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Beware The Savage Jaw of 1984

Doublespeak, constant surveillance, alternative facts, the pursuit and maintenance of power at all cost… Of course, I’m talking about George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm. These books are just flying off of the shelves.


Animal Farm is one of my favorite books. It’s a tale about animals who revolt against the farmer who is oppressing them (forcing them into labor, killing them, etc) and what happens after they win. Driving off the humans is one thing, creating new rules to run the farm is another. In truth, it’s a story about the Russian Revolution (Lenin, Trotsky and the gang) but the allegory does not depend on your knowledge of Russian history to work.

If you are in an Orwellian frame of mind, here are some other media suggestions:

David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and The 1980 Floor Show
At one time, David Bowie wanted to create a musical based on 1984 but the Orwell estate wasn’t interested. Those songs were incorporated into Diamond Dogs, an album that cast a very dark image of the future.
While the musical itself didn’t happen, you can get an idea of what Bowie was going for in The 1980 Floor Show (recorded over 3 days in October 1973):

Can you imagine what would happen if Monty Python got their hands on Orwell’s 1984 and made a movie? You don’t have to imagine–it kinda happened. In 1985, Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame directed Brazil – a film that’s a spiritual cousin of 1984. See, a worker – a cog in the wheel of a totalitarian government tries to correct a mistake and all hell breaks loose:

*An alternative title for this post: They’ll Split Your Pretty Cranium And Fill It Full Of Air

Beware The Savage Jaw of 1984

That Amazon has the ability to delete/remove ebooks you have purchased for your Kindle is disturbing.  You don’t really own a Kindle ebook–it’s just licensed to you and you have the ability to view it unlimited times, ahem, unless Amazon or a publisher changes it’s mind.

Beyond this, the fact that Amazon still has access to what’s in your Kindle has deeper implications…

Justin Gawronski, a 17-year-old from the Detroit area, was reading “1984” on his Kindle for a summer assignment and lost all his notes and annotations when the file vanished. “They didn’t just take a book back, they stole my work,” he said.

Can’t you imagine certain government security agencies asking Amazon to let them know which ebooks certain “people of interest” have bought–and hand over copies of files found on the Kindle. It would be a win-win situation, Amazon would get a chance to be patriotic and, if the POI has made any notes/annotations), the government gets to see them without needing a warrant.

Of course, the scenario wouldn’t have to play out that way. Amazon could have a backbone and demand warrants, etc.

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