Usually I try to avoid politics here on this little blog, but this time I really can’t hold on to myself because it just upsets me. Yepp, those 1984 novel analogies. It happens to be one of my all time favorite books, so I think I have to say a thing or two about the matter.
Back then when I was about 15 or 16 and got my hands on it for the first time (the original English version, no less) after having read Animal Farm several times, I literally sucked it in and must have read it about ten times over in a row. I will not claim that my knowledge of this Orwell masterpiece is intimate or current, as I haven’t read it in a while, but here’s what get’s me: People get all worked up comparing it to some current going-ons with the Trump administration over that “alternate facts” statement by Mrs. Kellyanne Conway comparing it to the book’s euphemistic, reversed meaning use of some words. Pardon me, but that’s nonsense.
Like it or not, you will not find any valid answers to the current political situation in there, as much as you may want to learn and dissect the finer points of Newspeak. You’re only helping someone to make more money. There is nothing in there that will help you understand Mr. Trump or the machinations of his administration by looking for wisdom in a book from 70 years ago. Using platitudes ripped out of context may be fashionable on the news, but it’s not going to further your understanding of the situation nor do I personally think it’s in any way adequate or even appropriate. Orwell himself would probably feel insulted by this abuse of his creation.
This only goes to show as widely known and influential the book may be, it’s also one of the most misunderstood ones of our time. Why some allegory to the events of the time and common themes like dictatorship, censorship and oppression of freedom can’t be overlooked, it first and foremost remains a story of love, betrayal and individual tragedy, with a meticulously crafted scenery and language framework built around it. If you ignore that, then you will rob yourself of the experience and end up disappointed. It’s one of the things I really hate about the 1984 movie version, BTW – it totally gets this wrong and loses itself in trying to be a mirror of how communist states were seen in the times of the Cold War.
So for what it’s worth, if you’re trying to put a sting into that doubleplusungood man that Mr. Trump is you have to think of other ways than analysing his (and his cohorts’) duplicitous use of language. Otherwise have a pleasant read…