Thursday, April 24, 2003

I started reading 1984 last night. Or I should say, rereading as I have read it before but itís been at least ten years; not since high school. I occasionally like to reread the very good books that Iíve read before, after some time has passed to see if the writing still holds up to scrutiny now that Iíve actually developed some critical thinking skills. One of these days Iíll reread The Lord of the Rings . Elviraís reading it now, for the first time, after falling in love with Peter Jackson 's adaptation to film. Sheís just gotten to the part they left out of the movie, where Frodo and the other hobbits meet Tom Bombadil. Sheís astounded by the slowness of the pacing in the book compared to the movie.

Iíve been speaking with a number of people about the similarities to our current state of international politics. They, like myself have made references to Orwellís book and itís spooky sense of prophecy. But this is always said at least half jokingly, if not three quarters. But last night I was startled. Itís like ìPresidentî Bush read 1984, but didnít get the irony. Instead he thought, ìWhat a gosh darn good manual for running a dictatorship. Too bad Orwellís a foreigner because heíd be great as a Secretary of the Interior. Oh well, guess Iíll have to do it myself.î Or something like that.

I could write an essay comparing and contrasting Orwellís Oceana to Pax Americana but frankly that would be pedantic. And thatís a scary thought; that the similarities are so blaringly obvious that itíd be like pointing at the sky and explaining that itís blue. Read it for yourself and whenever you see the name Goldstein, just replace it with Hussein and imagine that the Minister of Love is named John Ashcroft. Sleep tight!

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