Bradbury’s nightmare revisited

Posted on June 6, 2012


I was never a fan of Bradbury. But I had to recall his compelling metaphor in Fahrenheit 451 last April, when a turmoil aroused in Argentina following a sudden restriction on imported books and magazines. While the government probably was trying to save some bucks imposing controls on the tons of non-sold magazines regularly shipped to our shores from Europe at dumped prices, local official invoked an implausible danger of poisonous ink.

As the measure was adopted just when the Publisher’s Association was about to open its Buenos Aires Annual Book Fair (with expected one million plus visitors and buyers), the government was accused of jeopardizing the future of culture and science improving of the country.

In the end, Horacio Gonzalez, director of the National Library issued an amusing open letter to calm down the feverish controversy, warning not to confuse a commercial measure with a Fahrenheit 451 warfare on books. The Internal Commerce secretary, Guillermo Moreno, lifted any restrictions on imports for personal use and the storm faded away.