Dubstep 451

We have just finished reading Part I of Fahrenheit 451 and got into a discussion about whether this futuristic society wasn’t a bit like our own. I asked the students for examples. There were the expected sort of answers–video games that one student sees her brothers get glassy-eyed over, shallow texts and tweets that CN likes to decipher and laugh at, and, of course, surfing the internet that almost everyone in the class totally connected with. “It’s skimming not sinking,” EH said.

That was when DM suggested dubstep.  I had a puzzled look on my face. Several students in the class nodded their heads in agreement. “Yeah, dubstep is the soul of Fahrenheit.” I had never heard of it before. “It’s hard to explain,” DM said.

But slowly, with a lot of different students’ enthusiastic expertise, I learned that dubstep is dance music that has a heavy base and percussion and, if I understood them correctly, was created by DJs. It’s an electronically manipulated music, very loud, with a very fast beat. As one student said, it’s not just music and it’s not just dancing, but “it’s a total body experience.”

So there you have it. You might want to play the audio above to get the flavor of dubset (it does contain a few explicit lyrics), but yes, this is a perfect example of Fahrenheit society. Dubset seems to be an accurate illustration of the loud rhythmic manic energy that distracts from thinking or reflecting, allowing only reacting. It would make a superb soundtrack for the first part of the book.

“If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly,” Beatty tells Montag in Fahrenheit 451. “I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration.”

I think the students really nailed this one.

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