2 Responses

  1. Chris

    Hi there Richard. Interesting stuff. Orwell’s piece on writing is worth re-reading every so often to guard against flabby prose. Not to say that he doesn’t fall prey to some lazy scribbling himself now and again (if I remember rightly the overworn phrase “ruggedly handsome” appears on the very first page of 1984. It is a text which traps you in other ways.)

    You often hear 1984 invoked as some kind of blueprint for modern China. Certainly some of its warnings are worth heeding. I’ve always found the country some degrees closer to that other great dystopian text – “Brave New World.” Consumerism has become the real means by which people are kept just docile enough. And, perhaps because of the sheer weight of Chinese cultural tradition, it hasn’t really led to any profound shift towards individualism. Unorthodoxy remains the enemy.

    Brave New World:

    “You can’t make flivvers without steel-and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get.”

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