Open any Facebook or Instagram feed and you will invariably see a political cartoon referencing today’s issues with Orwell’s most famous novels, ‘1984’ or ‘Animal Farm.’
Orwell’s 1949 published ‘1984’ tells of a future of extensive government, military, technology and media influence on the average person’s life. The ‘Big Brother’ government is monolithic, overseeing all activity with total control. It provides all goods and supervises all work. It sees what you do, tells you what to do, monitors what you think and punishes any variance.
Orwell missed one major factor in modern life – consumer capitalism. Orwell never imagined the reach and power of companies like Apple, Google, Starbucks, Verizon, Amazon, General Foods, Exxon, Citibank… etc.
In ‘1984’ government exists for the sake of its own power, in a kind of sadomasochistic relationship that grinds down its citizens to perpetuate its power. In today’s modern society it is easy to denigrate government because it provides a single symbol for the control we experience, but today our government is made to be more like a referee, a dysfunctional one to be sure, but it is designed to make the market and its juggernaut of enterprises function, supposedly for the good of the people it serves.
In ‘1984’, almost before television existed even, media is running through character’s lives, video screens are in every room at home and at work, and they are on all the time. They wake you up, tell you when to exercise and give you news about the state.
The use of fake news, propaganda, and surveillance are highlighted in ‘1984.’ Orwell alludes to the fact even in 1949 that modern day American politics contain traces of the same deficiencies. He argues that citizens are all pawns in the government’s malicious game of chess, undermining the “unalienable rights” that citizens were promised centuries ago.
Orwell’s ‘1984’ may not have the predictive power of a Baba Vanga, but the novel’s critiques of society’s long-standing social fabric are timeless, and all the Social Media posts predicting our dystopian future are entertaining.
About the writer: Matthew Woodruff is an Independent Journalist and Author who believes in Freely Accessible, Honest and Open Reporting. Visit at MattWoodruffAuthor.com.
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