Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Waltz with Orwell: 1999 to the Present

In the wake of the NSA-PRISM-Snowden scandal (which has not yet finished, of course), there's a lot of talk about George Orwell and 1984. Michael Moynihan's Newsweek essay helped put things in perspective. We're not in 1984 yet, and many other societies are a lot closer to that totalitarian nightmare than ours. But I've gone back to the Orwell, as it were, many times over the years because there's almost always something to be learned from his writing, whether in 1984, or Animal Farm or his many marvelous essays. I think "Fable" (2011) and "American Nightmare" (2006) may be of particular interest. (Please do feel free to comment, tweet, share, etc.)


    A Cautionary Fable

    ... here. We’re talking about a parable of all-too-human politics. We could talk about communism (as Orwell does), or fascism, or for that matter Jacobinism, Catholicism, Protestantism...

    How Iran Protests Threaten Arab Rulers

    ... doesn't seem to mean much any more. But back in the middle of the 20th century, when George Orwell wrote the bleak, iconic novel 1984, he had a profound sense of the evil that men did...

    Why Nations Can't Escape the Empire Trap

    When George Orwell was a young man in the 1920s, he served as a British policeman in the colony of Burma. On duty there he saw, as he put it, "the dirty work of empire at close...

    American Dream, American Nightmare

    ... to be confused with patriotism, which Orwell defined as “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish...

    Shadowland: Freedom's Just Another Word

    ... its hallucinatory rhetoric. George Orwell had the key words about right, describing the party slogans of another time, another place: "WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS...

    Shadowland: Pride And Prejudices

    ... willing to sacrifice sweet reason in order to save face, to protect pride. As George Orwell pointed out, they will refuse to see what's right in front of their noses. He called this...

    Giving Voice To Freedom

    ..., capable of repression as surreal as anything imagined by George Orwell. This is a country where the dreaded intelligence agency is officially called the Ministry of Information. Last...

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