by Timothy Lane
I long ago noticed that increasingly Orwellian nature of modern liberalism, which has only increased with the advent of Barack Obama. So in recent issues of FOSFAX, I’ve done a number of take-offs of Orwell (with very little change in wording other than names, in itself a telling indicator) targeting the new Big Brother. The first 2 were in issue 216, using key scenes from both 1984 and Animal Farm.
The first is from the Two Minutes Hate scene early in 1984:
Limbaugh was delivering his usual venomous attack on the doctrines of the Party. He was abusing Barack Obama, he was denouncing the Party’s economic dictatorship; he was calling for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought. In its second minute, the Hate rose to a frenzy. Journalists were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the top of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O’Brien’s heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out “Swine! Swine! Swine!”and suddenly she picked up a heavy Liberalspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen.
But in the same moment, drawing a sigh of relief from everyone, the hostile face morphed into the face of Barack Obama, black-haired, dark-skinned, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Barack Obama was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, not distinguishable individual but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Barack Obama faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Democratic Party stood out in capital letters:
WEALTH IS POVERTY
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
But the face of Barack Obama seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact it had made on everyone’s eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. The little sandy-haired girl had flung herself forward over the back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that sounded like “My savior!” she extended her arms toward the screen. Then she buried her face in her palms. It was apparent that she was uttering a prayer. At this moment the entire group of journalists broken into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of “B-O! . . . B-O! . . . B-O!” over and over again.
I was especially pleased with the way they reacted to Obama’s words didn’t require any change. I also did one on the final confrontation between Napoleon and Snowball:
Then Obama stood up to speak. He said very quietly that capitalism was nonsense due to its inequality, and advised everyone to vote against it. At this Limbaugh rose to his feet, and shouting down the liberal sheep, who had begun bleating in order to drown him out, broke into a passionate appeal in favor of capitalism. Until the animals had been evenly divided in their sympathies, but in a moment Limbaugh’s vision had carried them away. Capitalism, he said, could operate threshing machines, plows, harrows, rollers, and reapers and binders. besides supplying every stall with its own electric light, hot and cold running water, and an electric heater. By the time he finished speaking, there was no doubt as to which way the vote would go. Obama stood up, and casting a peculiar sidelong look at Limbaugh, uttered a high-pitched whimper of a kind no one had ever heard him utter before.
The next, from issue 217, deals with one of O’Brien’s interrogation sessions with Winston Smith, and appropriately features a spectacular example of projection.
“You are mentally deranged. You suffer from a defective memory. You are unable to remember real events, and you persuade yourself that you remember other events that never happened. . . .
“Tell me what you think you remember.”
“I remember that Joseph Wilson waited until the war in Iraq had turned sour to claim Bush had lied in his State of the Union speech. And, by his own admission, all he did in Niger was to sit around and drink mint tea, asking if they had sold uranium to Saddam Hussein. Then it turned out that someone had volunteered that Hussein had sent a mission to buy uranium in 1999. That didn’t even contradict Bush’s claim, by way of British intelligence, that Hussein had tried to buy uranium from an African country.”
Axelrod stopped him with a movement of his hand.
“Another example,” he said. “You believed that pro-war elements in the Bush administration were not the people who exposed Valerie Plame in the CIA. You believed that you had seen unmistakable documentary evidence that this accusation was false because she was exposed by Richard Armitage, a State Department official opposing war in Iraq. You believed you had held it in your hands. It was an article something like this.”
An oblong slip of newspaper appeared between Axelrod’s fingers. It was the Washington Post article.
“It exists!” he cried.
“No,” said Axelrod. He stepped across the room and put it into a memory hole. “Ashes,” he said. “No even identifiable ashes. It doesn’t exist. It never existed.”
“But it did exist! I remember it. ;You remember it.”
“I do not remember it.”
Sounds like a lot of trolls we’ve all seen, I suspect. I also have one in the upcoming issue (218), involving the correction of inconvenient news reports, although set in the period when the dictatorship was not yet fully set in place.
Andrea checked her instructions. She found such creative work to be her favorite part of her job. The first slip reported that Barack Obama had predicted in 2008 that he woud cut the deficit in half in four years. But, as she knew, the deficit was higher (in fact, about 3 times as high as it was in 2008). So she instead had Barack Obama change his promise, pointing out that this depended on how big an economic mess Bush left him.
The next slip reported that the 911 tape of George Zimmerman calling in Trayvon Martin’s suspicious (to him) appearance showed no evidence of the racism that NBC had emphasized in its reporting. Studying it carefully, she realized that it if the dispatcher’s question to Zimmerman about the suspect’s race was edited out, it would make Zimmerman’s response seem to volunteer Martin’s racial identity, which fitted the network’s agenda.
The third slip discussed a negative report on a Spanish-language news service. Barack Obama had promised to make a comprehensive immigration reform bill a first-year priority. He also, as they had reminded him, had complete control of government during that year (and the next), yet had made no effort to keep his promise. In the end, Andrea chose to use the standard spin that obstructionist Republicans had blocked the effort – even during a period when they had no such power. They had that power now, and she was hopeful that uninformed voters would fall for her deception.
Next came a slip detailing slippage in Barack Obama’s War on Women mythos. Apparently even single women were starting to realize that their lack of job opportunities was more important than abortion and contraception. Andrea knew this would be more difficult, since the simple lie that women were doing much better would never persuade those whose own lives belied it. She decided that it was necessary to double down on the mythos, pushing hard on how expensive contraception was (carefully choosing to show the most expensive option for this purpose, and therefore how necessary its availability without cost still was.
The final slip reported a more difficult problem. Barack Obama had repeatedly attacked his enemy for proposing a $5 trillion tax cut on the rich at a time of excessive deficits. The problem was that this claim was central to his campaign, but also almost totally false. His tax rate cuts would benefit the rich, but also everyone else who paid income taxes, and by reducing exemptions (especially those mainly helpful to rich taxpayers) he planned to keep his tax reforms revenue (and class) neutral. Andrew knew that she would have to work hard to come up with a credible spin on this one. . . .
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