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Orwell Prize: English spoken without fear

Paul Mason | 08:27 UK time, Thursday, 31 March 2011

Getting myself longlisted yet again for the Orwell Prize (and good luck to all the real bloggers who don't have a mainstream media pension, salary and self-censorship training to fall back on)... made me ask: what single bit of Orwell's writing I would recommend to somebody starting a blog, or studying journalism?

Actually it's Inside The Whale, where Orwell takes apart the literary industry of the late 1930s, concluding that of 5,000 novels published, 4,999 were "tripe". He does this sandwiched between two lengthy eulogies to a book that, at the time of writing, was banned - and banned in the 1930s meant impounded at Dover and burned, to be found only in the secret cupboards of anarchists and wierdos.

The book in question is Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller - a strange choice of book to praise for a man who'd just come back from the Spanish Civil War and who, with the Dunkirk fiasco, believed Britain was entering a "revolutionary period".

Musing on this very point, Orwell concluded that Miller had probably founded a new school of writing with this one book, and its successor Black Spring:

"In Miller's case it is not so much a question of exploring the mechanisms of the mind as of owning up to everyday facts and everyday emotions. For the truth is that many ordinary people, perhaps an actual majority, do speak and behave in just the way that is recorded here. The callous coarseness with which the characters in Tropic of Cancer talk is very rare in fiction, but it is extremely common in real life; again and again I have heard just such conversations from people who were not even aware that they were talking coarsely. It is worth noticing that Tropic of Cancer is not a young man's book. Miller was in his forties when it was published, and though since then he has produced three or four others, it is obvious that this first book had been lived with for years. It is one of those books that are slowly matured in poverty and obscurity, by people who know what they have got to do and therefore are able to wait. The prose is astonishing, and in parts of Black Spring is even better. Unfortunately I cannot quote; unprintable words occur almost everywhere. But get hold of Tropic of Cancer, get hold of Black Spring and read especially the first hundred pages. They give you an idea of what can still be done, even at this late date, with English prose. In them, English is treated as a spoken language, but spoken without fear, i.e. without fear of rhetoric or of the unusual or poetical word. The adjective has come back, after its ten years' exile. It is a flowing, swelling prose, a prose with rhythms in it, something quite different from the flat cautious statements and snack-bar dialects that are now in fashion."

The whole essay is meandering like this, and in a way "provisional" - because there was no way of knowing what the outcome would be, given five more years of war still to go.

But we know the outcome of Miller's experiments with language, profanity and honesty: it inspired the post-war "beat" generation - there is a direct lineage to the work of Kerouac - and Kerouac then inspires the Sixties. So that in every Pynchon novel, Doors lyric, Hendrix guitar solo, in every dispatch from Vietnam by the "New Journalism" school and beyond, filtering through to the NME and Rolling Stone in the 1980s, there is a bit of Henry Miller.

Orwell sensed that at some point people would start writing about ordinary life in ordinary language, dramatising the ordinary, peeling back layer upon layer of literary finesse, pretension, writing-school prose, irony etc.

The blog is the logical outcome.

And like the novels of 1940, the vast majority of blogs are mediocre, "tripe" as Orwell might have said. But they are mostly attempts at honesty - whether literary or non-fictional.

I give you two excerpts, both from fellow longlisters, writing about the same recent event:

"I find myself in front of the riot line, taking a blow to the head and a kick to the shin; I am dragged to my feet by a girl with blue hair who squeezes my arm and then raises a union flag defiantly at the cops. "We are peaceful, what are you?" chant the protestors. I'm chanting it too, my head ringing with pain and rage and adrenaline; a boy with dreadlocks puts an arm around me. "Don't scream at them," he says. "We're peaceful, so let's not provoke."

And this:

"I've just watched the soi-disant "March for the Alternative" snaking its way across London. It is clear enough, from the banners and slogans, what the protesters are against: spending restraint, open markets, private enterprise, property rights, free contract, Tories, bankers and Nick Clegg. Fair enough. But what are they for? Their website suggests that they think the answer to our debt crisis is more spending. In fact, they don't think we have much of a debt crisis. They want higher taxes, particularly for the rich, whom they expect to wait around meekly to be fleeced. And they insist that higher state expenditure ("investment") will create more jobs. Why so half-hearted, comrades? Why not go all the way, nationalise every business, place every adult on the state payroll and confiscate all income? By your logic, it would surely make Britain the most prosperous country on Earth."

