sorabji.com: What are you afraid of?: Oceania

Jacob Levich on Monday, August 26, 2002 - 04:19 pm:

    Seventeen years later than expected, 1984 has arrived. In his address to Congress Thursday, George Bush effectively declared permanent war -- war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy. Today it's Al-Qaida; tomorrow it may be Afghanistan; next year, it could be Iraq or Cuba or Chechnya.

    No one who was forced to read 1984 in high school could fail to hear a faint bell tinkling. In George Orwell's dreary classic, the totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred.

    The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother's authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. In other words, it's terribly convenient.

    And conveniently terrible. Bush's alarming speech pointed to a shadowy enemy that lurks in more 60 countries, including the US. He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate.

    He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn't knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy. He heralded the creation of a powerful new cabinet-level police agency called the "Office of Homeland Security." Orwell couldn't have named it better.

    By turns folksy ("Ya know what?") and chillingly bellicose ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists"), Bush stepped comfortably into the role of Big Brother, who needs to be loved as well as feared. Meanwhile, his administration acted swiftly to realize the governing principles of Oceania:

    WAR IS PEACE. A reckless war that will likely bring about a deadly cycle of retaliation is being sold to us as the means to guarantee our safety. Meanwhile, we've been instructed to accept the permanent war as a fact of daily life. As the inevitable slaughter of innocents unfolds overseas, we are to "live our lives and hug our children."

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. "Freedom itself is under attack," Bush said, and he's right. Americans are about to lose many of their most cherished liberties in a frenzy of paranoid legislation. The government proposes to tap our phones, read our email and seize our credit card records without court order. It seeks authority to detain and deport immigrants without cause or trial. It proposes to use foreign agents to spy on American citizens. To save freedom, the warmongers intend to destroy it.

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, the Pentagon has advised. Meanwhile, the sorry history of American imperialism -- collaboration with terrorists, bloody proxy wars against civilians, forcible replacement of democratic governments with corrupt dictatorships -- is strictly off-limits to mainstream media. Lest it weaken our resolve, we are not to be allowed to understand the reasons underlying the horrifying crimes of September 11.

    The defining speech of Bush's presidency points toward an Orwellian future of endless war, expedient lies, and ubiquitous social control. But unlike 1984's doomed protagonist, we've still got plenty of space to maneuver and plenty of ways to resist.

    It's time to speak and to act. It falls on us now to take to the streets, bearing a clear message for the warmongers: We don't love Big Brother.

By Nate on Monday, August 26, 2002 - 05:06 pm:

    i love shadowy men on a shadowy planet. der der der DUHDUH derder dur der DUHDUH derder dur der

By spunky on Monday, August 26, 2002 - 05:19 pm:

    Double Plus UnGood.

By Bystander on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 02:07 am:

    Bust is doing his best to protect our freedom as AMERICANS.

    How can it be 1984 when it's 2002 anyway?

By Bystander on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 02:08 am:

    BUSH, dammit! Unpatriotic computer!

By semillama on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 09:18 am:

    Keep telling yourself that.

    "It Can't happen here."

    "It can't happen here."

    "Oh, darling, it's important that you believe me
    when I say,

    It can't happen here, bop-bop-bop."

By George Orwell on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 09:52 am:

    Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past
    "Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. "
    "The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal."
    "We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.'

By Nate on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 10:57 am:

    great. i followed that link and now someone's pounding on my door.

By spunky on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 10:59 am:

    Don't get your face stamped on.

By George Orwell on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 11:04 am:

    Here comes a candle to light you to bed, And here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

By spunky on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 11:32 am:

    If you have read/watched 1984, the parallels between the book and reality is frightening.

    Our rights, freedoms and liberties are being reduced every day.
    And this is done under the cover of "the well being of every citizen".
    The war on terror
    the war on drugs
    the environment
    child abuse
    corporate financial responsibility.

By spunky on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 11:42 am:

By semillama on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 06:50 pm:

    The link out to Ten Words you don't hear
    anymore was enlightening.

    I liked the line on the site about "rewriting our
    history to not offend anyone" which put me in
    mind that the people who complain about that
    are the types that don't want to face up to all
    the really shitty things our country is
    repsonsible for.

By patrick on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 07:19 pm:

    see this

    and this close up

    during the 96 Olympics there was serious talk of covering the carving up. its the worlds largest high relief sculpture. The guy who started it in 1923 went on to do Rushmore. Its a national landmark. The sculpture itself is larger than a football field.

    But because it has Confederate generals, who, in my mind, were brilliant (American) generals fighting not for slavery, but for economic independence, there were serious proposals to cover it up.


    Actually you two should visit Stone Mountain at least once. Its the largest piece of exposed granite in the world and sem you should get your rocks off on that. Also, they do a laser show on summer nights on the carving....if you can stand the hootin and hollerin by the locals during Ray Charles "Georgia on my mind"; Willie Nelson's version of "Dixie" and Elvis's "American Trilogy" its a good time. Also, if you go about 200 yards to the left of the sculpture, the mountain is climbable and private. excellent for neckin...

By kazoo on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 07:27 pm:

    Even if they were fighting for slavery, I hate the PC police...after all, it wasn't like the Union was really fighting against slavery.

    We will most definitely check it out.

By semillama on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 07:44 pm:

    I would like to see it, too. I have already seen
    Rushmore and Crazy Horse (crazy horse
    blows them all away).

    Now someone should carve a mountain into
    the likeness of George Clinton.

By spunky on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 09:11 pm:

    I would love to see it.

    The Civil war is one of the most misunderstood and MISTAUGHT wars in the sad history of war.

By Platypus on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 09:45 pm:

    We have a tendancy of trying to make our historical figures look better than they were.

By Cat on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 01:38 am:

    I would like to see someone carve a mountain into the likeness of Bill Clinton's cock and call it Comemore Mountain.

    Or is that carve Bill Clinton's cock into the likeness of a mountain?

By semillama on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 08:48 am:

    Isn't Bill CLinton's cock a national monument

By Platypus on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 10:02 am:

    Isn't there already a giant cock statue elsewhere in the world?

    like this?

By patrick on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 11:36 am:


    mine's bigger

By not-drippy kazoo on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 11:53 am:

    I don't want to know.

    "I just bought a t-shirt for my sister that says "Drippy Kazoo"

    I've got to get my ass over to Japan one of these days.

By The Watcher on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 01:02 pm:

    I have a friend who lives in Japan.

    I haven't heard from him in years.


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