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"[Science fiction is] an integration of the mood and attitude of science (the objective universe) with the fears and hopes that spring from the unconscious."
- Gregory Benford

Mental Radio-Handicap  
  A device that destroys concentration.  

In the world of Harrison Bergeron, if a man were to have, let's say, exceptional mental acuity that makes him stand out from the average personal, it's a problem. No one should have to feel bad that they aren't as focused and smart - therefore, his ability to concentrate must be destroyed for the good of society.

But he didn't get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts. George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas. Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

"Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer," said George.

"I'd think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds," said Hazel, a little envious. "All the things they think up."

"Um," said George.

From Harrison Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr..
Published by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1961
Additional resources -

Thanks to Connor Lawrence for contributing this item.

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