I started reading 1984 last night. Or I should say, rereading as I have read it before but itï¿½s been at least ten years; not since high school. I occasionally like to reread the very good books that Iï¿½ve read before, after some time has passed to see if the writing still holds up to scrutiny now that Iï¿½ve actually developed some critical thinking skills. One of these days Iï¿½ll reread The Lord of the Rings . Elviraï¿½s reading it now, for the first time, after falling in love with Peter Jackson ‘s adaptation to film. Sheï¿½s just gotten to the part they left out of the movie, where Frodo and the other hobbits meet Tom Bombadil. Sheï¿½s astounded by the slowness of the pacing in the book compared to the movie.
Iï¿½ve been speaking with a number of people about the similarities to our current state of international politics. They, like myself have made references to Orwellï¿½s book and itï¿½s spooky sense of prophecy. But this is always said at least half jokingly, if not three quarters. But last night I was startled. Itï¿½s like ï¿½Presidentï¿½ Bush read 1984, but didnï¿½t get the irony. Instead he thought, ï¿½What a gosh darn good manual for running a dictatorship. Too bad Orwellï¿½s a foreigner because heï¿½d be great as a Secretary of the Interior. Oh well, guess Iï¿½ll have to do it myself.ï¿½ Or something like that.
I could write an essay comparing and contrasting Orwellï¿½s Oceana to Pax Americana but frankly that would be pedantic. And thatï¿½s a scary thought; that the similarities are so blaringly obvious that itï¿½d be like pointing at the sky and explaining that itï¿½s blue. Read it for yourself and whenever you see the name Goldstein, just replace it with Hussein and imagine that the Minister of Love is named John Ashcroft. Sleep tight!