Don�t even start calling things Bushian
By Mark Drolette
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jul 17, 2007, 00:48
sick of lefties snidely comparing the grim totalitarian society of George
Orwell�s 1984 to today�s freedom-spewing United States, a country few Americans
would dare call dystopian, even if they could
define it. The following analysis exposes these aspersions as utterly specious.
War is peace. Freedom is
slavery. Ignorance is strength. These are the best-known examples of 1984�s �doublespeak,� the deliberate
misuse of deceptive language. Some may proffer George W. Bush calculatingly
utilizes doublespeak but I say no.
unique linguistic approach comes naturally.
there�s Orwell�s �doublethink�: holding two opposing thoughts simultaneously,
which Bush has gone one better by mastering �nothink,� a concept characterized
by being devoid of any original thought whatsoever. Unpatriotic types (you
know: show-offs who consider intelligence desirable) disparage this but, in reality,
it allows our brave decider more freedom to tell the bloody truth, as
demonstrated at a February press conference when he boldly pronounced "money trumps
who doubt Bush�s sincerity should ask liberty-defending weapons manufacturers
if his words ring as true as, say, a non-stop cash register. Admittedly, the
non-partisan Center for Public Integrity did
announce in 2004 the military
industry had given Bush $5.4 million since 1998, tops among
politicians, but tellingly didn�t mention somebody�s
gotta be number one.
Big Brother is watching
protagonist Winston Smith horrifyingly learns his trysting den has been
secretly monitored when a picture crashes to the floor, revealing a
previously-hidden telescreen through which his �crimes� have been observed.
Among his subversive activities? Making love. (Which, come to think of it, sounds
like a plank from the GOP platform.)
1984, everyone�s under constant
surveillance. Or are they? It doesn�t matter, it�s the thought (crime) that
counts. Thinking you�re being watched
chills your very core, sorta like how you blanched the morning following yet
another spirited night of porn-surfing when it appeared your computer�s history
had been searched by your (now ex-) wife.
preposterous, however, to suggest Americans would ever allow impingement of
their constitutionally-protected right to privacy. Courageous, magnet-affixing
patriots that they are, they�d rabidly fight outrages like cameras at every
corner, microchipped passports, a national ID card, no-warrant searches or
having the FBI investigate their borrowing of A Marxist History at the
library. (Then again, maybe the local field agent should discover why acolytes consider Harpo the funniest of the
Two plus two makes five. I�m sure my long-suffering
high school algebra teacher was convinced this was my motto. Nevertheless, once
I finally comprehended basic addition, I knew Orwell, by having sinister Inner
Party member O�Brien inform Smith two plus two makes five if the state says it
does, was averring that with enough coercion (or voltage), the government can
make one believe even the most absurd notion.
no such inane assertions have emanated from the Bush administration.
by the way, had its number of (s)elected office-holders reduced by half
recently when Dick Cheney declared the vice presidency isn�t part of the
belongs to Congress, apparently.
the Rotary Club.
makes sense when you do the new (world order) math: Two minus one equals George
W. Bush; I�m sorry, check it: a big fat zero.
In 1984, Oceania is always at war. Oceania�s rulers classically rechannel the masses�
potentially dangerous resentment by creating a perennial national foe.
Actually, they fashion two, Eastasia and Eurasia, deeming one a mortal enemy
and the other an ally before suddenly reversing the roles, thereby keeping the
proletariat further off-balance. The similar-sounding names produce additional
no comparable situation exists here. We know exactly where the enemy lies: in Iraq.
is it Iran?
Room 101. In dreaded Room 101,
Oceania�s nascent rebels (that is, independent thinkers meaning, thankfully,
most Americans would never see the place) are shattered via the ultimate
torture: being forced to face the �worst thing in the world.� Smith experiences
this literally when a cage, strapped to his head, allows access to his face by
his greatest fear: rats.
never see such shenanigans in
America. PETA would howl.
everyone knows torture doesn�t work. A brutalized person admits to anything,
true or not, to stop the pain. Threaten any American with credit card (or American Idol) cancellation and just
wait for the babbling.
torture is distinctly un-American even if, as White House counsel in 2002, U.S.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to make it a project for the new
American century when he called Geneva Conventions proscribing it �quaint� and
�obsolete� in his attempt to justify its use in the never-ending War on Terror.
is it Tarot?
matter. Bush luckily saved the day by forcefully putting his foot down (almost
as if stamping on a human face), stating, �America will never torture,
arbitrarily imprison, kidnap, rape, murder people or take their stuff even.�
Down the memory hole. In 1984, Smith rewrites history at the Orwellian-named Ministry of
Truth, revising old newspaper articles and then slipping the incriminating
evidence down a slot leading to an incinerator where old facts go to fry.
some folks claim our government does the same thing! A Web site called The Memory Hole
(how�s that for coincidence?) showcases materials it implies prove public
information is regularly removed or doctored � la 1984.
so it was interesting to view the
headline over a May 2003 White House screen shot of Bush on a carrier that read
�President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended� only to see,
five months later, the word �Major� had been inserted before �Combat.�
America-haters would likely say there�s nothing like a pesky insurgency to make
you eat your words (or add one). But, honestly, who could�ve known before the
invasion that Iraq didn�t really endanger our beloved country?
mean, besides the millions of
protestors proclaiming before the invasion that Iraq didn�t endanger our
say the administration does rewrite history. So what? Wouldn�t your very own
memory hole have come in mighty handy when you got your last probation report,
the one in which you discovered much to your chagrin your supervisor does,
indeed, know the meaning of �porcine�?
I don�t need government assistance to help me forget things. Why, just this
morning I --
. . . what was I saying?
mind. I�ve already proved my point, whatever it was. It�s time anyway for my
shift over at the Department of Attitude Amendment where we�re finishing our
week long re-education seminars:
Why the bad rap?�
a four-part series.
is the fifth installment.
rule Oceania! I mean, wherever.
Copyright � 2007 Mark
(Originally published in
the Sacramento News & Review)
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who
(for now) lives in Sacramento, California. His next book, �Why Costa Rica? Why
the hell not?� will also at last be his first. It will be available once it�s
finished, published and then made available. You can reach Mark at email@example.com.
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