Category Archive '“1984”'
14 Sep 2019
Lit Hub excerpted from a history of the renowned publishing house Faber some very interesting rejection letters, mostly by none other than T.S. Eliot.
The most indefensible one has to be:
T. S. Eliot to George Orwell Esq., 13 July 1944:
I know that you wanted a quick decision about Animal Farm; but the minimum is two directorsâ€™ opinions, and that canâ€™t be done under a week. But for the importance of speed, I should have asked the Chairman to look at it as well. But the other director is in agreement with me on the main points. We agree that it is a distinguished piece of writing; that the fable is very skilfully handled, and that the narrative keeps oneâ€™s interest on its own plane â€“ and that is something very few authors have achieved since Gulliver.
On the other hand, we have no conviction (and I am sure none of the other directors would have) that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time.[. . .]
I am very sorry, because whoever publishes this, will naturally have the opportunity of publishing your future work: and I have a regard for your work, because it is good writing of fundamental integrity.
It is that last paragraph that particularly strikes me: in turning down Animal Farmâ€”essentially because it was being rude about our Soviet alliesâ€”Eliot was also turning down the unwritten 1984.
Roz Kaveney detected a pattern in Eliot’s thinking.
When we look at Eliot’s writings on culture, we see a fine critical intelligence allied to a fear of possible consequences that is deeply terrifying in the way that in it elitist arrogance masquerades as humility and passionate concern to keep things as they are as a broadly accepting humanism.
12 Jun 2019
How far down the road to Totalitarianism has our contemporary elite community of fashion gone? This far.
Aaron Bastani says:
The World Is a Mess. We Need Fully Automated Luxury Communism.
Asteroid mining. Gene editing. Synthetic meat. We could provide for the needs of everyone, in style. It just takes some imagination. …
But thereâ€™s a catch. Itâ€™s called capitalism. It has created the newly emerging abundance, but it is unable to share round the fruits of technological development. A system where things are produced only for profit, capitalism seeks to ration resources to ensure returns. Just like todayâ€™s, companies of the future will form monopolies and seek rents. The result will be imposed scarcity â€” where thereâ€™s not enough food, health care or energy to go around.
So we have to go beyond capitalism. Many will find this suggestion unwholesome. To them, the claim that capitalism will or should end is like saying a triangle doesnâ€™t have three sides or that the law of gravity no longer applies while an apple falls from a tree. But for a better world, where everyone has the means to a good life on a habitable planet, it is an imperative.
We can see the contours of something new, a society as distinct from our own as that of the 20th century from feudalism, or urban civilization from the life of the hunter-gatherer. It builds on technologies whose development has been accelerating for decades and that only now are set to undermine the key features of what we had previously taken for granted as the natural order of things.
To grasp it, however, will require a new politics. One where technological change serves people, not profit. Where the pursuit of tangible policies â€” rapid decarbonization, full automation and socialized care â€” are preferred to present fantasies. This politics, which is utopian in horizon and everyday in application, has a name: Fully Automated Luxury Communism.
Sounds good, doesnâ€™t it?
“Just abolish freedom of choice and market capitalism, just surrender all decision-making power to us scientific experts, the Nomenklatura, and the world will be different.
We’ll abolish scarcity and inequality and with our great big brains and unlimited benevolence, we’ll create heaven on earth. Of course, you better not disagree, or criticize our vision, or try standing in our way.”
It’s been tried before, of course, in lots of places.
28 Apr 2019
Kate Smith statue outside Xfinity live!.
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
–George Orwell, “1984”
11 Aug 2017
HT: Karen L. Myers.
18 Jan 2011
Recovering liberal was reminded of a scene in Nineteen Eighty-Four by the way the liberal mainstream media devotes a special kind of attention to Sarah Palin.
It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate.
The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one’s teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one’s neck. The Hate had started.
As usual, the face of Sarah Palin, the Enemy of the Democratic Party and the Main Stream Media and especially leftist bloggers, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. A little red-haired woman journalist gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Palin was the renegade, one of the leading figures of the Republican Party, almost on a level with the near mythological figure â€œReaganâ€, and had engaged in counter-liberal activities, had been condemned to irrelevancy, but had mysteriously escaped from liberal media attacks and gained a mass following. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Palin was not the principal figure. She was the primal enemy, the defiler of the Party’s plans including the Death Panels. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of her teaching. She was still active and hatching her conspiracies: perhaps under the protection of secret paymasters, perhaps even — so it was occasionally rumoured, the mysterious Koch brothers and the equally mysterious Fox Murdoch.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Bill Ivers.
04 Jun 2010
Jonah Goldberg argues that the hedonic consumerism nightmare of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) has proven more accurately prophetic of the dystopian direction of Modernity than the brutal collectivism of George Orwell’s 1984 (1949).
[P]olitics is increasingly a vehicle for delivering prepackaged joy. Americaâ€™s political system used to be about the pursuit of happiness. Now more and more of us want to stop chasing it and have it delivered. And though it has been the subject of high school English essay questions for generations, we have not gotten much closer to answering the question, what exactly was so bad about the Brave New World?
Simply this: it is foolâ€™s gold. The idea that we can create a heaven on earth through pharmacology and neuroscience is as utopian as the Marxist hope that we could create a perfect world by rearranging the means of production. The history of totalitarianism is the history of the quest to transcend the human condition and create a society where our deepest meaning and destiny are realized simply by virtue of the fact that we live in it. It cannot be done, and even if, as often in the case of liberal fascism, the effort is very careful to be humane and decent, it will still result in a kind of benign tyranny where some people get to impose their ideas of goodness and happiness on those who may not share them.
“Homer was wrong in saying: ‘Would that strife might perish from among gods and men!’ He did not see that he was praying for the destruction of the universe; for, if his prayer were heard, all things would pass away.”
—Heraclitus of Ephesus
18 Jul 2009
Maybe readers allowing you to purchase electronic copies of books from giant impersonal corporations are not such a good idea after all.
What happens when Amazon decides, for reasons of its own, that you should not be in possession of a particular book? Pop! It’s gone. Eliminated by your friendly corporation’s software update system.
Big Brother came calling on Amazon customers yesterday, as the New York Times reports.
In George Orwellâ€™s â€œ1984,â€ government censors erase all traces of news articles embarrassing to Big Brother by sending them down an incineration chute called the â€œmemory hole.â€
On Friday, it was â€œ1984â€ and another Orwell book, â€œAnimal Farm,â€ that were dropped down the memory hole â€” by Amazon.com.
In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.
An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. â€œWhen we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customersâ€™ devices, and refunded customers,â€ he said.
Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. â€œWe are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customersâ€™ devices in these circumstances,â€ Mr. Herdener said.