Friday, July 30, 2010
Comic Con Impressions; Ray Bradbury
I may catch some hell for this (if anyone ever reads it), but it seems to me that Ray Bradbury is a bit of an ass. Certainly he seems to be living through a great spiritual contradiction. A self-proclaimed Zen Buddhist, his passion is for humans to colonize Mars and other galaxies in order to survive as a species. His grand vision that humans 'live forever' has little to do with Buddhism as I understand it. And what the fuck is with this Mars talk anyway? Does it make sense to let our perfectly habitable planet go just because there is a possibly (but probably not) habitable, mostly barren one next door? I mean, we can't quite manage to make Afghanistan a safe place to live, so what the hell are we going to do on a planet with no oxygen?
Furthermore, his rationale for naming Ronald Reagan our 'greatest president' is an inspired stroke of Zen detachment: 'he gave the money back to the people.' Money and Buddhism! The perfect blend. And I want to know just who was getting all this money back in the 80s. Oh, and hey, Ray, do you know how much tax money has been spent trying to colonize Iraq? Well try Mars on for size!
OK, the truth is, I think it would be pretty cool to put people on Mars, so enough with the Bradbury bashing. Though wheelchair bound, his mind remains active. He's still working, still writing. The fact is, I liked a lot of what the old buzzard had to say about his love of old Prince Valiant and Buck Rogers comics, how they influenced his work and spurred his imagination. Comics! That's what the Con is about, right? I was pleased to hear that he still reads daily comic strips, his favorite being the excellent Mutts. He also seems to have a genuine love of fantasy and adventure and the works of friends and contemporaries like Richard Matheson and Roald Dahl. Also cool is his participation in designing urban spaces, like San Diego's labyrinthine Horton Plaza, and his active support in sustaining public libraries, which he credits as his source of higher learning when he could not afford college.
I also loved hearing that he once banged Bo Derek in a train compartment.
Ray Bradbury! Buddhist, conservative, sex god. Thanks for the talk, old timer.
Photograph courtesy of Kid Shay