Tag Archives: nineteen eighty-four

What Would Your Youthful Library Record Say About You?

What would your youthful library record say about you? An interesting question and one addressed by John Crace (amongst others) in yesterday’s Guardian, (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/03/youthful-library-record-haruki-murakami-belle-de-jour).
I, like John Crace, used to enjoy reading the Biggles books. Indeed I still have a copy of “Biggles Millionaire” on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in my living room. A good old fashioned yellow hardback book. I also still possess H. G. Wells “The Time Machine” and his “War Of The Worlds”, together with Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (although the latter is missing one Braille volume. Heaven only knows what happened to that)! I must have been an extremely boring teenager as I have no recollection of reading anything salacious unless one counts a rather abridged version, on audio cassette of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” which, I must confess I did not enjoy reading.

Kevin

Post In Haste Repent At Leisure

I deleted that Facebook post I wrote after having consumed 10 pints of strong beer, the one in which I made unfounded allegations about Ms Y and Mr X. Its no longer showing on my Timeline so it’s all fine now, isn’t it?

Well no, it isn’t! Once something is out there on the internet it is impossible to completely erase it. In the above (fictional) example the post has disappeared from the Facebook user’s timeline. It has, however already been shared many times before the drunken Facebooker had the nouse to delete it. Mr X’s lawyer has already written to Facebook asking that they disclose the poster’s details in order that legal proceedings may be commenced against him. To compound matters Ms Y’s boyfriend knows who the poster is and is on his way round to his home to “have a word”.

In this purely fictional example one may smile at the stupidity of the poster. However such instances of stupidity are commonplace. Take, for example the unfounded allegations regarding certain prominent persons that they where paedophiles. Quite rightly the persons libeled took great exception to the slur on their character and sued.

I feel sorry for young people today. While at university there was no internet so student antics could not be plastered all over the World Wide Web (not that there was anything to plaster in the case of yours truly I hasten to add. I was, of course a model of rectitude …)! However in this age of the internet every unguarded comment made online can come back to haunt the poster. A young teenager, their emotional and mental development still in flux says something on social media which on reaching adulthood they bitterly regret. Sadly it often seems to be wholly irrelevant that the poster now genuinely disavows their youthful comments. The media shows no mercy and they are pilloried for comments which, had they been made in the pre internet age would have been, in all likelyhood long since forgotten.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell introduces Memory Holes. All scrap paper and documents which are no longer relevant or are embarrassing to “The Party” go into these recepticles and are taken to furnaces in the depths of The Ministry Of Truth for destruction. It is never made explicit in the novel but one is left with the strong impression that there are no such furnaces. The Memory Holes are just what it says on the tin – a place where information is stored by the authorities to be used at a later date against the population of Oceania. Virtual Memory Holes are alive and kicking for anyone with the patience and technical expertise to access them. Post in haste repent at leisure.

 

Kevin

Room 101

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”.

Telescreen

The man behind the screen watches his cold blue eyes intent, malevolent. He sees all, watches the mould slowly eating the walls, but who watches the watcher? Do men with emotionless faces mark his every move as the huntsman does the game,until, at last the rifle is raised and …