Orwellianism in the consumer age

“a real Socialist is one who wishes – not merely conceives it as desirable, but actively wishes – to see tyranny overthrown”. –George Orwell

First, some Orwellian material, and below the fold some other recent gleanings.

Jen Campbell: weird things customers say in bookshops #4

Customer: Do you have a copy of 1986?
Me: 1986?
Customer: Yeah, Orwell.
Me: Oh – 1984.
Customer: No, I’m sure it’s 1986; I always remember it because it’s the year I was born.
Me: …

Do not buy this book if you’re expecting to find out anything at all about 1984, as this writer seems to have been living on a different planet. I was trying to do a bit of research into the influence of New Wave on cross-over dance music in the Mid-Eighties, but I found “1984” a complete waste of time… Jackson’s “Thriller”?(the soundtrack of the summer, and the biggest selling album of all-time) – not mentioned; Frankie Goes To Hollywood (their breakthrough year leading to world pop domination) – not a whisper; Style Council? (Not Paul Weller’s finest hour, but still an honest nod to the white soul roots of Mod culture) – you’d have thought they didn’t exist if you read this book. Nik Kershaw? Ray Parker Junior? Sister Sledge? Nope, nope nope. Instead this man seems to have moped around in his room and at work, watching some kind of depressing news channel (was his remote broken? This isn’t explained – but you’d have thought they’d have had MTV on at least one of the channels in his office). Orwell completely fails to capture the uplifting vibe that was the pop explosion of the summer of ’84… maybe he lived in Norwood. 0 Stars.
Oh, and don’t read “the Road to Wigan Pier” either, as we drove around for ages last August Bank Holiday before asking a traffic warden, who said that the sea was about 30 miles away, by which time it was too late. I don’t think Orwell had actually ever been to Wigan. What does he do – just sit in his room making this stuff up for kicks or something? 0 stars also.”

More serious reading matter: James Bloodworth: Orwell was one of us // Jeffrey Wasserstrom: Orwell v Huxley.

Or listening matter: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, read by Jeremy Northam.

Image: Lisa Jane Persky

Lucien van der Walt has expanded his earlier response to Marxist (and especially IS tradition) attacks on anarchism in a long piece called “Anarchism, Black Flame, Marxism and the IST: debating power, revolution and Bolshevism“. // Jim Denham responds to Socialist Unity’s whitewashing of  the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact. // Meredith Tax has a eulogy for Jorge Sumprun and Jo-Anne Mort remembers Gus Tyler at Arguing the World. The Forward also has an obit for Gus Tyler. // That last was via Stuart’s round up of the democratic left.

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm  Comments (8)  
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  1. The piece about Orwell’s neglect of popular music was hilarious. Says a lot about what different times we live in – life was tough and desperate in his day – these days – well not so much.

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