Okay, so a little disclaimer. This really isn’t related to the administration currently in office. For future reference, this post was initially drafted in January 2019.
I’m only about 45% through the book. So, I won’t make observations past that point. And that’s all this post is…a list of observations and how they appear to correlate to our current time in life.
If you’ve never read the book, you should. It’s on Amazon Prime for free if you’re a Prime member. Libraries have it, too.
Big Brother Is Watching You
So, in the very beginning of the book, Winston is entering into the building where his apartment is located. There is a poster of “Big Brother.” The caption reads “Big Brother Is Watching You.”
Anyway, you know exactly what I’m talking about…how it seems like you even think that you need to buy something and the ad pops up. I understand how it happens from searching for something via a search engine and then seeing targeted ads on websites and social media. It’s the big, wide world of cookies.
Think about all of the private conversations leaked by Alexa. There’s technology out there that allows people, government or not, to see you through your web cam and you’d NEVER know it (I know – I was victimized by it by the ex). Apps (broad use – anything that allows the following actions to happen) can be used to see everything you type on your computer, your cell phone, your smart anything. Again, there’s a chance you may never know it’s there. Some of the choices are so sophisticated, you won’t find them unless you are very, very skilled or hire someone very, very skilled.
So, yes, we are being watched…all the time. And, yes, it’s okay if you’re okay with that. This isn’t some paranoid idea. It’s just a thought I had the minute I read that in the book.
When I first read this word, I did not read it as new + speak. I read it as news + speak. Immediately it conjured up in my mind the uptick of clickbait. Poorly worded and often intentionally misleading headlines. For example, I recently saw a local news channel’s tweet about a missing 11 year old boy who was found safe and….”no foul play suspected.” Well, I’d fucking hope not since you said he was found safe.
It used to be, not all that long ago, that clickbait type shit was primarily used by people who do what I do (content writing). I’m not a huge fan of it, but it can be used appropriately. I’ve used a few titles that are clickbait designed without being over the top:
My blog, as all of you know, isn’t monetized. But, I mean, if you’re going to write a blog and you want to be known for what you say, you’re going to create things that bring in clicks…but what I’ve offered via headline has always been supported by the content.
Now, it seems like major journalistic outlets (and even not so major ones) use a ridiculous amount of clickbait and flat out false information both in their title and within the article. There was a time when we ostracized “professionals for that.”
And for good reason. Journalism used to be about truth. Fiction was saved for…well, fiction writers (including novel authors, novella authors, and writers for rag magazines).
Yet, the idea of new + speak isn’t completely foreign to me. I know it isn’t for you, either. I don’t just mean common slang. In the book, the term essentially means that they take away all the options to say something except one or two ways. So that the populace only said what the government wanted. I mean, it is a book that also highlights the idea of a thought crime.
Thought crimes…I could devote an entire post to just that. Anyway…
I liken it to the continued reduction we see in reading comprehension. And, yes, I know there are several legitimate reasons why someone may struggle to comprehend what they read. For many people, though, they just don’t want to be bothered to pick up a dictionary and learn something.
Victory Gin and Cigarettes
I will keep this quite short.
People are a lot easier to control when you keep them eyeball deep in various addictions. When that’s all someone cares about, it’s harder to see the big picture and what’s happening in their lives and in the world.
The proles were those looked down upon by most of the working class. This part of society was fairly self contained. They technically had the same laws, but the police never went to enforce them. They could pretty much do what they wanted….and they never realized the power they had if they would only stand up.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Mandatory Jobs as a Federal Worker
So, I sat down to write this today instead of first finishing the book because some friends of mine who have an afternoon talk show here in my city mentioned AOC and some of the things she’d like to do while in office. One of those things is to make everyone a federal employee. You know, just like in 1984. First, let me state that I have no idea if she actually said or alluded to that.
Can you imagine what would happen to everyone right now during the government shutdown? And there would likely still be a shutdown because we have too many cooks trying to lead the kitchen. The book mentions rationed food, no razors, fake coffee, televisions that watch you and that you must interact with to show your support, and persecution (including death) for thought crimes.
Sounds dreamy. And by dreamy I mean some fucking nightmare.
Screens That Constantly Watch You
The book discusses the placement of screens that constantly watch what’s happening…where they can talk directly to you. You can’t have private conversations. You can’t just associate with anyone you want. If you even LOOK like you don’t support the government, they come and get you.
Pretty easy for me to relate that to our constant use of technology. You can revisit my yammering toward the top to refresh yourself.
Finding a Hide Away
Like I said, I’m only about half through the book…but several times Winston and someone (I won’t try to spoil it for you, but it’s not his wife). sneak off to find hide aways to spend time together.
Remember when we used to be told what a wonderful tool technology would be and how it would make our lives easier? Now we have zombies who constantly look at their screens and probably have legitimate withdrawals without their phone or laptop or tablet or video game. Now, it’s considered progress to “unplug” and not feel like we are constantly tethered to devices. Look at that…what was once the master became the slave.
So, if you get the chance, read 1984 by George Orwell. There are so many points I could make that I haven’t just with the first half of the book…