Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Orwell, Big Brother, 1984, and today, what came first?

Over the weekend I watched the documentary, Orwell Rolls in his Grave. It was basically about the media and how government controlled the media is and the monopoly media has become in terms of who owns it and how the government controls it. Also, about how corrupt the government has become in terms of their dealings with other nations and within itself and how the media doesn't really report on these dealings. I highly recommend it and I also think I need to watch it about three more times to fully grasp all of it.

Anyway

Since the documentary referred to George Orwell and his novel, 1984 throughout the film and since the novel was written in 1949 I got to wondering about what comes first, the idea or the concept? What is planted first, the knowledge and the corruption or the idea of knowledge and corruption? In other words, did the book 1984 fuel the idea of Big Brother in terms of government and how and what they could control or was that idea always there to begin with and the book simply put it into written form for the masses to see and think about?

Now, I understand government has (in most cases) always wanted to control the masses, I get that. However, many of the things that Orwell writes about weren't possible and weren't even really realistic, such as TVs and cameras and monitors and such. I mean, I understand that they were around, but not in the forms that he writes, it was science-fiction.

So, what comes first, the idea, the concept, or the fact that a person needs to recognize the possibility for those things to be possible?

If you like Orwell I recommend reading this short essay: Shooting an Elephant It's only about four pages long, but it speaks volumes. It also deals with crowd mentality which I find fascinating.

Please, tell me yoru thoughts.

13 comments:

huaenhaoyang said...
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Joefish said...

How long has it been since you read 1984? It seems more relevant with every reading.

The ideas Orwell dramatized were around long before the 40s. Consider the Panopticon from the late 18th century. The design was such that anyone could be watched at any moment, but no one would ever be aware when they were being watched, if indeed they were watched at all.

Which not only sounds exactly like Orwell's 1984, but also bears a disturbing resemblance to our 2007.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Very, very interesting...and greetings from England !

Methinks the '1984/Big Brother idea was there in the first place.

Orwell wanted to make the title of the book '1948', because he 'saw' what was happening in that year - and simply 'extrapolated' what could happen from there.

His publishers persuaded him not to - and so, instead of 1948, a compromise was reached - 1984.

Room 101 was an actual Room Number in BBC Broadcasting House in London, where he worked for a time.

His experiences within the BBC gave him the idea of The Ministry of Truth (censorship etc).

I could go on, but...

By the way, have you read "Orwell and Politics" (Penguin Classics - 2001).

It's wonderful.

limpy99 said...

I think the idea of controlling people has always been around and the authorities just use whatever means they have to enhance their abilities to do so.

That's enough commenting. back to my job opening your mail.

Your electirc bill is a little high this month.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts.

Bre said...

It's extremely ironic that I read this post in while waiting to hear back from a guy who will install cameras in my residence halls.

Yeesh.

Solomon Kane said...

Interesting topic. Netflix has the documentary. Thanks for bringing it to my attention... the kids are starting 1984 next quarter.

Party Girl said...

Joe: I realized while watching the documentary that I need to hunker down with the book again. It's been about 10 years since I've red it cover to cover.

Richard: Thanks for stopping. (Anyone else notice the England thing???? Just sayin')
I do know quite a bit about his bio and have read some of his books, but not all. I find Orwell very interesting.


Limpy: Yeah, can you do something about my energy bills? That'd be great, thanks.

Nick: Well, thank you. My thoughts are varied and wide in terms of subject matter.

Bre: Um, errie. Somewhere, someone is watching all of us.

*shivers*

Solomon: That's where I got mine from also. I recommed showing it in class. I think it will provide for a lot of great discussion

Richard W. Symonds said...

"England" calling again, Party Girl :

Chomsky is America's Orwell...

In my opinion.

Comrade O'Brien said...

Howdy Comrades,
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Regards,
Comrade O'Brien

puerileuwaite said...

I will come back and read the essay. Always a fan of yours, I must admit that I am blown away by your most recent posts; they are revealing your writing muscle to a much greater extent.

Party Girl said...

P: Oh, why thank you!

I've had a lot of things on my mind that I've been wanting to write about, but haven't had the vision to put them into words.
I think part of the writing and topics has to do with having more free time. A time out from classes, school, and much more time to be creative and think.

It has been wonderfully awesome. I had no idea how much I missed my free time and how much of myself I have been missing due to school. I was working 40 hours a week and I was in class another 30 hours a week. I didn't realize how tired I was until now.

...anyway, that was a very long way of saying, thank you.

Phiala said...

Good post.