The AP reported yesterday that the author of the brilliantly written "Fahrenheit 451," Ray Bradbury, is demanding both an apology from Michael Moore and a name change to his most recent short film "Fahrenheit 9/11." Bradbury asserts that Mr. Moore did not ask permission to borrow from his title and expects him to "give me back my book and my title."
Bradbury reportedly called Mr. Moore's company six months ago to discuss this issue and was promised a return call, but only recently received one. Mr. Bradbury told the AP that Moore described himself as "embarrassed" over the amount of time that he had let go by before returning the call.
Joanne Doroshow, the spokesperson for Moore's movie, was reported as saying that "Mr. Bradbury's work has been an inspiration to all of us involved in this film, but when you watch this film you will see the fact that the title reflects the facts that the movie explores, the very real life events before, around and after 9-11." Mr. Moore's company has yet to indicate whether or not they intend to honor Mr. Bradbury's request.
Thats the news portion of this post, now for a few comments on this issue.
First things first. Ms. Doroshow comments that the title of their movie reflects the facts. Fair enough. But there are likely several hundred titles that one could come up with which would do the same.
Why choose this title? At this point, the only real similarity between the Bradbury book and Mr. Moore's film is the fact that they are both works of fiction.
Furthermore, even the subtitle of the movie "borrows" from Bradbury's book in that the book states that "Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns," while Moore's subtitle is that "Fahrenheit 9/11 is the temperature at which freedom burns."
Did Moore borrow from Bradbury's book title because he thought it appropriate or is he attempting to borrow some of the name recognition that goes with the title? Make no mistake, this book/film title has tremendous name recognition worldwide.
I've been a scifi fan for at least the past quarter century and I know many of the names who are considered to be among the finest of the genre. Names like Asimov, Benford, Brin, Dick, Donaldson, Harrison, McCaffrey, Niven, Pournelle, Wells, etc.
Bradbury is a giant among those giants when it comes to his work and, needless to say, I've read almost everything he's ever written. Mr. Bradbury's work has, without a doubt, inspired and influenced generations of young authors, as well as the creation of innumerable movies and television shows.