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The first time I read Kurt Vonnegut Jrs Harrison Bergeron I was a freshman at community college After a quick skim I took it to be yet another short story about a perverse kind of utopian society sacrificing some basic human right or another in order to keep the peace I was then compelled to read it again after watching Bruce Pittmans movie adaptation of the story on television After reading the story a second time and a third and many times after I have come to realize that there are more parallels between the story and our contemporary society than I had ever thought to consider today in 2004 American society is figuratively employing the same controls and constraints used literally in Vonneguts imaginary 2038 The last fifty years or so of American history have seen significant changes in media image methods of creative expression and levels of government control In 1961 Kurt Vonnegut Jr sensed the future of these changes and this story is a cautionary tale about what may happen to our own and our countrys identities if we allow the shallow and the simple to dictate our behavior Vonnegut has not merely created a perverse utopia as one might have originally thought upon his or her first reading of the story - he has created a dystopia one built on oppression and subjugation of intellect and creativity only its residents are too maladjusted to recognize their situation as anything but average Our country is beginning to turn toward this very real possibility Many other cultures view America as being one of the most free and liberal nations in the world the American lifestyle is both envied and reviled for these very qualities However the government and the media keep strict tabs on this freedom and we find in many instances that this freedom may only be expressed in normal ways One can find this to be especially true in the current
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