Saturday, June 15, 2019

1984

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't, yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.


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"I majored in English in college, so I read the classic dystopian novels like 1984 and Brave New World." -Lois Lowry


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

The fact that George Orwell's "classic dystopian novel" was published on 6/8/49, and thus is now 70 years old, has been recently duly noted here, there, and even way over there. That is to say, I've stumbled across several mentions of this anniversary in my personal infosphere.

[FYI, I encased dystopian masterpiece in quotes because that phrase, or something very much like it, has also repeatedly appeared here, there, and even way over there. Although it's true, I'm way too cool to personally use it.]

I'm bringing this up because for a while now I've been thinking about writing a letter/column comparing the book to what's currently going on in China at the behest of the current emperor, Xi Dada. That is to say, things like the Social Credit System, locking up Muslims for being Muslims, and the SMILE! Xi Dada is Watching show.

[FYI, Xi Dada is Chinese for Uncle Xi (Jinping). His wife is referred to as Peng Mama, which is Chinese for Mother Peng. So apparently, mama is mama but dada is uncle. Since I don't speak any dialect of Chinese, not even Mandarin, I dunno. I do know that Mother Peng is also the very model of a modern Major General (of the People's Liberation Army). I also know that Xi Dada LOVES Peng Mama.]

And then, out of the blue, the work of other H. sapiens, noting that it's been 70 years since this book was published, seemed to be stalking me. Is this a sign from God? A cosmic coinkydink? A subtle nudge by the author, whose ghost haunts some seldom visited house located in the hot and humid forest of the 100,000,000,000 (give or take) neurons betwixt my ears?

[FYI, since I hadn't recently gone a-googling in search of data about the book or its author, electronic stalking by an Alogorythmite or Botmonster or Datadragon can be safely ruled out.]


Anyways, what I should have done was simply proceed with my letter/column, reassured that apparently lots of other H. sapiens are so interested in 1984 that they keep track of its anniversaries and are motivated by them to write articles.

[FYI, I personally had no idea that it's been 70 years since the book was published. Also, I haven't been able to discover any particular reason why the number 70 might be more important than the numbers 69 or 71. Sesame Street did not respond to a request for comment.]

All I wanted to do was point out that Xi Dada's megalomaniacal machinations and the technology that makes them possible make Big Brother's machinations seem antiquated and quaint.

[FYI, The Goog, whose corporate motto was the unambiguous declaration -- Don't be Evil -- which has been watered down to -- Do the Right Thing -- was recently caught secretly developing a version of its Chrome web browser, Dragonfly, that complied with the emperor's policy of censor everything, spy on everyone. 

Not to worry though, they're now doing the right thing. (Or not, an entry in Wikipedia on the subject states that "...according to employees, work on Dragonfly continues in 2019 and there are some 100 people still allocated to it.]

Also, point out that rarely does a day pass in which I don't come across a report concerning a major invasion of privacy by the Goog or Facebook or Amazon or Netflix (or a lesser-known Data Dragon). Usually accidentally, of course. (Trust us, we're progressives! we love everyone, even unwoken Deplorables.)

It would seem that we don't have to just worry about Big Brother, we also have to worry about Big Brother's brothers.


However...

I made the mistake of reading a handful of those articles, the ones I mentioned that kept popping up in my infosphere? They were all mind-numbingly, highly detailed dreary literary analyses.

Suddenly, I found myself traveling back in time. I got caught in a vortex constituted of English classes in which perfectly good books were rendered hopelessly tedious and had all the life, fun, and enjoyment sucked out of them by seemingly endless analysis and analysis of analyses.

I remembered fantasizing about tipping over my desk and run screaming from the room, later to be consoled by that completely out of my league girl with _______ as I was now her hero and _______.

[FYI, upon careful consideration, I've decided that most of the various daydreams I could use to fill in the blanks of the preceding paragraph, even the wholesome, innocent, romantic ones, might get me beheaded by a social justice warrior roaming the realm in search of injustices in need of correction, so I choose the path of a coward.]

So now I don't want to write about 1984 after all, never mind. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day. 
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©2019 Mark Mehlmauer As long as you agree to supply my name and URL (Creative Commons license at the top and bottom of my website) you may republish this anywhere that you please. Light editing that doesn't alter the content is acceptable. You don't have to include any of the folderol before the greeting or after the closing except for the title. 















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