Talk:Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Conservapedia & 1984[edit]

I won't edit the article as it is so well written. But Conservapedia is the first place which reminded me of that marvellous book. Those times before and after the Night of the Blunt Knives, all that doubletalk, blocking, Party Doctrine, but most strikingly, a new Truth, a rewriting of History, enforced with deletion of User pages and even edits in Talk pages. And when a Small Brother, an eminent Party Member, goes out of favor (TK et al.), he too is terminated, deleted, deletedpaged.

I must say, the Orwellian nature of Conservapedia was what fascinated me in those times. If Animal Farm is more clearly anti-communist (maybe from the inside), the world of 1984 is only partially communist - no more than Conservapedia is communist.

Oh, wait, maybe Conservapedia IS communist? Editor at CP 02:32, 10 December 2007 (EST)

On a purely structural level, Conservapedia reminds me a LOT of the 1950s and 60s Soviet Union, back when they were airbrushing people out of encyclopedia photos when they fell out of favor with The Party. In my experience, all authoritarian organizations, no matter what they claim to believe in or want to do, end up acting pretty much the same ways. --Gulik 04:49, 10 December 2007 (EST)

Interpretation of 1984[edit]

I have no sources or scholarly reasons to back this up but I always read 1984 less as a criticism of totalitarian govt and more as an exaggeration of some of the features of modern day democratic society.DamoHi 09:44, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Well, newspeak has been compared to political correctness. I would class most reality TV as prole-feed. I wouldn't be suprised if Orwell intended for some of it to resonate by basing it on real things, although it's not all government controlled and with a plan in mind, it's happening. ArmondikoVbomination 11:08, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Just off the top of my head, things like the lottery and the garbage pop music that focuses so much of the people attention off their problems sounds like something a modern day Chomsky would write.DamoHi 11:17, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Maybe, but I think the general consensus is that Orwell was specifically criticizing left-wing totalitarianism; Orwell was very much of the Left, but developed a very sour opinion of Soviet communism after his experiences as a Republican irregular in the Spanish Civil War. (In fact, that's a big part of Asimov's criticism -- Orwell was so meticulous about mocking the excesses of Stalinism and the fringe Left that he ignored the dangers of right-wing ideologies like the Fascism he fought in Spain.) Now the flipside would be Fahrenheit 451, where Bradbury was criticizing censorship by political correctness and public outcry. You sure you don't have the two confused? EVDebs 13:35, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Unlikely, since I haven't read Farenheit451. Just the whole idea of governments controlling information for their own benefit is not a huge leap from the way media corporations control information to support their idealogy. It's been a while since I read the book perhaps I'll have another look someday soon.--DamoHi 01:40, 28 October 2008 (EDT)
1984's nightmare is totalitarianism taken to its logical extreme: a regime pursuing power for power's sake alone. Ideology has become irrelevant. "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." --Robledo 21:23, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
If I recall correctly, there are no corporations (and thus, no media corps) in Orwell's books, because they've been replaced by the state. That was part of the critique as well. If you want a good critique of media power, you want cyberpunk. Researcher 21:34, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
I read in a forward he wrote that 1984 was intended to portray (what he felt was) the logical conclusion of capitalist society. Animal Farm was a critique of the Soviet Union, but 1984 was a critique of the West. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:50, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
I'm pretty sure Orwell never wrote a foreword to 1984. A quick Google and scan says you're probably thinking of Thomas Pynchon's foreword to the Centennial Edition (Plume, 2003). --Robledo 22:15, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Oh... Silly me. Well, in my defense, "Pynchon" and "Orwell" look rather alike.  : ) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:21, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Well whether Orwell wrote it or someone else, I am glad that someone else has the same idea as me about the book. I always felt the book was aimed more at the west than at dictatorships.--DamoHi 01:40, 28 October 2008 (EDT)

1984 was largely informed by Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War, where he saw first-hand how events got distorted for political purposes, and by his work in the British Ministry of Information during World War 2. He became extremely cynical about the likelihood of the survival of democracy, given the malleability of "fact" and the ruthlessness with which war was carried out in the period. (He was so sure things would fall apart that the original title of the book was "1948"; I think it was the publisher who convinced him to change it.) I don't think it was intended as a critique of left OR right authoritarianism (i.e. not "about" the Soviets) so much as a warning that even a country that valued liberty as much as Britain did could fall into the authoritarian trap.--Pere Ubu (talk) 20:42, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

