nostradamus or chicken little?

two words: depressing as

1984

1984 is the chilling de-fabled sequel to Animal Farm.

The swine, obsessed with power, manufacture wars to dispose of the excess they will not share as deprivation facilitates their extreme political hold on the proletariat. They evolve into Big Brother, a fascistic menace embodied in an intrusive trick eye, a Stalin-esque mo, and severe and sinister slogans:

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.

Big Brother starves and oppresses the proles, vapourizes identity or ‘ownlife’ among party members, callously shreds the family unit, promotes the deterioration of language from Oldspeak to Newspeak to Duckspeak, and uses insidious propaganda to sour and divert the sex impulse into blind political zeal. He routinely violates logic, “The heresy of heresies is common sense” p.106,  and worse yet, at will alters the past with an obliterating memory hole buried deep within the bowels of the Ministry of Truth. Facts are no longer incontrovertible: two and two make five and ‘sanity is statistical’, p.361. Doublespeak is on the money,

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

literally too.

“The object of power is power,” p.344, and Big Brother wants it all, including singular devotion. So an elaborate trap is set for the last two lovers, Winston and Julia, left in London.

winston, julia and the horror of being caught, in the 1984, 1984 film directed by michael radford

After a vicious series of mind-altering torture sessions, the last two beating hearts resemble the entry to the Ministry of Love, “entangled in a maze of barbed-wires, steel doors and hidden machine-gun nests,” p.11 .

Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me
There lie they and here lie we
Under the spreading chestnut tree

They ultimately betray each other. There is no corner of the mind or heart sacred, no hope left, just ever-widening degrees of despair. Winston, the protagonist, is reduced to the pedantry of whither the comma goes, and even he proves unworthy of our sympathy after revealing his ‘big brother’ moment, p.212. He is only mildly redeemed by his nagging hesitation and unrelenting Victory Gin dependency in the end, if that.

orwell's optimism

While 1984 is a fine cautionary tale for aspiring politicos and media folk, and Orwell’s language is genius, as an innocent reader I feel verbally shanked. Orwell’s vision of the future is too bleak; he goes too far. He envisions himself ‘a minority of one’, a fundamental flaw in his reckoning of human nature, when in fact, most of us are not passive or dim or lacking in imagination and courage… Right? It’s why I can’t dig this book.

About the soundtrack, it’s a spontaneous backlash of 1980’s music in the face of Orwell’s morbid pessimism.

soundtrack
you dropped a bomb on me (baby)-the gap band

 

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