: views from the Hill

Friday, December 22, 2006

Harrison Bergeron

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April, for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.


Comments in a post at Noise in the Attic reminded me of this short story.

The post at Noise in the Attic was commenting on a recent news report: Seems a "high school in Needham, MA, has decided not to publish their Honor Roll in the newspaper any longer. Why? Because it causes stress in the students who don’t make it. Plus, adds the principal, it puts an "unhealthy emphasis on grades".


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