The Bodacious Belgrade Blog

November 17, 2008

1984

Filed under: Uncategorized — bunitingi @ 3:10 am
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I’ve been rereading George Orwell’s 1984, for the first time since high school, when, while rather impressed by it, i didn’t quite absorb the full impact of it. You know how it is, required reading, while sometimes still impacting is after all required reading, and i took a lot of it for granted.

Now rereading it, i am utterly blown away.

Orwell of course is a literary genuis. I discovered Down And Out back in early college and was really moved. 1984 has remained one of the those books that you know so much about you rarely go back to fully appreciate just why it’s so ubiquitous. But having gone back i’m so moved that it’s making a post.

It clocks in at considerably less than 200 pages (as opposed to the 4 1,000 page novels i’ve been reading. a cyberpunkish series that to be hoest isn’t all that great, but what the hell. It got me through the broken foot).

It is to it’s credit that Orwell does not waste a single word. the book is so packed with ideas that most lesser novelists would devote full tombs to ideas contained in only one chapter.

Mot dystopian novels pale in comparison and most of the rest owe a deep gratitude to it.

Having now become quite intimate with the communist/socialist backdrop on which it is based, i am astonished at how well he nails many socialist details. The book was written in 1949, the cold war hadn’t even really begun in earnest, Russia hadn’t yet even approached it’s zentih, and the Chinese cultural revolution was still almost 20 years away. And yet he understands the eastern european socialist/communist fallicies and takes them to a limit of incredible vision.

But of course the book is vastly more than a scathing critique of eastern european communism. As long as there are governments, there will be the manipulation of the masses. Every American with half a brain can see the manipulation in their own culture. ( a pretty interesting current critique can be found in the internet video Zeitgeist: Addendum. I don’t agree with every assertion and point of view, but even so, it’s really bloody impacting.) Critique of government and societal attempts at mass manipulation will never go away, and i have never read a better, more thought provoking book on the subject than 1984.

North Korea today pretty much uses the book as a how to manual.

So basically, i know some of you out there have probably thought that it might be a good idea to pick 1984 up again at some point and give it another read through. If you’re in between novels, than let me be the one to tell you: go for it. It IS in fact all that and more. It’s doubleplusgood.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

As true today as it ever was.

Just for kicks here’s clip from the 80’s movie. I never did see it in it’s entirety and can’t vouch for it, but if you’re bored, what the hell.

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3 Comments »

  1. North Korea hell, Dick Cheney has used it as a how-to manual for the past 8 years.

    Orwell knew human beings inside & out, thus his instincts on what sort of manipulations humans are capable of will never wear out. The man fought in the Spanish Civil War, washed dishes for scraps in Paris, and wandered around London homeless and penniless before he ever set to work on 1984, thus his perspective on man’s inhumanity to man was obviously very well-informed.

    One great value of this book is that it has given us all common reference points when our governments attempt to manipulate us. When someone starts talking about surveillance, all you have to say is Big Brother, and people’s ears prick up. Doublethink, newspeak, all of these things can be found in our society, and thanks to Orwell, we have verbal shorthand to call them out for what they really are.

    I have a certain amount of hope that our incoming president has read 1984 as a cautionary tale and not as an owner’s manual to the executive office.

    Comment by matthew — November 17, 2008 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

  2. Cheney, nothing.

    Try Obama. Hillary will be putting the evidence of Slick Willie’s lapses that led to Osama down the Memory Hole. Political Correctness is the epitome of Doublespeak.

    I live in Los Angeles where having a centrist bumper sticker results in dragging you off to Room 101. Or at least subjecting your car to 2-3 thousand dollars in vandalism by “tolerant” lefties.

    Totalitarianism always comes from the left. Carter was the Midwife of Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. Mao and Stalin killed more in a week than all the Republican Presidents in the last century.

    Comment by Aaron's cc — November 24, 2008 @ 11:57 am | Reply

  3. Your comparison of Jimmy Carter to Mao & Stalin, I’m afraid, has marked you as a complete moron. I would go after your response point-by-point, except that you obviously have your head shoved so far up your keister that no sound may enter, save that of your churning spleen.

    Comment by matthew — November 24, 2008 @ 8:03 pm | Reply


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