Today I was subjected to the worst thing in the world. I attended a meeting, at my place of work in room 101. In point of fact the meeting was an uneventful one. There was no O’brien threatening me with a ravenous rat in a cage which, if released would tear me apart. Nor where there any posters with the slogan
“Big Brother is watching you”.
Yet, for all that it was still room 101. My uneventful meeting got me thinking, not for the first time how words and phrases find their way into common usage, often with those employing them never having read the publications from which they eminate. How many viewers of the television programme, “Big Brother” have actually read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four? I suspect the answer is that a majority of viewers have not read Orwell’s novel, although most would, I think entertain a vague notion that “Big Brother” and room 101 originated in Orwell’s dystopian novel. It is rather sad that Orwell’s critique of totalitarianism has been reduced to the level of popular entertainment by the TV show, “Big Brother”.