Showing posts with label 1984. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1984. Show all posts

Friday, May 6, 2022

The Ministry of Truth

Unleash the fedrl fact-checkers!

Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.   

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  

Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"Wikipedia does a great job on things like science and sports, but you see a lot of political bias come into play when you're talking current events." -Jonathan Weiss ("top 100" Wikipedian, 500k edits) 

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

When I heard that the Department of Homeland Security has created something called the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) I immediately knew I'd be writing a column. I didn't know that I'd be writing a different column than the one that sprang immediately to mind.

However, I'm sticking with the obvious title that came immediately to mind in spite of the fact George Orwell's Ministry of Truth also came immediately to mind to all sorts of writers and talking heads who are Orwell fans, like me, or who are at least familiar with his most well-known book.     

At the very least it serves as world-class clickbait. It's hard out here for a writer, one must never pass on the unlikely chance he/she/they will go viral and be famous for a few seconds. 

{I thought it was 15 minutes?}

When Andy Warhol predicted that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes his vision didn't include the internet, but this is a win/win/win situation from my perspective, Dana. If I'm accused of click-baiting I can claim I'm just an Orwell fan (true), that I think everyone should be (still true), and that I'm just trying to get the word out. 

Also, I predict that the woman person that Uncle Joe has designated the first Minister of Truth, Nina Jankowicz, will quickly go viral assuming the journalists and pseudo-journalists of the left start devoting as much coverage to a certain TikTok video that the journalists and pseudo-journalists of the right are. 

Clickbait + virtue signaling + wacky video = win/win/win.

But, as I hinted above, I've decided that instead of writing specifically about the Biden administration's version of the Ministry of Truth I'm taking a different tack. Besides, The Fedrl Gummit's already dancing the Biden Backpedal and it's hard to tell exactly what the DGBs who/what/when/where/why is going to be. 

It occurred to me that I could avoid having to write a synopsis of Orwell's literary version of what a very powerful government's ministry of propaganda would be like for the uninformed or the uninterested...

{I don't suppose it had anything to do with your lifelong hatred of writing about writing?}

I figured I could turn to my old but estranged friend, Wikipedia, although our relationship ain't what it used to be. 

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I no longer cough up the occasional requested donation when founder Jimmy Whales asks me to although I feel guilty about using and often enjoying, but not paying for, the hard work of others. In my defense, no less a personage than John Stossel is on my side.   

Anyways... I found a thorough and otherwise reasonably well-written article titled "Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-four" that starts off by providing the names of the ministries and explaining that the names are radically contradictory to their actual function. But it also states that:

The use of contradictory names in this manner may have been inspired by the British and American governments; during the Second World War, the British Ministry of Food oversaw rationing (the name "Ministry of Food Control" was used in World War I) and the Ministry of Information restricted and controlled information, rather than supplying it; while, in the U.S., the War Department was abolished and replaced with the "National Military Establishment" in 1947 and then became the Department of Defense in 1949, right around the time that Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. (My emphasis.)

May have been inspired? This is pure speculation/bias on the writer's part, that's been included in an encyclopedia. The author then cites three footnotes that don't even mention Orwell's "inspiration," making it look like his/her/their notion is widely shared... unless you read them. 

{You actually read footnotes?}

Rarely, but the "may have" set off my bonkercockie detector for valid reasons that would require another column to explain.

{Valid reasons... that are probably quite boring?} 

That's not the point.

[Dana executes an exaggerated yawn] 

{There's a point?}


The Wikipedia entry a given H. sapien may stumble on while trying to discover why there's such a fuss over the establishment of a disinformation governance board by unelected bureaucrats, that's run by an unelected bureaucrat here in "the land of the free," begins with misinformation.

That irony alone is enough to...

{I just don't see your problem. Would you like to co-sign my email alerting Ministerette Jancowitcz? I wonder if there are going to be bias response teams like they have at colleges and universities nowadays? Even Harvard's got one... or better yet, misinformation SWAT teams.}  

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Saturday, June 15, 2019


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.

[Blogaramians: Blogarama renders the links in my columns useless. Please click on View Original to solve this problem and access lotsa columns.]


                                  Just Who IS This Guy?

Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars 
Dana -- A Gentlereader
Iggy -- A Sticky (GT*)
Marie-Louise -- My Muse (GT*)

"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.


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.