The first is from New Statesman blogger Laurie Penny, the second from Dan Hannan MEP, who blogs in the Telegraph. Two ends of the political spectrum, two kinds of language, but both part of a combative, Anglo-Saxon-word infested, plebeian writing tradition that in the space of ten years has begun to swamp the polite, official media with its deference to experts, to everything "middle", its restraint and euphemism.

George, you would have loved blogging: 99% of English literary novels are still tripe but here - in the world of the hyperlink - we are well and truly "inside the whale"; and English is definitely spoken without fear.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Yes maybe so but there is a marked difference between the two passages above in the content and it is the content that grabs me. The former is a sympathetic description of the event through experience in personal terms. The latter a silly pathetic attempt to construct a right wing political critique of the demo and it matters little how significant it is in the mode of expression. Because of the childishness of this content the persuasive impact of the message is poor.

  • Comment number 2.

    Can we have a Huxley Prize, please? Or a Postman Prize?

    You rarely talk about Huxley, Paul, yet Neil Postman believed his dystopic vision was probably closer to the truth:

    "But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think."

    I wonder what Neil Postman would make of blogging if he were still alive. Here's my attempt to weave his warnings in with our current economic woes:

    https://golemxiv-credo.blogspot.com/2011/02/guest-post-by-hawkeye-sell-freedom-buy.html

    "the late 20th century would best be characterised as the overt promotion of individual freedom, mobility and opportunity, yet the covert exertion of behaviourist control methods, which actually constrain liberty, concentrate wealth and obliterate opportunity. The gap between rhetoric and reality is just getting wider and wider. It is in effect little more than sell freedom, buy control."

    (P.S. Not for the faint hearted)

  • Comment number 3.

    To get the true Orwell I can only suggest his Collected Essays. This was a man who could say a few words on anything and state it clearly in a beautiful flowing style. I would agree that he would have loved the blog.

    Every writer is a product of their time and their circumstances, even, as in Orwell's case, their health. For example, Animal Farm is a superb polemic whilst 1984 is a tubercular work that makes the reader hack and snort with the writer's own affliction.

    I will never forget his reflections on working in a bookshop. He could not understand why book-collectors were not interested in the text of the book. I learned this lesson the hard way as well.

    I keep having to remind people that the real power in society is to be found in everyday life. The gentle routines, the simple patterns and the minor aspirations are the true glory which those who worship hierarchy totally forget. How and why does it all work? Now that is a wonder....

  • Comment number 4.

    'INSIDE THE WHALE'

    Don't mention the whales! You will set of the climate lobby (off-shore killer windmills).

    That we are 'living within the lie' (Vaclav Havel) and blogging on secondary and tertiary facets and factors, needs address. But The Lie won't be confronted by NewsyNighty . . . Indeed, the hype of Libya, to World War status, GIVES the lie!

    Weep reality.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course George has his own blog at https://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 6.

    HOW AND WHY DOES IT ALL WORK? (#3)

    Culture is contagious, across generations - good or bad. Slow cultural rot can go undetected. In my opinion it isn't 'working' My view from 2006:

    OAK GALL


    The rotten oak stands tall replete with fruit;
    fed by its heart’s decay, it boasts success.
    Enthusiastic branches bow that trunk
    and pay full homage to its patronage.
    Once backbone’s true-grain majesty held sway
    but now corrupt, dark process feeds a shell;
    that core, long since bereft of virtue’s ring
    usurped, degraded; meeting falsehoods needs.
    So stands Great Britain: posturing the World
    while cant, hypocrisy and turpitude -
    it’s Rotten Boroughs - make up Parliament
    where talk is cheap; truth economical.
    On Trade and Trident British pride stands tall
    but like that tree, core-rotten, we shall fall.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why so half-hearted, comrades? Why not go all the way, nationalise every business, place every adult on the state payroll and confiscate all income? By your logic, it would surely make Britain the most prosperous country on Earth.