I don't see how capitalism could develop into Ingsoc. If I remember correctly, there's a rationing system rather than money, which kind of rules out the idea of capitalism in the first place... Wazza (Not Wazzock, Wazza)Approach the Presence 23:36, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

The rationing system was a reference to rationing during wartime (which I think had just ended when the book was published); there was also money present in INGSOC - remember that Smith bought the paperweight, the book and pen and rented the apartment over the shop (as well as the shop itself!). If it's not well defined I think it's because the emphasis was on the political aspects and not the economic.--Pere Ubu (talk) 20:42, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
See: USA. Headed there if we don't pay attention. Although, yes, it is easier, I suspect, for socialist societies to overdo it and turn into monster states. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:52, 28 October 2008 (EDT)
It really depends who's in charge. 1984 makes it clear that the top people are political rather than corporate. And yeah, nanny state can become big brother, but that's what democracy is there to take care of. Wazza (Not Wazzock, Wazza)Approach the Presence 01:31, 28 October 2008 (EDT)

Ultimately, Orwell was saying "It's not perfect, but I'll take it."[edit]

Discuss. P-Foster (talk) 15:21, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Watch less Family Guy. Punky Your mental puke relief 15:26, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought it was funny. I forget, we're not really allowed snark. Quarurollerblade - You can't explain that! 15:41, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
I like that "Whew, we managed not to end up like Orwell's book!" thank God! ...wait RationalWiki folks no liek that g-word... lol, but seriously, I heard that the characters in Orwell's book don't even know of the concept of oppression when the words to describe it were removed. Maybe there's another concept parallel to oppression which we don't know about because no language ever developed the words to describe it, and we're just as messed up, but we also don't know it. 24.85.161.72 (talk) 08:03, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Deletion tag[edit]

Mild keep Plusgood mid-twentieth century vision of authoritarian rule. Worth keeping if only for its depiction of the memory hole. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:23, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Does our analysis of the novel do anything original? If not, let it go. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 01:30, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Check out the "See also" section. This article provides a supporting hub for several of those terms. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:36, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Many of which appear to be basic descriptions of concepts from the novel. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 01:38, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I like to see such things described in RW style, which is very different from the CYA NPOV waffle that infests, oh, for example, Wikipedia. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:40, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
(EC x 2) Then make a single article for Newspeak and redirect those terms to it. What's the point having an off-mission hub that reads like a grade XI English essay spidering off to a bunch of even smaller stubs? --Kels (talk) 01:41, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
OK. I might take the time to do that if someone else doesn't get to it first. It's a wiki here, after all, so content never really disappears. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:46, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
Who in their right minds would delete what may be the most definitive exploration of authoritarianism in a work of fiction when one of our mission statements is to explore authoritarianism. This is just... baffling. Rationalwiki is not only snarky but breaks down and explains the works and their affect on the Real world and the internet much more clearly than Wikipedia, but even if that weren't the case look at the mission statement again! ClothCoat (talk) 03:03, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Because it's a crap article that's done far better elsewhere (including WP), it reads like a junior high essay, and most of our mission has to to with current and ongoing authoritarianism, rather than fictionalized. Newspeak would be relevant because that's bandied about in political and pundit circles a lot, but an article about the book itself could be replaced by a link to WP or some literary criticism site and nothing of value would be lost.
Oh, and I should add that the current article doesn't "breaks down and explains the works and their affect on the Real world and the internet much more clearly than Wikipedia" except in a very superficial and brief way. So it would need significant work (i.e., total rewrite at the very least) to make it relevant even by your terms. --Kels (talk) 03:20, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
As usual, Kels hits it out of the mother-fucking park. It's Kels's wiki. the rest of us just live here. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 03:49, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

