Personal note, the book was published a week and a few days after I was born, FWIW. I read this in High School (mid 60′s) and saw it was alive and well in the Communist Countries. Then later on it seemed to creep into western Europe and kept moving westward to here. As far as the term “New Speak”, well call that POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. As far as eternal Wars, in one way or another it’s been all my life. When one hot spot was quelled, another showed up. If the wars didn’t include us, there were more than enough to fill in before we got activated again. During Viet-Nam, I was A+ on the Draft list. Escaped that by being in the reserves. Johnson assured us of fill-ins with the war on drugs. The Muddled East has provided non-stop action along with Africa.
The the king of all American wars since the book was written is the never ending war on terror. Now what do we have, street surveillence, traffic cams (double duty), Computerization of health records, an enemy’s list, practically strip searches at airports, this monstrosity of government healthcare to control us, recording of license plates to track our moves, about 100 federal police agencies, spying domestic and foreign, reading of emails and blogs. What’s next?
(first published in 1949) by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party. Life in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control, accomplished with a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc), which is administrated by a privileged Inner Party elite.
Yet they too are subordinated to the totalitarian cult of personality of Big Brother, the deified Party leader who rules with a philosophy that decries individuality and reason as thoughtcrimes; thus the people of Oceania are subordinated to a supposed collective greater good. The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record is congruent with the current party ideology. Because of the childhood trauma of the destruction of his family — the disappearances of his parents and sister — Winston Smith secretly hates the Party, and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.
As literary political fiction and as dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole, have become contemporary vernacular since its publication in 1949. Moreover, Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which refers to official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past in service to a totalitarian or manipulative political agenda.
Note: This started as a response to a post, but it grew.
Posted in First Street Journal