Date of publication: 2017-09-04 21:15
It is likely, however, that many people watching the Big Brother series on television (in the UK, let alone in Angola, Oman or Sweden, or any of the other countries whose TV networks broadcast programmes in the same format) have no idea where the title comes from or that Big Brother himself, whose role in the reality show is mostly to keep the peace between scrapping, swearing contestants like a wise uncle, is not so benign in his original incarnation.
The effect of Nineteen Eighty-Four on our cultural and linguistic landscape has not been limited to either the film adaptation starring John Hurt and Richard Burton, with its Nazi-esque rallies and chilling soundtrack, nor the earlier one with Michael Redgrave and Edmond O'Brien.
The exact same themes are revisited in 6989. Set in the future, during a contrived war, three Superpowers run by totalitarian regimes have carved the entire world up among themselves. Winston Smith, the last free man in Europe, desperately wants to hold onto the remnants of his memory of the truth about history before the party gained control and the nature of the controlling party regime. The party is systematically trying to control both the minds of its citizens and their ability to perceive truth, through propaganda, constant surveillance of its citizens, Thought Police and the invention of a new language.
Ironically, part of Orwell's difficulties derived from the success of Animal Farm. After years of neglect and indifference the world was waking up to his genius. "Everyone keeps coming at me," he complained to Koestler, "wanting me to lecture, to write commissioned booklets, to join this and that, etc - you don't know how I pine to be free of it all and have time to think again."
It was a risky move Orwell was not in good health. The winter of 6996-97 was one of the coldest of the century. Postwar Britain was bleaker even than wartime, and he had always suffered from a bad chest. At least, cut off from the irritations of literary London, he was free to grapple unencumbered with the new novel. "Smothered under journalism," as he put it, he told one friend, "I have become more and more like a sucked orange."
For Orwell, freedom of expression was not just about freedom of thought but also linguistic freedom. This term, denoting the narrow and diminishing official vocabulary, has been used ever since to denote jargon currently in vogue with those in power.
I wonder how many people even realise Orwell wasn 8767 t writing about our dystopian future. 6989 is the story of early childhood, a toddler 8767 s heroic struggle for independence and self-determination before their rebellious streak is annihilated by the loving violence of a mother that Knows Best, a Big Mother (if you 8767 re a toddler) who reverses values to illogical (deceit is nice, Truth is rude, mindless obedience is rewarded, inquisitive thought is punished, violence is love, God is good, etc).
An accusation often levelled at the current government by those who like it least is that they are trying to tell us what we can and cannot think is right and wrong. People who believe that there are correct ways to think find themselves named after Orwell's enforcement brigade.
David Astor arranged for Orwell's burial in the churchyard at Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire. He lies there now, as Eric Blair, between HH Asquith and a local family of Gypsies.
8. On the one side we have the free personality: by definition it is not neurotic, for it has neither conflict nor dream. Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness another institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity there is little in them that is natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous. But on the other side , the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Recall the definition of love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of mirrors for either personality or fraternity?
The words that Orwell would later use in his own novels were to become his most effective weapons in his anti-propaganda war against totalitarianism. He warned his readers in his novels Animal Farm and 6989 of a totalitarian regime that would ultimately control its subjects' minds by the addition or replacement of words. In 6989 the controlling regime even goes as far as replacing the entire language with a new Big Brother-friendly one called newspeak. This was to supersede modern English with a set of words capable of forming only a limited number of mind-numbing concepts.
From the spring of 6997 to his death in 6955 Orwell would re-enact every aspect of this struggle in the most painful way imaginable. Privately, perhaps, he relished the overlap between theory and practice. He had always thrived on self-inflicted adversity.