I read this store some 10+ years ago. I am pretty confident that it was a short story. I have been through my collection a few times but I haven't been able to find it. It has sentences such as below. They are not verbatim, but they provide the gist of the content and tone.

We are watching a ballerina dance. Isn't she beautiful? The camera pans and we see that she is wearing weights around her waist. After all, it isn't fair that she can dance better than others.

A man can be seen programming on his computer at home. He is wearing headphones. Let us listen to what he is listening to. Why, its's loud noise to distract him. After all, it isn't fair that he is more intelligent than others.

It has another scene on beauty and so on.


1 Answer 1


As noted by multiple users in the comments, this is most likely "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut. The story takes place in a dystopian society where people with above-average skills are "handicapped" to keep other people from feeling inferior.

The handicaps include both weights for ballerinas and loud noises for the intelligent, as you've recalled:

"Ladies and Gentlemen," said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred pound men.

And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

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