    Never have truer words been spoken by Mr Hannan -- if only he was not being ironic.
  • Comment number 8.

    the bbc and the govt are among the worst offenders of normalising bad philosophy like the social apartheid of monarchy? look at how many climate change propagandists the FO has

    https://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/fcoblogs/page/all

  • Comment number 9.

    Orwell was a committed communist when in Republican Spain but rejected communism long before 1956 and the Hungarian uprising, he was labelled a 'carreerist' and fellow traveller by his enemies and if around today he would be in the LibDems....

  • Comment number 10.

    Stevie

    How do you define `communist'? This was a loaded word in Republican Spain.

    Orwell was with a socialist militia whose acronym was POUM which was politically probably closer to the old Independent Labour Party in our terms. If I recall he got to POUM through the ILP but I can be corrected as I am depending on memory at the moment.

    When the Communist dominated Republican government sought to suppress POUM, Orwell found himself very much forced into the same camp as the anarcho-syndicalist CNT. It was anarchist contacts that helped him escape arrest by the Communist controlled police.

    When he returned to the UK he campaigned against the behaviour of the Communist Party in Spain. He was subjected to extensive smears as a result. At the time many people in Britain who supported the Republican side in Spain were puzzled by what seemed to be going on. Orwell blew the lid off the lies perpetrated by the Comintern.

    He wrote Animal Farm based on his experiences in Spain. A story goes that in gratitude for their help in getting him and his wife out of Spain, Orwell offered the world rights to Animal Farm to the international anarchist movement. This offer was turned down on the basis that the book was a childish story.

    Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950. He smoked like a chimney and refused to look after himself properly.

    His observations, particularly those articulated in 1984, became quite apparent during the 1956 Hungarian uprising.

    If anything he was a prophet for those times. However, we are now in a period where there needs to be a new narrative which needs to built on his principles and experience.

  • Comment number 11.

    'longlisted yet again for the Orwell Prize'

    I know Paul (deep sigh + roll of the eyes), it must be suuuuch a drag to keep getting nominated for a Prize which carries George Orwell's name.

    or was the comment a subtle poke in the ribs of the judging panel.. it is your turn now......


    Or maybe it was a momentary failure of 'self censorship training' and the BBC needs to get you on that refresher course coming up .. especially after your Eurotrash moment yesterday (Classic).

    Just messing with you.. keep up the good work, which is no doubt its own reward anyway.



  • Comment number 12.

    I think Orwell would have loved the public blog - conceptually.

    In practise, he would have soon given up on this sort of blog because most of his output would have been moderated away.

    I say this with some certainty because I have tried to discuss on the Nick Robinson blog, a subject which has been published in both the Guardian and the Independent and it was moderated away.

    Those blogs entries were about the brutality of the Syrian police of the Assad regime, which is I think, the sort of subject matter that interested Orwell.

    Orwell was my type of guy - a motorcyclist and fully paid-up member of the awkward squad and, recalling the Spanish Civil War stuff - an extremely brave man.

  • Comment number 13.

    It has been a long time since I have read about Orwells experiences in Spain during the Civil War and I had certainly forgotten those acronyms such as POUM.

    However, I think it rapidly became clear to Orwell that the Communists were, at that extreme, going to be just as bad as the Fascists at the other end of the political spectrum.

    With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that that is exactly how it turned out.

    PS. At one point, Orwell gets off a train which has bought him and others back from 'the front'. Another train is juts pulling out of the station heading up to the front with a fresh batch of volunteers. Orwell movingly describes the very different emotions and attitudes of those going and those returning. You can just imagine being there, watching it - the idealism and the reality juxtaposed.

  • Comment number 14.

    Question - which is the true definition of "Poum!"

    1. Poum - the puff of smoke Nick Clegg will disappear in at the next election
    2. Poum - a radical leftwing grouping in the Spanish Civil War joined by Orwell
    2. Poum - the Progressive Oriental Union for Markets.

    A Blair of a completely different colour...

  • Comment number 15.

    While it's true, for now, that English can mostly get spoken without fear, that may not be quite so true for when it is written, in certain places.

    So invoking Mr. Orwell, of Big Brother fame, can be an interesting path.

    'George, you would have loved blogging: 99% of English literary novels are still tripe but here - in the world of the hyperlink'

    Of course there is, and what is not chosen to be hyperlinked. Which is where control of editorial, sometimes a bit much in omission, can still hold sway in controlling the message.