(UI) If you think it is a crap article then make it better. I think it is disingenuous to to slap a delete tag on an article that is clearly well on-mission with the reason "off mission" when the real reason is that you think it is a shit article. I can hardly think of a subject that is more on-mission than this one. I also happen to think the article is OK. Someone who happens to stumble by it casually will get a reasonable grasp of the concepts and themes of the book and the usage and misusage of some of its terms. DamoHi 05:21, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Very much agree with Damo here. This article totally relevant to RationalWiki's mission. People who don't like how it's written would be better serving this community by working to re-write it, instead of just bitching about how they don't like how it is written. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 06:24, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any reason to get rid of this.. it seems on-mission to me. I just don't understand why people sometimes want to be so quick to delete stuff.. is it hurting anything by staying here? And the argument that Wikipedia does it better... I don't want to read Wikipedia, I want to read the shorter, more off-beat RationalWiki version. Refugeetalk page 06:46, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
"Wikipedia does it better" is really only a valid argument when it comes to things of questionable missionality, really. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 06:48, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I'd say it is of questionable missionality in this case. Newspeak, which comes from the book, is definitely missional, but I'm doubtful that the book itself actually is and so far there's little convincing on that point in this section. I could see a missional article that's about misuses of 1984 to justify authoritarianism in the modern day being a possibility though. --Kels (talk) 14:50, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Works of fiction are of questionable missionality and it seems really arbitrary which ones we have articles on. How long before we have an article on Game of Thrones because blah blah blah it has authoritarianism and fundamentalism in it? Anyway, that said, I don't really have a problem with 1984 being covered as a key work of political satire which generated a lot of phrases that are widely used. But this article isn't doing that very well. It definitely needs some trimming & rewriting. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:03, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Kept[edit]

Kept per RationalWiki:Articles for deletion/Nineteen Eighty-Four. SophieWilderModerator 12:53, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

I don't think anyone has actually read the book start to finish[edit]

No, really. The part with Goldstein's book is a criticism of the capitalist system from the first to the last word, including analysis of crisis of overproduction, which was one of the main reasons for the development of the world's ruling ideology. Hell, the whole book is a critique of the right (Orwell's critique of the left is, obviously, Animal Farm), particularly with the more esoteric concept of doublespeak, which is essentially rightist idealism refined into a discipline. I have no idea why people think that 1984 is about Communism at all, and it's not like any ties between Ingsoc and Socialism weren't explicitly denounced in the book itself. — Unsigned, by: 180.12.204.71 / talk 09:41, 9 December 2015‎

"I have no idea why people think that 1984 is about Communism at all [...] Ingsoc". Um, okay.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 09:48, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
Plenty of people have (like me!), but you're right that a lot of people who cite it probably haven't. A number of elements in the book were explicitly based on the Stalinist USSR, though. Seriously, a lot of things were barely embellished. Orwell was a democratic socialist, and he hated Soviet communism as a betrayal of the left; he fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, the non-Soviet-backed members of which wound up fighting the Soviet-backed groups as much as the fascists. But, he would certainly also hate the right-wing authoritarians who invoke 1984 to criticize the left and then support throwing people in jail for abortions or whatever. --Ymir (talk) 10:05, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
I would have to find my copy, but didn't Orwell explicitly mention he wrote it as a response to Stalin Russia in the foreword? Or am I confusing it with Animal farm? Carpetsmoker (talk) 10:15, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

Right-wing liberal propaganda[edit]

It doesn't really matter anymore what Orwell's intentions were when he wrote this book, even as a democratic socialist. Right now, it's used only as a thought-terminating shibboleth by the right-wing propaganda machine to dismiss anything they don't find liberal enough. Withoutaname (talk) 11:58, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Is it? Comparisons to the book are pretty much de rigueur across the political spectrum for any discussion of government surveillance, for instance NSA programs. In this case it's usually the left criticizing the programs while the right wing defends them as necessary to git them terrists. --Ymir (talk) 18:39, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
"right wing [...] don't find liberal enough"????? ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 18:43, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
@Ikanreed: WAN is a commie, so "liberal" = capitalist. Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk) 18:59, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
@FCP Well, in economics most conservatives and right-libertarians are "classical" liberals. Neoliberals also tend to sit with conservative parties in Europe outside of a few exceptions.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 19:12, 24 May 2016 (UTC) 19:12, 24 May 2016 (UTC)