Going Off the Grid, But First a Touch of Ray Bradbury:
Yeah, yeah, he went kind of batshit at the end there with the right wing politics, but, as much as any writer in his adolescence, Ray Bradbury made the Rude Pundit want to write. Bradbury died yesterday.
And before he goes off the grid for a couple of days at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, he'll leave you with this from Dandelion Wine, Bradbury's look at a small town that is as quietly devastating and filled with yearning as Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio.
In the book, Leo Auffmann builds a Happiness Machine, a box that you sit inside and it gives you all kinds of experiences. It lets you go to Paris. It lets you dance with imaginary people. It lets you see things and hear things and even smell things that are supposed to make you happy. When his son, Saul, and wife, Lena, try it out, they end up in tears, not happy at all, really. When a confused Leo asks why, Lena explains that to experience all those things in a machine is depressing because she'll never experience them for real. And that they'll just want to keep going back to the machine, and get bored with reality, and it will make them sadder and sadder until "we will be no fit family to you."
Read it. In a book. Not here.
So the Rude Pundit is going off the grid. No post tomorrow. No tweets. No "Rude at Bonnaroo" this year. He's going to simply enjoy the experience of this festival, this time each year that he genuinely loves with people who are some of the best he's ever known. No machine to imitate happiness. Just the real kind.
If you're at Bonnaroo, come by the Academy tent when the "Occupy the Stage" workshop is going on, once each day. Otherwise, you'll find the Rude Pundit dancing sweaty in tents and fields, under the sun, under the stars, in the air, the very real air, filled with the scents of very real people.