    Often when it comes to respective locations of political spectra, the relative positions can often more reflect the opinions of the person specifying the location.

    Me, I tend to to err on the imperfect but probably still best mechanisms of democracy or market decision.

    Hence elected MEPs might seem slightly less at one extreme than 'bloggers' (amongst other talents) from niche publications whose broadcast representation is often at odds with their ABC rating reflection of general public choice.

    One wonders where the author feels more 'comfortable'.



  • Comment number 16.

    CLEGG STILL HOLDS A MASTER CARD (#14)

    What an archetypal tale. If only Nick Clegg had the maturity, and the courage, to admit (what we all know) that he was unable to resist what looked like power! No need to accept the painful truth that Dave has run him ragged from day one.

    By being weak, Nick has gained entry to the bowels of the Minster Monster; by finding strength, he could now deliver a death blow, and go down in history as the Westminster politician WHO FOUND INTEGRITY within himself.

    I, for one, would forgive his inability to resist the dangled prize - there but for. . .

    If Nick were to bring this rotten charade to an end, step outside the lie, and call for a radical re-configuration, a new dawn might truly break.

    Of course, I am dreaming. The real 'powers that be' rarely approve of integrity. But we could have our Dubcek-moment.

  • Comment number 17.

    #10 Thanks for your post Stanilic
    "he was a prophet for those times. However, we are now in a period where there needs to be a new narrative which needs to built on his principles and experience."
    I slightly disagree in that I believe Orwell was not just a prophet for 'those times' but these times as well. I would prefer that we analyse where we are at, what the fundamental problems are before deciding on the new narrative. Orwell's insights maintain their relevance, in my view.
    Orwell would have recognised the persistence of 'class' in society in its peculiarly British form. He would have railed at the increasing disparity of wealth. He would have recognised the brutalising effects of a lack of employment and the terrible effects on good families. He would have despised the cynicism and hubris of politicians. He may even have recognised the tawdry entertainments that provide the masses with 'whatever gets them through'.
    It's a long time since I read Orwell, but he remains a very British hero to me, daily.

  • Comment number 18.

    #17

    Hear hear ! ( I prefer the root of that expression 'Hear Him, Hear Him').

    So much is tied up in language which we have forgotton along with its intended meaning, the subtleties are so important, lazyness will be our ultimate downfall.

    Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards I guess.

    Blogging is part of that lazyness issue, in the past its equivalent would have been done by similar protagonists but in the cafes and bars, where, impassioned by the discussion and ..maybe emboldened by a glass or two such discussion as is oft present here would inspire to real spontaneous action in the real world and as a result.. real change.

    I understand the 'Un-cut' movement was born in such a way in the course of a single afternoon.

    As such I have serious doubts in fact (as I write this) if GO would have approved of blogging in the slightest.

    Maybe he would have said.

    '' A lazy man's safe substitute for action destined to be forever confined within the comfy embrace of Big Brothers cape while placating his conscience with the illusion of righteousness'

    or something....

  • Comment number 19.

    14 Richard

    By some process of my imagination you have reminded me of a poem about Tony Blair the late Adrian Mitchell composed shortly before his own sad demise.

    `Imagine a chair,
    And the chair's not there.
    Now that's a Blair.'

    It has had me chuckling ever since I first heard it.

  • Comment number 20.

    17 tonyparksrun

    I agree about the need for a developed synthesis.

    But not wishing to argue the point but my difficulty in accepting the rest of your proposition is that as a youngster I knew two people both of whom in turn knew Orwell quite well. Both of those people have been dead for some time and I was not yet two when Orwell died.

    Perhaps I am over conscious of the differences between how things were then and what they are now. To me the difference is luxury. This is our problem today: we just don't understand what austerity really is as we cannot even conceive what is enough. Vide William Blake who asserted you `cannot understand satisfaction until you have had more than enough', or words to that affect.

    What I admire about Orwell and his generation is that so long as they had enough they were happy. I look at our bloated, gadget obsessed consumer culture in which celebrity is the most of all things and wonder as to the point of it all. Perhaps this is where the debate should start.

