Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Ray Bradbury and Michael Moore

I grew up on Ray Bradbury's work, and I hate to insult the man. But his tiff with Michael Moore over the title Fahrenheit 911 is inane.

Bradbury didn't have to ask the permission of the Walt Whitman estate when he used the phrase "I Sing the Body Electric" as a title for one of his short stories. And if Shakespeare were alive, I don't think he would have objected to Bradbury's use of the title Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Yes, I know Shakespeare wrote in the days before copyright. So what? Copyright does not enter into this discussion one way or the other: Titles cannot be copyrighted. If you want to write a book called Dandelion Wine, go right ahead.

Authors have been riffing on the titles of other writers' works for ages -- one of the first novels, Pamela, gave rise to a parody called Shamela. The entire adult film industry is built around wordplay of this sort.

Poor Ray. He's being used by the right-wing agit-propsters.

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