Tag Archives: Literature

A Life As Scripted In Nineteen Eighty Four

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Have you read George Orwell’s novel, “Nineteen Eighty Four“?

An incredible web of ideas and observations on Western culture, that is every Conspiracy Theorist’s wet dream. I read it in Year 11 English (1986) and so much of it’s text has stayed with me, popping into my mind when I least expect it.

The torture scene via a rat cage (makes my skin crawl just typing the words!). The control and degradation of the English language with ‘Newspeak’. The boiled cabbage stench oozing off every page. The original notion of Big Brother. The whole idea of monitored and edited news for the masses.

Towards the end of the book, there is a scene where the poor soul who is the main character, Winston Smith, having been subjected to physical, mental and emotional torture and humiliating evidence of how he has been controlled throughout his life; is told of a number of ‘truths’ by his captors. Of those truths, the one that I remember the most clearly, is when Winston is told about the “Lottery”. How it was devised as a method to control the masses, by providing them with hope and a reason to continue working as drones for Big Brother.

It is a key tool, completely controlled by The Ministry, for the whole of the population to maintain their subsistence and for them not to revolt against the utter blandness, misery and hopelessness that they otherwise live in.

And it is a KEY idea that has stopped me from doing the same in real life.

I don’t play lotto (the lottery). Not because I believe that it is controlled by some faceless bureaucratic entity, but because I believe that when ‘people’ pin their future prospects/happiness/choices on the statistically unlikely win of a lottery ‘mega draw’ – then they are in fact being stifled to REALLY live.

And it brings me back, time and time again, to my own struggle of “Why?”.

Why do we

  • even believe we can win?
  • think our lives will improve?
  • WAIT, instead of just going and doing it all NOW?
  • believe that winning money is easier than saving it?

I am told by EVERYONE that I know.
Every.
Single.
Person.
I am told, that I must have a job, pay my dues and then work on my ‘Dream’ in the hours I have left. I must tow the line socially, not break the accepted rules and conventions of my community, and especially, especially – I must not stray from the accepted methodology of * working to make a living, *saving my pennies for desired trinkets and *dreaming of winning lotto.

But this whole way of thinking is crushing me.
Utterly!
I want to choose to be poor. For now.
I want to be allowed to make this decision.
I want to work every second and every minute building my Dream, so that I don’t live a life as scripted in the novel “Nineteen Eighty Four”.

Hunger Games vs Fifty Shades of Grey

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Now, I think it is well established that I believe that sexism is still rife in our culture and our age.

Dammit!

I fear that there are so many negative (& sexist) elements that our children are exposed to,
that teach them ways to ‘behave’ towards each other and people they are yet to meet.

As a specific example, please let me compare two hugely popular book titles (trilogies, actually)
released in the past year or so.

“Fifty Shade of Grey”

&

“Hunger Games”

Both claim to depict the main female characters as being ‘sane’ and intelligent. i.e. normal (sic)
Both have been HUGELY popular with young women IRL.

One portrays the female protagonist as strong, rational, caring, intelligent and pragmatic.

The second, portrays the female protagonist as virginal, passive, weak, self deprecating and irrational.

Which one would you like your daughter to read?

.
If Christian Grey looked like this,
would the novel be so popular?

Objectively, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is just a novel.
But does it transcend into cultural commentary when it becomes so grossly consumed?

Will it eventually have a negative impact on the next generation or two and how they treat
* unwanted sexual attention
* physical beauty in the opposite sex
* a young woman’s right to speak like an intelligent human being rather than like a piece of belly button fluff?

If, like me, you feel that “Fifty Shades of Grey”, is just an exercise in dumbing-down a generation of women
then please
PLEASE
go read this hilarious review by the wonderfully pithy Katrina Lumsden.

Maybe print it out and take it to the toilet to read . . . you may wet yourself from laughing so hard.

If you think I am full of shit and “Fisty Shades of Grey” is just harmful ‘Mummy Porn’, then I suspect you wouldn’t be reading my blog anyway.
HOWEVER – if you have stayed the distance then, gotta say, love your work!
Thanks for reading. xox

Love you either way!