Big Brother, Where Art Thou?

Oh yes, there you are, with your party hat on.

What with the recent NSA scandal, George Orwell’s dystopian caution that “Big Brother is watching you” has never seemed so relevant. In fact, sales of 1984 skyrocketed just after news broke that the US government was tapping into your average Verizon member’s mundane phone calls. So, how better to celebrate Orwell’s birthday this week than by a subtle nod to the constant gaze of the Party–complete with party hats?

Such was the idea of the Dutch artist duo Thomas Voor’t Hekke and Bas van Oerle (known collectively as “FRONT 404″). Their simple concept was to decorate the ubiquitous security cameras of Utrecht with eye-catching birthday hats.

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NSA Scandal Creates Summer’s Hottest Best Seller: Orwell’s 1984

big_bro

(Photo credit)

Isaac Asimov described George Orwell‘s dystopian novel 1984 as an “attempt to show what life would be like in a world of total evil, in which those controlling the government kept themselves in power by brute force, by distorting the truth, by continually rewriting history, by mesmerising the people generally.”

The novel was written in 1948 and thus set just thirty-five years in the future. This purpose, Asimov explains, was “so that even men who were already in their early middle age at the time the book was published might live to see it if they lived out a normal lifetime.”

Those men were around for the very beginning of the Digital Age and now their sons and daughters are remembering the warnings and apparently encouraging others to read it as well.  Although sixty-four years have passed since the publication of 1984, sales of the novel have skyrocketed, up by a whopping 6,000% .  The dramatic sales are attributed to revelations last week that the National Security Administration has been secretly using Big Data to collect information about the communications of Americans,

Here are ten  passages from 1984 that are giving a new generation of readers pause:

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If This Grumpy Cat Could Talk…

Literature’s grumpiest quotes meet Tardar Sauce, the world’s grumpiest cat.

Noël Coward

Edgar Allen Poe

Jane Austen

A. N. Wilson

Friederich Nietzche

–George Orwell, 1984

What other grumpy quotes could we make Tardar Sauce say?

Let’s get catankerous, people.


Visualizing George Orwell’s 1984

1984 in pictures = very plusgood.

1984 is one scary, scary book. Just think of what our lives would be like had Orwell’s imaginings of the future come true. We’d all be massive TV addicts living in a state of heightened government security, devoted to machines. Phew, I’m glad those ideas didn’t pan out…

Actually, there may be nothing more chilling in the fictional world or our own than the Newspeak lexicon. Just seeing the word “gooder” on paper frightens me more than a massive cage of rats. Thank Big Brother we all use perfect grammar nowadays. lolz.

Read on for our eNotes exclusive infographic to help you visualize this infamous dystopian novel, Newspeak and all (shivers).

Look out for more eNotes original infographics in the near future!


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