doesn't play a role in my life." It's so sad that these people don't care what's going on in their government and country. All they think about is themselves and how they can keep themselves happy. The part of the article where it talked about the girl who hardly ever smiled but was constantly partying reminded me of Fahrenheit 451 a lot! In F451, the people have the greatest and latest technology, but you can tell they're not truly happy. The girl in this article occupies herself by partying, going on vacations, and shopping, yet it says she rarely smiles, which is an indication that she also is not truly happy. It's sad that the people don't rebel against their government, which says that it's against the law to have more than one child. It seems as this doesn't bother them as much as making sure they always have the best gadgets and other things like that. I find that really horrible. These people need to stop thinking less about themselves and their material possessions, and they need to start thinking more about the government and also their families and friends. It seems that they need to work on their human interaction skills and get involved in activies that require a lot more thought.

maddisonm said...

I personally don't think our society will ever turn out like that, at least not for a very very long time. Right now in America it seems like people are tied in with our community and the government, we want to know what is happening. Also, I think that more and more people are starting to draw away from T.V and become more active and fit. Technology is defiantly used but not in a way that it could take over.

clarao said...

A lot of people have been saying that technology is pulling everyone away from each other, but I think that technology can also bring people together. A lot of married couples in America today met online, and people use chatrooms and those sorts of things all the time. I don't think we give technology enough credit for how much it has actually helped us stay connected.

katyj said...

maybe the people in China aren't rebelling because they have grown up in a society where things like that are just normal. I mean in our movies there is a lot of violence and risque content and we don't rebel against that because we grew up with it and to us it is normal. I don't mean that they shouldn't care because they should, i just mean that it hasn't occured to them that there could be something different.

katyj said...

maybe the people in China aren't rebelling because they have grown up in a society where things like that are just normal. I mean in our movies there is a lot of violence and risque content and we don't rebel against that because we grew up with it and to us it is normal. I don't mean that they shouldn't care because they should, i just mean that it hasn't occured to them that there could be something different.

katyj said...

oops sorry didn't mean to post that twice.

jordanh said...

Well, China can certainly meet the criteria of a Bradbury culture. It seems fast moving, technological based, and very-as hannah said-materialistic. I think that they may not have every component to bradbury's culture, but they are certainly going to head that way and show no signs of stopping. This seems very scarry to me because their ideas could spread and eventually their culture could be ours.

ZachH said...

I agree with whatParkerH said about the pledge. In our country, people have been doing things a certain way for so long, it might be hard for us to change. The same might betrue in China. after 50 years of doing something a certain way, it could be hard to change. Plus there might be pressure from the public not to rebel. Can you imagine if someone tried to convince Americans not to say the pledge. Everyone would say he was an anti-American or other negative stuff like that. Everyone wants to be popular or well thought of in the eyes of the people. In China it is probably the sames story.

catem said...

I definitally agree with what everyone has said so far. I think that China is rising to a world power, or for those of you in Mrs.Cornil's history class a "top dog" because they are becoming so advanced in technology. This is just like Bradbury's society. They are becoming so engulfed in technology, that they hardly know anything but that. But my question for you is, how long can China keep climbing the latter of technology before it blows up in its face? (sound fimiliar to the end of the book?)

catem said...
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mattw said...

well i remember my dad telling me that even though China has 1.3 billion people, only about 11,000,000 are communist. Which is weird considering China is a communist country. In my Chinese class we watched a short video on an american guy who went to China to teach english. He was 'helped' by this old woman, and it turned out her father was executed during the cultural revolution because he had hung up posters of chinese characters with red (or black-i cant remember) ink. That just seemed a LITTLE extreme. That was like challenging the system.

also the topic came up in his english speaking class that america was wrong in bombing hiroshima. The people in his calss said that america had bombed hiroshima for the sole reason to prove that we were better. It made me wonder if the Chinese media was telling the truth, or if ours was telling the truth or not. We just have no reason to disbelieve them. It's not our problem, it happened a half century ago.

morgant said...

I have a point. I think that since America is free, many different people have different opinions. That is why we are in America. We like to think for ourselves, and do things the way we want. Even when it comes to TV, not everyone in America watches TV nonstop...I know I don't. Most of us probably don't. But, what I'm trying to say is that we have a free country. People think what they want. Think about it...When someone tells you what to do...do you do it willingly? Or think something like, "Who do you think you are that you can tell me what to do?" I'm talking about like another teenager. We get a little bit defensive. So, brainwashing America? It might be pretty darn hard.

About China...they don't really want to get involved in politics it sounds like. Americans are always saying...the government did this, and the government did that. The Chinese don't seem to care that much. With the Chinese not caring, who knows what the government can do without the people interfering? Do you know what I mean?


Wow. Sorry, that was a really long post. =]

Lane C. said...

Very nice find Hannah and some impressive connections. Right now it seems to the world that China is progressing in huge leaps because of their technological leaps and bounds and their seemingly more capitalistic society. I never thought of this way until just now when I saw your post. But now that I think about it, it makes complete sense. The whole world, including China, is being led to believe that they are improving while in fact they are doing no such thing. The Chinese government has merely realized that the best way to keep people in control is to appeal to their selfish and materialistic human nature.

(I was in this class last year in case you are wondering who in the world I am)