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I recently read 1984 for the third time. By now I am mostly used to closed circuit TVs recording my every move. What bothers me the most is "Homeland Security." An Owellian notion if ever there was one.
 

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From a personal UK perspective.

I will try to keep it as a literary critique or we will get bumped off.;)

Where Orwell got it wrong was under estimating just how truly base civil authority could get, the book is an insight into his inner fears and a poor prophesy, (we now know) it is not just the time scale where he erred.

What has actually happened is CCTV is being used to issue "parking" tickets for the most trivial reasons, to generate cash on a considerable scale.
Another technology, ANPR - automatic numper plate recognition -deployed at first as a crime fighting aid, is used to police "Congestion" Charging and by bailiffs in city centres to locate and clamp vehicles belonging to drivers who have failed to pay these tickets, it is also expected to be used soon for tracking all types of debtors, not political miscreants.

The book is an atmospheric and scary read and belongs on The Paranoia Shelf alongside Kafkas' The Trial, a great and wonderful work, the problem with these fictions is that while our awareness and fear of political imprisonment is heightened, many people fail to recognise the actual abuse of the population for financial, rather than political motives.

F.
 

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I will try to keep it as a literary critique or we will get bumped off.;)

Where Orwell got it wrong was under estimating just how truly base civil authority could get, the book is an insight into his inner fears and a poor prophesy, (we now know) it is not just the time scale where he erred.

What has actually happened is CCTV is being used to issue "parking" tickets for the most trivial reasons, to generate cash on a considerable scale.
Another technology, ANPR - automatic numper plate recognition -deployed at first as a crime fighting aid, is used to police "Congestion" Charging and by bailiffs in city centres to locate and clamp vehicles belonging to drivers who have failed to pay these tickets, it is also expected to be used soon for tracking all types of debtors, not political miscreants.

The book is an atmospheric and scary read and belongs on The Paranoia Shelf alongside Kafkas' The Trial, a great and wonderful work, the problem with these fictions is that while our awareness and fear of political imprisonment is heightened, many people fail to recognise the actual abuse of the population for financial, rather than political motives.

F.
I respectfully disagree. I don't think Orwell was putting forth a blueprint for the future. Its a thought experiment; a sort of monologue as to how the state can slowly intrude from the periphery of our lives to penetrate our thoughts and actions. Its a call to active citizenship.

I have read criticism of Orwell, particularly of 1984, before. I think most relate a sort of Western point of view and while certainly the West has been relatively immune to a 1984 future, it has happened in the USSR, Nazi Germany and is still going on in North Korea.
 

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I recently read 1984 for the third time. By now I am mostly used to closed circuit TVs recording my every move. What bothers me the most is "Homeland Security." An Owellian notion if ever there was one.
Whenever I read Wikipedia, I think of the news organizations in 1984, rewriting descriptions of battles to make it look like we had always been at war with a particular country, rather than the other one.

Of course, the reasons are exactly the opposite. Rather than an organized entity putting out misinformation, the general ignorance and stupidity of mankind is given automatic credibility. Search for "JFK" and "hat" and you'll find lots of blog posts about how JFK killed men's hats. Fact? No. But if you read the same thing from different people you might believe it.
 

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Perceptions.

I have read criticism of Orwell, particularly of 1984, before. I think most relate a sort of Western point of view and while certainly the West has been relatively immune to a 1984 future, it has happened in the USSR, Nazi Germany and is still going on in North Korea.
Fair point PT, politely put and in conjunction with the unquoted portion of your post, probably a better literary analysis than mine.

But some people do believe The State Machinery is over - controlling in an Orwellian fashion, even in 'The West' this also aids the market for very popular films like The Bourne series or others, sometimes with Denzil Washington, where a lone avenger battles with an omnipotent goverment and it's dirty tricks, utilised to crush truth and the ordinary man.
I do realise that cinema goers (mostly) understand they are viewing fiction and just enjoy the suspense, rather like a slasher flick.

I do wonder though if the filmed version of All The Presidents Men bore much relationship to the book and that books' relationship to the actual events, on the other side of the coin/world, perhaps the film is regarded in North Korea as a documentary.

F.
 

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Whenever I read Wikipedia, I think of the news organizations in 1984, rewriting descriptions of battles to make it look like we had always been at war with a particular country, rather than the other one.
Problem is that very learned people put out information, described as books, in all their respective catergories like History, Biography etc that purport to newly grasp events that occured years ago, an almost annual event is a new book with a revelation concerning the identity of Jack the Ripper.

