When Steve Jobs ran the first Macintosh commercial in 1984 in response to IBM’s growing dominance in the information industry, it was Apple’s attempt at announcing their hatred of monopoly, totalitarianism and groupthink. The ever so famous slogan ‘Think Different’ is living proof of the fact that they revered independent thinking. Fast forward 36 years, the same Big Tech Companies that once promised us diversity of thought are now turning the tables on us, all for the sake of political correctness.
Even George Orwell wouldn’t have imagined that his dark vision of the future would be so accurately put to practice by a group of people who consider truth, freedom and facts downright irrelevant. Perhaps, it is only the timing that he got wrong – it took a little longer than 1984 to manifest itself.
With our culture increasingly resembling the dystopian world of ‘1984’, it is hard to ignore the nuances of this masterpiece.
When J.K Rowling was vilified on social media for insinuating that men ‘cannot menstruate’ (which is an obvious fact), the left wing media and activists jumped on the bandwagon and reinvigorated an already angry mob to attack her, which then led to a disturbing TikTok trend where protestors started burning piles of Harry Potter books and posting it’s visuals on Social Media. The author billionaire wasn’t shaken as she continued to post similar tweets in an attempt to politely counter the angry protestors.
Isn’t it interesting how ‘coming out’ as a firm believer in Biology can have serious consequences these days?
When O’Brien tells Winston that 2+2=5 and will always be, it gravely threatens the mathematical reality of life, so to see Biological reality being questioned here is yet another chilling indictment of how accurate his predictions are turning out to be.
Funnily enough, in both the novel and the post-modern culture we live in, it is the same people masquerading as torchbearers of democracy that actually happen to threaten it.
One of the most terrifying characters in the novel is a telescreen, often referred to as the ‘Big Brother’ – a device used to constantly monitor people and churn out propaganda with the intention of gaining ultimate control. Thanks to technology, instead of a large 60-inch telescreen staring at us, we now have smaller 6-inch versions of it that we willfully stare into. A device that monitors
every move, steals every information, guides every movement and shapes every thought. It is only fitting that we call them ‘Smart’ phones!
But why are the Big ‘Tech’ Brothers (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter) a force to reckon with?
Here’s some quick math. Facebook alone has more than 2.8 billion worldwide users, which is the population of India and China combined, and Alphabet (Google’s Parent Company) is now worth $1.36 trillion – the total wealth of Belgium, Hong Kong, Finland and New Zealand put together. So if you think you can challenge their notions by just pointing fingers at them, think again.
Big Brother, as in the novel, is extremely influential. Not only do they constantly monitor your actions, they also adeptly manipulate your thoughts by relentlessly displaying one side of the story, making you believe that that in itself is reality. Many have tried to blow the whistle – only to be exiled, ostracized or silenced in the end.
Although Parler, like Winston Smith the protagonist, paid the price for challenging the ‘Big Brother’ by committing the thought crime of allowing Conservatives to freely express their will, it did a fairly decent job in alerting the world of the threat to free speech, even inspiring former President Donald Trump to think of creating his own free speech platform.
Ministry of Plenty:
For many nations, the quest for centralized control has been going on for years. Although most of them have ended in absolute catastrophe, the one technique that has consistently worked is the infliction of pain and fear. Countries like North Korea do it even today, clearly making it one of the gloomiest nations to live in.
While erstwhile communist nations have all successfully controlled people by employing this method, the United States has unearthed a new distraction technique to make people fall in line – Inflicting Pleasure.
It is an idea deeply discussed in the Aldous Huxley classic ‘Brave New World’, but the bottom-line here isn’t any different. If you have ever wondered why religious content, conservative videos and children’s books are censored but Pornography, Marijuana, Cardi B, Cuties and Cancel Culture are all celebrated, now you know the reason. After all, the ‘problem of plenty’ is something we all secretly adore.
Ministry of Truth:
The protagonist Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth, where unlike the title, his job is to bury the truth, manipulate facts and distort history in favor of the ruling party and their ideologies. To a great extent, the media and fact checkers today have played their part in protecting the ideas their political donors favor and vehemently attacking the ones they don’t.
Whether it is the toppling of statues, the 1619 project or the Critical Race Theory, educators and the media have worked fingers to the bone to ensure history is altered to fit their narrative as well.
With the pandemic restrictions still in place, we are stuck with the option of exchanging virtually all information online but when the very same platforms that administer these discourses re-engineer speech by omitting content they don’t like and promoting the ones they do, it evidently restricts the free flow of information and thought.
If Democratic Rep. Cynthia Johnson of Detroit could get away with threatening ‘Trumpers’ in a rather revolting tone on online platforms, one might wonder why innocent conservatives were locked out of Twitter for just supporting the former president. It is also worth noting how Steven Crowder, a conservative comedian is now age-restricted on YouTube but Cardi B’s WAP – a song Dawn Hawkins, the Senior Vice President of the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation described as “hardcore pornography”, isn’t. In fact, a stage performance of it ran on live TV at the Grammys on a Sunday evening this month, making parents feel uncomfortable and utterly disgusted at the discourteous display of vulgarity. Interestingly, CNN and other left-wing media outlets quickly jumped in to ‘correct’ their perspective, stating that the whole performance was ‘empowering’ and ‘sex positive’ – hence, needs to be celebrated, not condemned. Apparently, a news anchor’s monologue is all it takes to convince a generation with zero independent thought.
1984 is the perfect literary example of the irredeemable damage totalitarian rule could inflict upon us. America is called the land of the free and the home of the brave for a reason. Unfortunately, not enough ‘Winstons’ show the courage to stand up and fight against it because of the perpetual misery that may ensue. Perhaps ‘Room 101′ has scared away ‘Logic 101’ from our lives.