What is the meaning of this quote from Fahrenheit 451, by Captain Beatty: "So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your daredevils, jet cars, motorcycle helicopters, your...

What is the meaning of this quote from Fahrenheit 451, by Captain Beatty:

"So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your daredevils, jet cars, motorcycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with the automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with 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."

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Shortly before this section, Beatty is on a rant about why books should be burned. He lists different types of literature and how they might offend certain groups. If anyone is offended, his response is to burn the books. He says, "Bum the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag." He even says it is right to burn and get rid of funerals because they cause people discomfort. For Beatty, fire cleans away anything uncomfortable in life. 

Beatty goes on to say that, along with burning books, a society should eliminate choices. For example, to eliminate political discord, don't have two sides to an issue. He wants to eliminate anything that causes critical thinking. He also says to cram people with useless trivia, and they will think themselves brilliant and useful. In short, feed people inane and useless entertainment. Avoid giving them anything that will inspire critical and creative thinking. Beatty is saying that this ideal society will create a populace of sheep. They will not think for themselves, but they will be happy in their ignorance. 

He wants hollow, superficial, and useless entertainment to distract the mass of people from their critical and creative thinking. In this society of sheep, a bad drama and a film that says nothing both fit right in. He doesn't want art or entertainment that will make people think outside the box. If the play is too empty, play some music (theremin) and the audience will think they are being intellectually stimulated, when in fact they are being lulled by a vibration. Beatty wants any kind of entertainment or distraction that will produce and sustain a thoughtless and lazy population. 

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