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posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 09:59 PM
Here's a quote from that increasingly-most-relevant of books, Orwell's 1984. It describes a kind of political discourse Orwell calls "Duckspeak." I post it because I feel like I'm hearing political "duckspeak" everywhere...on the TV, in people's arguments, and on the Net.

Does the following sound eerily familiar to you? If so, we're in trouble...but you already knew that, now, didn't you?

".. At the table on his left the man with the strident voice was still talking remorselessly away...His head was thrown back a little, and because of the angle at which he was sitting, his spectacles caught the light and presented to Winston two blank discs instead of eyes. What was slightly horrible, was that from the stream of sound that poured out of his mouth it was almost impossible to distinguish a single word. Just once Winston caught a phrase--'complete and final elimination of Goldsteinism'--jerked out very rapidly and, as it seemed, all in one piece, like a line of type cast solid. For the rest it was just a noise, a quack-quack-quacking. And yet, though you could not actually hear what the man was saying, you could not be in any doubt about its general nature.

He might be denouncing Goldstein and demanding sterner measures against thought-criminals and saboteurs, he might be fulminating against the atrocities of the Eurasian army, he might be praising Big Brother or the heroes on the Malabar front--it made no difference. Whatever it was, you could be certain that every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure Ingsoc. As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man's brain that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck...

'There is a word in Newspeak,' said Syme, 'I don't know whether you know
it: DUCKSPEAK, to quack like a duck. It is one of those interesting words
that have two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it is abuse,
applied to someone you agree with, it is praise.'

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 10:23 PM
I *LOVE* 1984

it has been suggested that orwell was privvy to some kind of plan or group that was developing this big brother state.

his book sends chills down my spine, especially as the once common english we all spoke has become newspeak. wikipedia fulfils the ministry of truth that can change the facts on any subject, and finally we see the eyes of big brother watching us everywhere in the western world.

it is a sad time we live in.

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 10:31 PM
reply to post by okamitengu

It is an amazing book, isn't it? I re-read it a few years ago for the first time since high school or whenever, and I was totally blown away.

A lot of people connect Orwell with heavy-handed government survalience and so on, and that's certainly an important part of his message. But to me the most relevant aspect is the whole concept of doublethink: The way people can hold two totally contradictory sets of ideas in their mind and switch between them without newspeak, the type of language that supports it. Orwell's explication of this whole way of thought/speech was bang-on.

Orwell posited doublespeak and newspeak as something pushed downwards on the people by the government, but what's even scarier is that I suspect people cheerfully do it of their own accord, without any pressure or coersion at seems to be a sick yet adaptive feature of the human mind.

[edit on 4/8/10 by silent thunder]

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 10:36 PM
I'm about 3/4th of the way through 1984 right now. Somehow I managed to miss a few even though I was an advanced english student in high school & college. Brave New World, 1984 and Animal Farm is next. I find it eerie how relevant 1984 is to what I'm seeing in the world right now.

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 10:48 PM
An all time favorite

Here's my thought on Orwell's 1984 - while most of us study it as a dystopian nightmare - our leaders seem to consider it a utopian fantasy.
Who's to say our favorite political demon isn't using the book as an ops manual for "protecting our interests"? Was Orwell privy to special knowledge, just aware and attuned, or did he engineer this himself?
My questions are rhetorical. George Orwell is just great - thanks.


edit add follow up:

Does anybody think it significant the main character is named Winston? I mean, it's just the sort of thing George would do just to screw with us!!

[edit on 8-4-2010 by ganjoa]

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:23 AM

1984 is my favorite book and has been since I was a child. I read it several times before I realized what Orwell is saying. Winston Smith was insane after all. He lived in a perfect utopia but because of his mental illness he couldn't function and had to be put down. The irony is that our society would agree with Winston Smith that it was a distopian nightmare but I think Orwell meant something else by 1984.

Anyone else get that from the book?

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:36 AM
reply to post by damwel

Nope, I didn't get that whatsoever. Winston ends up being tortured into insanity, just like the party knew would happen.

There was nothing Utopian about any situation in 1984. The pages from the Goldstein book laid out plainly how the world became to function as a complete prison for the mind, body and spirit.

posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 08:47 AM

Originally posted by silent thunder
reply to post by okamitengu

But to me the most relevant aspect is the whole concept of doublethink: The way people can hold two totally contradictory sets of ideas in their mind and switch between them without newspeak, the type of language that supports it. Orwell's explication of this whole way of thought/speech was bang-on.

That's a great point. I see examples of our version of double think all the time and it compares a lot to the old fable of the fox and the grapes. The fox sees the grapes high in the tree and wants them badly - once he realizes he can't reach them or have them at all, he convinces himself that they are sour anyways. People do this all the time, criticize something they want because they think it's unattainable.

In 1984 they do it out of programming and out of survival but we do it now to keep the comfort of the veil over our eyes and our existing paradigm intact.

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