I have just read a review of yet another biography of a now controversial British WW1 commander, this also seeks to stun with sensational new facts or perspectives that seemingly eluded his 'co- workers' and enemies at the particular moment in time.

F.
 

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The thing that bothers me is the highway cameras in and around Phoenix that flash at speeders and send them tickets. That is annoying; intrusive; 1984ish and expensive. Orwell never considered how Big Brother could make a buck on us.
 

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Sorry to tell you this.

The thing that bothers me is the highway cameras in and around Phoenix that flash at speeders and send them tickets. That is annoying; intrusive; 1984ish and expensive. Orwell never considered how Big Brother could make a buck on us.
Just the thin end of the wedge, mate.
This pox will spread across the rest of the states, it will be aided by automobile and modern life haters, crunching numbers and spewing statistics that purport to demonstrate how much safer life will be with even more cameras, the businesses that operate them will descend into more Orwellian speak and be described as "Safety Camera Partnerships".

Coming to highways first and then suburbs near you, will be Average Speed Cameras and CCTV will be increasingly used to issue parking tickets, generating revenue to fund more cameras.

F.
 

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When I left politics, I accidently left a copy of that book in my desk. Little did I realize, my successor would sort through my papers and happily mail it to me.

Somewhat ironic, seeing as I was a minor official who's job was to write speeches for another higher official and fact check them with Communications branch.

Thomas
 

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The thing that bothers me is the highway cameras in and around Phoenix that flash at speeders and send them tickets. That is annoying; intrusive; 1984ish and expensive. Orwell never considered how Big Brother could make a buck on us.
Just the thin end of the wedge, mate.
This pox will spread across the rest of the states, it will be aided by automobile and modern life haters, crunching numbers and spewing statistics that purport to demonstrate how much safer life will be with even more cameras, the businesses that operate them will descend into more Orwellian speak and be described as "Safety Camera Partnerships".

Coming to highways first and then suburbs near you, will be Average Speed Cameras and CCTV will be increasingly used to issue parking tickets, generating revenue to fund more cameras.

F.
Perhaps a last and most desperate option, would be to abide by the rules of the road and municipal ordinances put in place to allow society to function smoothly for all...not just for those willing to violate traffic and municipal codes! ;)
 

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There's always one.

Perhaps a last and most desperate option, would be to abide by the rules of the road and municipal ordinances put in place to allow society to function smoothly for all...not just for those willing to violate traffic and municipal codes! ;)
Actually the "last and most desperate" contribution to this thread, derived from ignorance and believing that clutching platitudes is a form of wisdom and a key to social justice, quite Orwellian really.:pic12337:

What actually happened in London, as a great example of perverting sound principles "to allow allow society to function smoothly for all" into an excuse to bring in not just tighter rules but many needless ones, purely to increase local authourities' revenues, mugging people for the equivelant of a days wages for the crime of popping into the dry cleaners for five minutes, particularly in locations where the 'offence' was not detrimental to traffic flow, however the penalty is absolutely detrimental "to allow society to function smoothly for all" any one who thinks that fining a taxi driver for stopping to pick up a sandwich a on a wide and unproblematic road at 02:00am has a corrupted view of what should constitute a 'municipal code' I am being deliberately polite here, I actually think that anyone who believes that using 'municipal codes' to beat money from the general public is a fascist apologist at best, it's simpler and probably more accurate just to describe them as a c*nt.:icon_smile:

F.
 

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I find the name "Homeland Security" funny.

It does sound Orwellian and in reality it is. Don't they pay their people enough to come up with better ideas?

The cold war against an enemy that never made a move, the war on drugs that targeted any citizen who didn't agree and made more than a few police agencies quite wealthy with all the cash, homes, cars, etc,,,that were confiscated for the slightest offenses. Now the war on terror....how long has this war been going on yet has anyone ever seen these armies of terrorists we are giving up our freedoms to be protected from?

Big brother at his finest.

noble
 

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It does sound Orwellian and in reality it is. Don't they pay their people enough to come up with better ideas?

The cold war against an enemy that never made a move, the war on drugs that targeted any citizen who didn't agree and made more than a few police agencies quite wealthy with all the cash, homes, cars, etc,,,that were confiscated for the slightest offenses. Now the war on terror....how long has this war been going on yet has anyone ever seen these armies of terrorists we are giving up our freedoms to be protected from?

