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Self made some really cogent points in that piece, I thought. I obviously disagree with the notion that Orwell was a “mediocrity” — but then, one has to consider the source. Self is a tweedy-critics’ darling who is read for the most part by the same sort of people Orwell often railed against, i.e., people who get most of their experiences from books and the classroom and from interactions with people exactly like themselves, rather than from hard knocks and putting themselves at risk; people who love the working class as an abstract idea, rather than a living, breathing (and quite often profoundly conservative) reality; people who write esoteric, post-post-modern books like Self’s, and then complain that “no one reads anymoooore!” Will Self is a very smart guy. He’s no Orwell, though. Not by a long shot. And I seriously doubt anyone will be reading him a 100 years from now — if humanity is still around, that is, and if anyone is still reading anything at all in 2117 — whereas I think Orwell will last and last and last.

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