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 Thanks - language is fascinating. Good light read on this is a book 'Mother tongue' by Bill Bryson (he of travel book fame). Among other observations is that in some parts of America high in the Appalachians the English spoken is closer to Elizabethan English than modern English or even American.

  • Comment number 22.

    I wonder if Orwell would be twittering also?

    Between blogging, twittering, facebooking and what ever else journos and writers appear to need to do today I doubt he would have time to write any great works.

    I had this link sent to me this morning. An April Fool I assume. I hope it is.

    Leaked and exclusive: Incomers to face Welsh language test

    https://www.gogwatch.com/2011/04/01/leaked-and-exclusive-incomers-to-face-welsh-language-test/

    'English spoken without fear'?


  • Comment number 23.

    #20 Stanilic I don't think we disagree. I'm often reminded that rationing and national service etc. (subtext 'Austerity') lingered until around the year of my birth. You are correct, the generation of my parents 'got by' and were happy enough to do so. They had outlived a depression and World War. They were probably shocked by the freedom of the 60's, yet were carried along by the euphoria of being able to afford a foreign holiday etc. There is a cultural analysis required to see why this became the excess of this century. The liberalisation of the economy, banking and promotion of house owning democracy is at the root. The paradigm has become such that because we can, we do. Why do people need to upgrade a mobile phone or computers/software etc? The need is for Nokia and the like to go on making profits otherwise there is nothing for their R&D marketing departments & workforce to do. Consumer choice, I would suggest does not demand new phones versions slightly better than the last or even a diferent colour. Consumers are easily led and buy what the marketers suggest. The driver is partly status (an absolute measure of need doesn't enter the equation as you say). We then return to issues of 'class' and self esteem. This is getting longer than I can commit to so I will step back and let others pick up the baton.

  • Comment number 24.

    when the fascists on the gates of Stalingrad were tied down for a week, a whole panzer division, in front of them was silo defended by communists, when they finally took the silo the Germnas were amazed to find just seven Russians, when whole villages were razed to the ground you would get patriots fighting to the last man to defend their homeland, even Churchill praised the Russian soldier, when Chernobyl kicked off the same spirit made firemen face certain death to ensure the fire went out. In the west it is hard to comprehend these values as we are all about money and a better school for the kids, that is why Orwell never quite got it and why he was so disliked by true communists, especially when Russia lost twenty six million and total allied losses come to eight hundred and ninety five thousand, it does colour one's judgement.....

  • Comment number 25.

    #24 stevie
    Whilst all of us in the West never quite "got" the staggering loss and sacrifice of what I believe is called "The Great Patriotic War" in Russia, influenced as we were by the rhetoric of the Cold War. I expect the problem for Orwell was not a reckoning of numbers (though the numbers are truly boggling). What Orwell didn't "get" and saw through was the subversion of rule in the name of the people by a paranoid state apparatus, where power became an end in itself. If I were being pedantic, I would also set to work on the definition of "true communists".

  • Comment number 26.

    24 stevie

    Follow that logic and the magnificent people working themselves possibly to death at Fukushima are communists.

    I don't think so somehow. I think they are human beings who understand that humanity is a collective. Orwell understood this all too well.

    It was a great pity those who abrogate all virtue themselves whether they be bankers, politicians, true communists or whatever forget that the source of their fellow feeling lies in their common humanity.

    In saying this in no way do I seek to diminish anyone as we can all rise to greatness.

    Funnily enough it was Orwell who agonised over the anonymity of the broad mass of people. I don't have such sensitivities as I know we are all equal in our anonymity. It just doesn't matter, does it?

  • Comment number 27.

    Self-censorship training ? The slave his own master ? No , just a bit of doublethink. Orwell that ends well, good luck.

  • Comment number 28.

    # 21 tonyparksrun

    'Good light read on this is a book 'Mother tongue' by Bill Bryson (he of travel book fame). Among other observations is that in some parts of America high in the Appalachians the English spoken is closer to Elizabethan English than modern English or even American.'

    I would like to see a documentary on those people. Sounds fascinating.

  • Comment number 29.

    Talking of speaking without fear, this was interesting from what some may consider the latest evolution of the 'blog' (others simply seem to view it as a means of low-effort news gathering):

    https://twitter.com/

    '@simonmayo - @DAaronovitch @frasernels @slsingh agreed. Anti-science tilt of Spectator the reason I stopped buying it. That, and playing records.'

