Saturday, June 8, 2019

Nineteen Eighty-Four at seventy

At The New Yorker, Louis Menand writes about why we still read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, published seventy years ago today. Menand says that we’re all Winston Smiths, “knowing that something is wrong, that we are losing control of our lives, but also knowing that we are powerless to resist”:

A trivial example is when we click “I Agree” on the banner explaining our app’s new privacy policy. We did not know what the old privacy policy was; we feel fairly certain that, if we read the new one, we would not understand what has changed or what we are giving away. We suspect everyone else just clicks the box. So we click the box and dream of a world in which there are no boxes to click. A non-trivial example is when your electoral process is corrupted by a foreign power and your government talks about charging the people who tried to investigate this interference with treason. That’s Orwellian. And it’s no longer a prophecy. It’s a headline.
Related reading
All OCA Orwell posts (Pinboard)

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