Big brother at his finest.

noble
If Homeland Security really was somehow Orwellian, would the government have called it something that didn't sound quite so Orwellian?

Anyway, I don't think that the use of the term "war" is Orwellian in the context of either the Cold War or the War on Terror. The broad use of the term to include hostilities that are not armed conflicts is well established, and it can hardly be said that the Soviets never made aggressive moves. While the WoT could certainly have a more appropriate name, it clearly is a war in the sense of an armed conflict. The concept of war doesn't necessarily requires that the belligerents be the governments of states or that the opposing forces be organized as armies.

Also, I'm not sure what "we" you have in mind, but from an American standpoint, I think that a lot of this talk about losing our freedoms in the name of the WoT is grossly exaggerated. There have been some new legal restrictions in the last seven years, but if anything the scope of civil liberties has actually broadened overall.

I'd say our present trajectory looks more like it's headed for A Brave New World than it does 1984.
 

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The one interesting aspect of 1984 that is not so much commented on by mainstream media, imo, is that picked up later by Foucault ("Discipline & Punish"): that society itself is being structured to watch society's members and force them to conform. In 1984 it's the kids and the work colleagues that will denounce the father for not conforming. Maybe one day the state will not need cameras to catch speedsters - a quick phone call from a well-meaning driver will be far more efficient and cheaper for the taxpayer too!

I think this point resonates rather well with the members of this forum. By caring about what we wear, we almost single ourselves out from mainstream society.

Non?

I agree with the previous poster. Brave New World. With islands/pockets of weird eccentrics who happen to think differently. People are getting lazier.
 

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It does sound Orwellian and in reality it is. Don't they pay their people enough to come up with better ideas?

The cold war against an enemy that never made a move, the war on drugs that targeted any citizen who didn't agree and made more than a few police agencies quite wealthy with all the cash, homes, cars, etc,,,that were confiscated for the slightest offenses. Now the war on terror....how long has this war been going on yet has anyone ever seen these armies of terrorists we are giving up our freedoms to be protected from?

Big brother at his finest.

noble
I don't think it is fair to lump the Cold War with the War on Drugs. One was a legitimate fight of ideologies, where one state bankrupted another peacefully (a fantastic strategy in my humble opinion) whilst the other is a beautiful waste of taxpayer money (beautiful in its power, planning and reach as well as its fantastic marketing efforts - the govt literally created a market for fear).

Ultimately the problem stems from the fact that civil service maximises its own utility. For as long as the people in governments will act with their own interests in mind, rather than the selfless desire to serve the nation best, there will be large governments finding idiotic reasons to milk the taxpayer some more to fund their growth. It is so easy nowadays to justify any decision with a couple of populist announcements (see pretty much most of what was said during the past 6-12 months about hedge funds, the banning of shorting was especially amusing).

When acting "Big Brotherly", the state is not, like Big Brother or the USSR or to an extent the PRC, attempting to control populations. Rather, it is increasing its size just like a company would increase market share, for the same reasons: bigger organisation equals bigger status and compensation and power. I think the Big Brother aspects are just side-effects of the gradual, poisonous growth of governments past their (again, my opinion only) roles of providing justice, law enforcement and some infrastructure only. At the end of the day, we, taxpayers, pay for services and unfortunately the government has a (local) monopoly.

And let us remember that the government caused the current recession, by massively intervening in the housing market (Fannie and Freddie magically gained 30% market share in 2000...) fuelling artificial growth, a housing bubble, and undermining banks' best efforts to lend on safe terms! I hear most players blamed by the crisis but none mention the government, with the exception of a few fringe groups.

So yes, 1984. What does the system want? Where is it heading? Who is benefiting from the status quo?
 

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I thought it arrived when the Clinton era began Newspeak -- political correctness.

That got so out of hand.
 

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I don't know if I should start a new thread with this but here goes.

I don't see 1984 as becoming more true to like, at least in America. It is in the nature of governments to try to expand their power but I think we're doing a pretty good job opposing that trend. We could do better, but it's nowhere near 1984 levels.

I do see the country coming to resemble another novel though. Reading the papers today is almost like reading parts of Atlas Shrugged. Any other Ayn Rand readers out there? What do you think?

If you haven't read it you really should.
 
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