Just wanted to mention 1984 Today by Richard Wood on Amazon because sales have spiked in February 2017 due to many articles and teachers in North America linking Donald Trump to Big Brother. Please keep in mind- this article is not taking sides about President Trump, I am just nitpicking the reason why 1984 is popular again, since I love the book and the message. Frankly, all of Orwell’s work has influenced my for a long time.
From Feb 1st USA Today:
1984 first made headlines last week when it shot to №1 on Amazon (one of the outlets that reports sales to USA TODAY’s list), after Trump disputed the size of his Inaugural crowd and made the widely dismissed claim that millions of illegal votes were cast against him in the presidential election.
It is ironic to me that this is the reason for the surge of renewed interest in 1984 by George Orwell, and Richard Wood’s sales spike (Wood published 1984 Today in 2014).
Crowd Size. Really?
First of all, in 1984 the Ministry of Truth has full control over the media. In 2017, the media is firmly against the man who they think of as Big Brother. Every journalist, newscaster, blogger, and citizen has the right, platform, and ability to speak out against President Trump without fear. (If you are an undocumented resident, you may have issues, but that is not mentioned in 1984.) This was not possible in 1984, where Big Brother (actually the Party) would put old stories in the memory hole, edit them, change photos, modify previous economic stats, and make it a new reality.
How does one man control the open and free country we live in just by tweeting or telling reporters what he thought the crowd side is? It really is baffling to use the crowd size dispute as evidence “1984 came true”. Now if he somehow censors the World Wide Web like China does, please post a comment here.
The Real Big Brother
Secondly, when Edward Snowden leaked how the government spies on everyone, that should have been the 1984 revival. And although I do not have the book sales from 2013, none of these new articles about Trump = Big Brother mention that as being a catalyst. There were 1984-Snowden articles in 2013, but people still missed the point (“[W]e are far from the crushing, violent, single-party totalitarian regime of Orwell’s imagination”). Compared to Trump’s rise to power (looking at the protests and media attention), the Snowden whistle-blowing event barely registers on the collective consciousness of voters.
The joke is that the surveillance state is the main obvious theme of 1984. Yet it seems to be relegated to the worries of libertarians, conspiracy theorists, and some registered Independents in 2017 (both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump condemned Snowden during their campaigns, while he is an icon in niche circles.)
In other words, most Americans get upset over a comment made by Trump or his opponents rather than how their privacy was violated by an unconstitutional technological government tool. They would rather engage in Two Minutes of Hate (either side). So sadly, once again another generation misses the point of 1984.
Oh, and here’s one final point to swallow. Notice even the New Yorker article from 2013 decries how bad it would be to have a SINGLE PARTY regime. That’s because the natural law of ying-yang teaches us that if one side in a game takes over completely, we all suffer.
Anyway, check out 1984 Today for some pre-Trump thoughts on society.