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People are Reading "1984" in 2017 -- It's About Damn Time!

In response to my continued nagging, my wonderful wife is finally reading George Orwell's classic, 1984. I like to think she's enjoying it - though I know words like "dark" and "dystopian" fail to describe her typical pick in page-turners.

Today, she sent me a link to an NPR piece dated yesterday, January 25th, 2017, entitled '1984' Sales Are Up In The Era Of 'Alternative Facts'.  The story explains that according to a spokesperson for the publisher, Signet Classics, "1984  sales have increased almost 10,000 percent since the inauguration and moved noticeably upwards on Sunday," January 22nd.

First and foremost, It is absolutely wonderful to hear that people are reading 1984, even if they're late! It's a GREAT book. However, I have some issues with the this Fake News / Alternative Fact narrative the drive-by media is propounding.

A little back-story might help in case you have been living under a rock. We have a new U.S. President, Donald Trump (yes, the rich guy with the hair). He was elected by the people and inaugurated on January 20th, 2017. And, because we are assuming you did just emerge from beneath the aforementioned rock, you should know that there has been a pissing contest along partisan lines over the size of the crowd at the inauguration. I know - we used to argue about important things, right? Anyway, while the media has strongly down-played the size of the crowd - the administration has maintained that they had the largest inaugural audience (not crowd) of all time (which makes sense when you consider how many millions watched on TV, Cable and internet live-streams around the world).

Okay, now that we are all up to speed, let's move on. 

The NPR story goes on to point out that Sunday was when Kellyanne Conway defended the administration's assertions about the size of the Inauguration audience by saying they had "alternative facts." OK. Maybe not the best choice of words in an era when every comma will be spliced .

So then this Karen Tumulty from the Washington Post said "'alternative facts' was a 'George Orwell phrase'" that "reminded her of" a term she confabulated as "double speak." But these days, that's close enough for the Washington Post.

It's close enough for CNN too, which then tweeted the remark, and -- without getting into the gory details of how the press assailed the assertions, which Conway (and later, Press Secretary Sean Spicer) stood up for -- now we have charming turds like this littering our feeds:

Memes are bedazzlement for the booboisie.

So what did Orwell say about "alternative facts?" What about "double speak?" And, why did George Orwell write his classic, 1984? Is there even such a thing as fact any more, or is fact just a hodge-podge of he-said, she-said, and (all-too available) social-media confirmation bias? 

That last question might be too big to tackle in one blog post - but I'll hit the first three.


Q: What did Orwell's 1984 say about "alternative facts"?

A: Nothing. A simple Ctrl-F search of the full text of 1984 quickly reveals that Orwell did not once use the term "alternative fact." This just provided a nice segue in the narrative - to transition Conway's words into further comparisons between Trump and totalitarians like Hitler and Stalin.

Q: What is Double Speak?

A: I'll allow room for a mis-rememberance on behalf of Ms. Tumulty: The word is DOUBLETHINK. Doublethink (not "double speak") is the word Tumulty was looking for. According to Orwell (you know, the guy who invented the word) "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

Doublethink does not mean disagreeing about the number of people who watched an event. It doesn't even mean that people hold different opinions. It means that one person has diametrically opposite opinions in her brain - and she believes both to be true. It means red is blue, AND red is also red; dogs are better than cats, AND cats are better than dogs; God is real, AND God does not exist.

Doublethink certainly does not mean that the new administration is ushering in an apocalyptic police state under the allegedly despotic leadership of President Donald Trump.

Q: Why did George Orwell Write His Classic, 1984?

A: (Briefly) He saw evil and wanted to warn the world.

To quote Jackie Jura of OrwellToday.com,
In "1984" George Orwell describes how a hierarchical world tyranny is set up, how it stays in power, how it treats its people, and what life is like living under such a system. "1984" is in fact a coded blueprint for world tyranny, laying bare its structure and exposing its components.
It isn't an instruction manual for tyrany - but it is a guide to let common men and women recognize it in their own time. And, it is timeless - as true today as it was in 1948. And while, I believe that Jura is correct (And I LOVE her research), her answer explains only what his goals were. It does not explain why he pursued them (even to his early death).

Years before writing 1984Orwell predicted that Hitler would disappear "only at the expense of strengthening," inter alia, "the Anglo-American millionaires." You know, the Rockefellers, J.P. Morgan, Vanderslip, the Warburgs, etc. and the rest of the Jekyll Island gang. He said, the "English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin" and went on to add that most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side."

I think he saw the corruption in the League of Nations - and the inherent inability of that organization to prevent the wars it claimed to abhor. I think he saw the League for what it was - the infancy of global government. And as we all know, the League of Nations matured into the United Nations in 1945, following WWII. It was at this time in history that Orwell felt impassioned to write the classic, 1984. 

Orwell saw a global new world order emerging - poised to become the arbiter of right vs. wrong, of fact vs. fiction, and of good vs. evil. He saw this - it consumed him - and the horrors of his vision were painstakingly spilled out in the eloquence of his prose.

With respect to the current situation, I don't think the state media (NPR, CNN, et al.) have it right to say that Kellyanne's "alternative facts" are driving the book sales. People do not typically run out and buy books because a spokesperson made a poorly phrased defense of the inaugural crowd size. I think it is far more likely that more and more people are waking up to the totalitarian, globalist regime operating right under our noses - and they are seeking confirmation of that innate epiphany. But that is based on my own "alternative facts" and, though they are dissimilar from the drive-by media, I think they're pretty good as facts go.

Well, that's what I think.

And as for the drive-by media and their fake news / alternative facts, let's recall some of the alternative "facts" from recent years:

  • Pissgate = Buzzfeed / CNN
  • Trump removing the bust of MLK Jr. from the Oval Office = Time Magazine
  • My helicopter was hit by an RPG = Brian Williams
  • We were under sniper fire = Hillary Clinton
  • If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. = Barack Hussein Obama
  • God is dead. = Smug people who think they're smarter than you.

You get the point. Facts are not a hodge-podge of he-said, she-said, and (all-too available) social-media confirmation bias. They are out there if you are willing to search for them.  

Follow me on Twitter @PReynoldsEsq

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