    There's an interesting precedent in media funding terms there, especially unique ones, upon which I'd be interested to glean the views of Mr. Mayo, his colleagues and his employers.

  • Comment number 30.

    HOW ABOUT STATISTICS QUOTED WITHOUT FEAR.

    I was at least partially satisfied to see this

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12940054

    Residing below the sacharin coated US job figures announcement from the BBC this time.. so 15.7% is the real unemployment figure in the US...

    I would like to think that it appeared because of a lot of complaints on here the last time around.. but it is probably just co-incidence...anyway..just in case it is not co-incidence and all of us here are not wasting our time...

    Dear BBC why hide it away at the bottom? Why does the BBC feel obliged to report the USA headline figures directly?

    Surely a more useful and accurate newsworthy headline in line with the BBC public broadcast mandate would be to look behind the propaganda and report the 15.7% total figure derived from the various inputs.

    Why not say directly - unemployment has dropped from 15.75 to 15.7% (or whatever the mathematical relationship is) rather than splashing up 'US jobless rate at 2 year low' and quoting the hideously distorted 'rolling 4 week figures' behind it.

    This is actually an important point of journalistic integrity here.

    Why does the BBC feel obliged to go back to back with USA propoganda?

    Why not tell the statistics without fear to the people who pay your wages?

  • Comment number 31.

    has the world really 'improved' since the fall of communism? Can you honestly say that Gaza would have been bombed into oblivion if the Soviet 'presence' had been on the table....I don't think so....

  • Comment number 32.

    '31. At 10:11am on 3rd Apr 2011, stevie wrote:
    has the world really 'improved' since the fall of communism?'


    That's certainly 'a' view, and one entirely legitimate to express.. at least thanks to certain ideologies not prevailing, if you get my drift.

    As to world 'improvements' there is a complex stew involved, from populations to communications to religions.

    Personally I'd say that one less that didn't seem to be scoring well to the point of its near demise bar a few outposts (who hardly seem glowing endorsements) is no great loss.

  • Comment number 33.

  • Comment number 34.

  • Comment number 35.

    #34

    Seems quite likely and I think most people in the UK would believe it just as they believe that the war in Iraq was a grand attempt at deceiving the populus political class.

    Yet... in the media and politics the 'official' version of events remains in-tact in a kind of fantasy alternative reality draped loosely over truth, constantly sewing seeds of doubt into our minds.... just enough to cause pause between transforming understanding into action...playing on and abusing the majorities good natured disposition to give 'the benefit of the doubt', manipulating the desire for forgiveness and transforming it into a mechanism of control.

    Of course George Orwell Knew all of this, which is a bit of a curse realy, those who can see such things seem condemned throughout history to watch powerless from the sidelines as it unfolds before their eyes.

    You could even say human beings disposition to hope, to want to believe a fantastical story over a realistic one is what defines us, being simultaneously our greatest creative strength and our greatest potential weakness.



  • Comment number 36.

    Libya, the Japanese earthquake, Saudi & the US dollar:

    https://critiqueofcrisistheory.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 37.

    Why there is an Orwell Prize.

    A few quotes (in plain English about plain situations) that bespeak the truth of our times:

    - "In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

    - "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others."

    - "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

    - "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history."

    - "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

    - "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

    - "Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one."

    - "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

    - "Big Brother is Watching You."

    George, you would have loved blogging: 99% of English literary novels are still tripe but here - in the world of the hyperlink - we are well and truly "inside the whale"; and English is definitely spoken without fear...until you get caught, taken to court and threatened onto your very life, even if the charge be false.


  • Comment number 38.

    as an example the Yanks still will not try in open court but use the obscenity of Guantanamo to ease their conscience.....and expect respect...sorry...

  • Comment number 39.

    I can't see Paul persuading George Orwell (if not 'meandering') that because 99% of fiction in one year was tripe because in part, it had none of Miller's crimson hued prose about it, then the non fiction loggings of 99% of todays digital Pepys must be tripe too, because they don't have enough of it.
    It seems that honest fact without art is tripe all the same; weird.

 

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