in Offbeat, Reviews

2010– An Orwellian Year in Review

2010 might very well have been the year that we dipped further into an Orwellian nightmare as we lost all sense of privacy and dominion. This passing year we have experienced less privacy than ever before with changing Facebook privacy controls and the independence of the press has been obliterated after the persecution of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Consider the following main tenets of Orwell’s 1984 in juxtaposition with the major waves in 2010:

Big Brother — Privacy is dead, get over it

Orwell’s concept of Big Brother was an all-seeing eye that watched us constantly, eerily similar to that of Facebook in 2010. This past year Facebook has come under serious scrutiny for changing its privacy constraints, which permeate almost every aspect of our culture. One cannot help but make comparisons between the all-seeing eye of Big Brother and the all-seeing eye of Facebook, both of which dissolve our rights to privacy.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was even quoted this year saying that “privacy is no longer a social norm,” and that privacy is dead, get used to it. These Big Brother-style comments come at a critical time for privacy issues, as more and more of our lives are brought online. With Facebook’s new searchable parameters, literally everything we do will be online– and at their mercy.

The Ministry of Truth Persecutes Julian Assange

The inaptly named Ministry of Truth served to protect the agenda of the controlling party Big Brother. Their job was to spread Newspeak, a language that redefined the party’s propaganda and news. Anyone who follows the news released on WikiLeaks understands that our conglomerate news stations simply tow the party line. Anyone found acting on the contrary to the Ministry of Truth would be persecuted– much like what is happening to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is being persecuted for speaking the truth, and not Big Brother’s Newspeak. WikiLeaks is perhaps the only true voice that we have left, and unless the persecution ends and it is allowed to flourish we will be living in an Orwellian landscape of Doublethink, Thoughtcrime and Newspeak.

The Ministries

Perhaps the most chilling factor of the 1984 and 2010 comparison is in the four main ministries in 1984’s society, all antonyms of their true nature: the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Plenty. These deal with wars, lies, torture, and starvation. 2010 has been a big year, but unfortunately the war in Iraq rages on, our media and governments continue to fool us and persecute anyone who disagrees with them, torture continues around the world and at Guantanamo Bay (despite a deadline for Obama to close the facility earlier this year in 2010), and more and more of the world’s 6 billion citizens have been pushed below the poverty line.

Conclusion

1984 has taken a long time to get here, but it has finally arrived. A long time in the making we are finally completely monitored by Big, our civil liberties are practically nonexistent with Patriot act-style draconian laws, our news sources are coerced, our technology has created a constant environment of surveillance, the news is regularly altered by those in control, and technological and social advancements have made privacy a thing of the past. Orwell is here now– and he is living large.

(Reference: 1984 – Ministries of Oceania)

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