My Lucky Number’s 4 — 1984!

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The Classics Spin results were in on Monday, and my lucky number’s 4 — 1984!

I’ve already started reading, and it’s so fascinating to realize how this novel has completely worked its way into our psyche and language. Who hasn’t referred to (or felt!) Big Brother watching (hello, NSA!). Thought Police. Newspeak. Doublethink. It grabbed me from the very first sentence, and it doesn’t feel one minute dated.

I’ve read 1984 in college, but I put this book on my Classics Club list after taking a history class in 2008 on Europe from World War II to the Present (which was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken in my life! SO glad a non-US history course is a prerequisite for teacher certification!). Although we read tons of history, our professor also tied in so much literature in brief, tantalizing bits. My reading list since taking the class has been filled with books he referenced, and 1984 was one of them. I remember so clearly sitting in my cramped seat drinking Earl Grey tea, talking about totalitarianism, and reading an excerpt from 1984 — I was so struck (and chilled) by how valid it was not only to our discussion, but to things going on in the recent past and present.

While many critics call Orwell a prophet, Walter Cronkite (really) in my edition’s excellent and concise introduction (really) calls it not so much a prediction as a warning, and I have to agree with him. We can all use this warning. (!) I expect to be very disturbed after finishing this book (and will tell you allllllll about it right here 😉

Also, for atmosphere:

Bowie!!

…and because I can’t help it being the tea freak that I am, Orwell’s essay on A Nice Cup of Tea. Not that I agree with all of it (I love a little sugar in my Indian tea!).

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7 comments

  1. oldblue125

    cronkite also believed the warren report to be true and tried to sell that smoldering piece of b.s. to the public so I wouldn’t put much stock in anything he says. just another hired shill whose wires lead to the bank of America and not the truth.

    If the book is indeed a mere warning, then the warning has not been heeded or else the people have no power to do anything or don’t care (for whatever reason). the prediction, however, is true and we travel further down that highway of insanity with each coming day.

    Our leaders flat out don’t care as long as it means more money and control for them. So what if the empire is in its death throes, they are still getting theirs (and plenty more). All your rights are meaningless without power and the guys in the oligarchy ain’t sharing any of that with anybody. remember ethel rosenberg said right before her and her husband’s executions, “we are the first victims of American fascism.” Guilty or not doesn’t matter cause either way it’s a true statement.

    so what to do?

    Remember the essence of revolution is going around something rather than through it, “yes” them to death, keep a good head and always carry a light bulb, and sing:

    When you walk the streets you’ll have no cares
    If you walk the lines and not the squares
    As you go through life make this your goal
    Watch the donut, not the hole.

    in the future please post an early warning that your message contains a picture of bowie so i won’t have to look at him and can remain in an insect free world. thank you. a picture of dylan would have been nicer.

    america I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
    america two dollars and twenty-seven cents january 17, 1956.
    i can’t stand my own mind.
    america when will we end the human war?
    go f**k yourself with your atom bomb
    i don’t feel good don’t bother me.
    i won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
    america when will you be angelic?

    when indeed

    • jackiemania

      You should read the Cronkite intro — it’s really good. I was surprised (hence the really 2x). I don’t think you’d find anything objectionable in it. He didn’t say it was a mere warning, but a warning. Warnings are powerful.

      I absolutely, positively cannot promise an absence of Bowie photographs in future blog posts. 😉

      • oldblue125

        i called it a mere warning, not cronkite.

        sorry but I can’t assign credibility to anyone like cronkite who so willingly took part in the cover up that began the hijacking of the country from us and has delivered us to the point we are at today. better if he had done some looking into the validity of the report and done some old fashioned reporting (it was his job after all) instead of jumping on lbj’s dog and pony show of lies and selling the country the bill of goods he did. “truth is our only client” was the motto of the warren commission. and people say 1984 can’t happen here

        I never heard a mea culpa from him. I never saw him try to get equal time for mark lane, jim garrison, sylvia meagher, joachim joesten, harold weisberg, or any of the other early critics who turned out to be so correct. I have only contempt for him and won’t waste my time on anything he did.

        He might be issuing a warning but he was a co-conspirator who helped facilitate what he is warning us about. sorry can’t have it both ways.

        i just want a bowie warning so i can avoid looking at or hearing him.

  2. ebookclassics

    Wow, look forward to hearing your thoughts. I read 1984 in high school but it pretty much went over my head. I like dytopian fiction so would like to re-read it one day. I would much rather be reading 1984 than what the spin assigned me … more fairy tales! Yuk!

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