The words ‘alternative facts’ are everywhere at the moment but a Washington Post reporter, Karen Tumulty, who is one of CNN’s reliable sources, said the words ‘alternative facts’ is a George Orwell phrase.
I would like to educate the Trumptons and reliable sources at CNN that the words ‘alternative facts’ is not a phrase that George Orwell has ever said. It does not appear anywhere in George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ or his classic essay ‘Politics and the English language’.
‘1984’ written in 1949, is number 1 on the best seller list in Books at Amazon and due to the demand, Penguin (the publisher) is going to print 75,000 more copies. Well, George must be pleased with the resurgence in his work but I wonder what he would have thought of the Trumptons and their use of his Orwellian phrases. In this instance Ms Tumulty has, I believe, confused this phrase with ‘newspeak’ which is indeed an Orwellian phrase.
I haven’t read ‘1984’ since I was in university. A truly visionary and bizarre novel about government control and eradication of individuality. The main character, Winston, is regarded as a criminal and tortured for writing a diary and falling in love. Components of a free world. George Orwell’s dystopian (opposite of Utopia) world is the exact opposite and people’s minds are controlled to do the government’s bidding. The political comments and the aspect of human control by a government are reminiscent of life today. It’s this relevance to today’s world which I think has sparked the interest in Orwell’s novels.
Orwell invented the phrase ‘newspeak’ where a word is replaced with another that is more difficult to remember, for example, the word “bad” becomes “ungood”. Or a word is erased, like “freedom”. Without the word, then it must be true that freedom no longer exists. ‘Newspeak’ eliminates “unnecessary” words (according to the government) and in decreasing the words used, thoughts are decreased and therefore so is awareness. Trump’s ‘alternative facts’ now make more sense. The Trumptons are not trying to lie but to distract you like a good illusionist. Instead of using their hands, they use words. And this is not a new thing. Politicians and people of power have been doing this for years. We all know the words ‘propaganda’, ‘spin’, ‘hype’, although I came across some new ones recently, my favourites being ‘agitprop’ and ‘boosterism’.
Giving the people a different interpretation, a different way of looking at something whether it be true or not has always happened. It would be great if our politicians (people who have been given power by us) might develop a new ‘newspeak’ where they would tell the facts. Maybe I should write a novel about a future utopian world where everyone uses facts and plain speaking. I think I will call it ‘2084’. Well, it worked for George!
10 Facts about George Orwell
- George Orwell was his pen name. He was born Eric Arthur Blair on 5th June 1903 in India (during British colonial rule).
- He moved to England with his mother at the age of 1.
- Often sick as a child with pneumonia, he would make up stories and poems. His first piece of work was published in a local newspaper aged 11.
- He attended Eton College after winning a scholarship. Unable to afford university, Orwell joined the Imperial Police Force in 1922 and left 5 years later.
- Orwell was involved in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1937 and was shot in the neck.
- He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1938 and died in 1950, one year after his book ‘1984’ was published.
- Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC and became the literary editor of The Tribune.
- ‘Animal Farm’, Orwell’s first novel, was published in 1945.
- Orwell was very forward thinking with his ‘tele screens’ and ‘Big Brother is watching you!’ His creativity has spawned a reality television show ‘Big Brother’ and comedy chat show programme ‘Room 101’.
- 1984 has been made into a film, once in 1954 starring Michael Redgrave and then in 1984 starring John Hurt. There are talks to do it again with Paul Greengrass (Jason Bourne) as director.