Tag Archives: 1984

Day 11 – Favorite classic book

Is your favourite classic the one that sticks with you, years after you first read it – or is it the one that you like to read over and over again? I’m not so sure on this one – so I’m going with the first thought.

BraveYou’ll know from one of my earlier posts that I had a summer ‘blitzing’ classics I’d not read before, after my first year at uni. After reading 1984, I moved straight into Brave New World, recommended by my Dad.

In some ways, I think BNW was what I expected 1984 to be. I suppose it’s a little more ‘sci-fi’ and fitted more with a ‘future world’ that I pictured in my head, whereas 1984 felt a little dated in some ways – yes, I know I was reading 1984 in 2000! Where 1984 had politics and surveillance states, it felt quite cold war – BNW, with it’s chemically induced happiness, behaviour conditioning and designer baby development threw up more complicated questions for me, about what is ethical, how far science can go as a society control, how you might feel coming into this ‘perfect’ world from the outside, and whether it really is the utopia it’s promised to be.

The ideas from BNW have definitely stayed with me: ten years later, when my own dystopian world was forming inside my head for Hope’s Daughter and The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, I found myself being drawn to science and the opportunities it offered for changing our futures. You might also find some little nods towards the classic dystopians in my books: 1984 surveillance and suspicion of ‘the system’; BNW, chemically controlling our behaviours, designer breeding, choosing people’s destiny…maybe touching on what is ethical, and how far you can go before it becomes unethical…

Just Wondering…Is Newspeak Here?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post to rant about appalling grammar or the decline of the English language or even the people who go around writing “panini’s” on sandwich boards in the UK, whoever they may be. Nope – this is just a random wondering I have about whether something George Orwell wrote about in 1984 is actually happening.

This first struck me a few years ago when texting began to take off: thanks became thx, great became gr8, people became ppl. Now with Twitter and Facebook we’re losing even more letters and words and beginning to speak a language not everyone understands. Personally, I’ve had to Google or ask what memes, #ff and rofl were in the past – and just try explaining to your parents what your bff is or why lol doesn’t usually mean “lots of love” like David Cameron seemed to think it did (unless I’m confused and he was just really happy at the end of each message he sent to the Brooks woman). They seem to think ‘following’ is akin to stalking and that ‘liking’ and ‘poking’ people on Facebook is where a lot of trouble begins 😉

So…what do you think? Is this the language change Orwell wrote about? Perhaps…Albeit a change being introduced because of technology and social change rather than mind control (or is it?)

In many ways, I can see the point of shortening these common words and phrases down to acronyms in your tweets and texts – definitely works and saves you time and money. Although, I have to admit I find people who say “lol” in real life, instead of laughing at something funny a bit weird – just laugh like a normal human being!

But what about the other random shortenings that have been going on – particularly in Celeb Land…the TomKat Brangelina combos…or K-Stew and R-Patz (who hates his label according to this article). What’s the point? How hard is is to say a couple of two syllable words…? Twihards can all obviously read, so they don’t need actors names dumbing down surely? (Random aside note: unfortunately for me – coming from northern England – whenever I hear R-Patz, I actually hear “Our Pats”, which sounds like they’re talking about a forty-something-year old woman who is related to them and works in the Rovers Return).

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?… The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

In our brave new world of semi-Newspeak – are we doing what is threatened in 1984? Does the reduction of names and words to labels and hashtags reduce their power or relevance? Or is the opposite in fact… are we expanding our language with new words and ideas that particularly express emotion and human response in shorthand via text? 🙂  ❤  lol xoxo  Is  R-Patz a celebrity brand, his label for that media-created side of his personality, which sits separate from the real person Robert Pattinson?

We’re being told that people are learning misspelled words because autocorrect changes the letters for you, each and every time to make the same mistake. Perhaps we’re also becoming more text/tweet oriented as well as time goes on and trends from the social networking world stretch out into the real world. In work I receive FYI emails and provide information back by the EOP…it’s everywhere. So is this a permanent change? (FYI spellcheck just changed my permenant to permanent – it’s one of my own repeated flaws!) Is this the new direction for language? Just as we got skirts and shirts from the Vikings, and pork and beef from our friendly French monarchs – will we be bff with the tweeters in a world of Newspeak? Perhaps this will form the basis of the real Esperanza with the shrinking of the world through the internet?

Anyone have any insight to share on this? #confusedandcurious  🙂