The stage production of 1984, based on the book of the same name by George Orwell, previewed in London some months ago to rave reviews by critics.
According to London-based journalist, John Pilger,”Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring.” It was as if Edward’s Snowden’s revelations didn’t exist, Governments and their co-opted multinational corporations were not digital eavesdroppers and Orwell had never stated that “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”
The production was a yardstick of our cultural and political times, when the lights came on heralding the play’s end; people were already on their way out, obviously unmoved or distracted.
One young woman was overheard saying ”What a mind f***”, as she switched on her cell phone.
Well, Orwell’s ‘prophecies’ have materialised, democracy is a rhetorical device, peace is perpetual war, global is imperial, reform means regression even destruction, certainly not the hopeful concept once peddled. ‘Austerity’ is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.
A professor of English literature at Manchester University, Terry Eagleton, maintained a few years ago that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright, or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life.” Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice. The non-tabloid media regards itself as reputable and credible, yet serves a parallel role as an arm of state and corporate power, promoting illegal wars?
John Pilger reminisces of a time when he began his career as a journalist in Fleet Street, Britain, “when in politics, journalism and the arts dissent was tolerated in the mainstream. Today’s grand illusion is of an information age when, in truth, we live in a media age in which incessant corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, effective and liberal.”
Historian Norman Pollack wrote” For goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while”
Orwell’s works have diminished in popularity over the past few decades especially in academia, which may be attributed in part to his loss of ‘revolutionary’ status amongst scholars. Although Orwell briefly flirted with British socialism he quickly came to see it for what it was and became disillusioned.
Or maybe he was just too much of a ‘prophet’ to have any ‘honour’ among his own people- the English- speaking ones around the world, or more specifically Western society.
Of course those in the know understand that Orwell certainly wasn’t a prophet but a member of the world’s elite who could not have come by his detailed ‘predictions’ or rather orchestrated plans for the future- any other way. Why did he write his books though, what was the motivation? Was he commissioned by the elite to be the messenger of their message?
Just like Aldous Huxley and HG Wells were.
And what were the elite’s intentions in disclosing these details? To simply taunt out of a psychopathic sense of humour and hubris. Maybe they banked on the world NOT “getting it”
Much like the stage production of 1984 being interpreted as an isolated period piece? Or a good yarn, nothing more.
Or maybe the elites and Orwell parted company- he went solo- and took it on himself to issue the warnings in the hope the world ”WOULD get it.”
Lets’ consider some of Orwell’s famous quotes- which showcase his enormous talent as a serious writer of note.
.There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them
. But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought
. In a time of universal deceit- telling the truth is a revolutionary act
. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’ all issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia
. The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history
. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past
. No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer
. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.
. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, ……
. Progress and reaction have both turned out to be swindles
. A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him
. The more people chant about their freedom and how free they are, the more loudly I hear their chains rattling