Who says popular taste is always misguided? It can draw a bead of greatness like an officer with the
Of all the politically inspired authors of the last century, it is Blair, better known as George Orwell, who stands head and shoulders over the others, just as he did physically in his short but momentous life. To quote a statement from his publisher,
As generations of readers continue to discover, it is Orwell's "1984" that best captures the way our would-be saviors twist the language to suit their purpose of the moment. That the author had trouble finding a publisher when he wrote it may be the best evidence of how each successive wave of censors devises its own version of newspeak to rationalize its desires. Back then, in the 1940s, the book couldn't find a press that would print the manuscript lest it offend "our fighting Russian allies."
Some sentences that now have the ring of prophecy were deemed subversive back then. Consider just a couple of them that are typical of his journalism, which now has become literature:
"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past." Which might explain the insistence of today's social engineers on protecting us from our own thoughts. These arbiters of taste tend to depict their current list of villains and heroes, whether headed by
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever." As anyone who dares disagree with our oh-so-advanced thinkers may soon discover. For there is no proposition so devoid of common sense that it can't be accepted as gospel by today's avant-garde on college campuses looking for safe spaces to spout their nonsense. These savants are soon enough reduced to robotically repeating "1984"-like slogans like war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. And for those of us ordinary mortals who can see through such catch phrases, we'd better do as current fashion demands, for Big Brother -- or Big Sister -- is always watching.
To survive in such a poisonous atmosphere requires a mastery of what Orwell called doublethink, meaning the power of "holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." It's a losing hand. Or as
Still in his teens when he joined the
The highest compliment that may be paid a writer is to turn his name into an adjective, as when some premonition of the awful future is called Orwellian, meaning something dark and dreadful. The ironies involved in this discussion are many, for Orwellian takes its name from a writer who warned against the dark time.