Posts Tagged ‘Orwell’

The Post-Truth Presidency

November 28, 2016

The Post-Truth Presidency

Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen the “2016 Word of the Year”: Post-truth.”

post-truth (adjective) — Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief:

‘in this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’
‘some commentators have observed that we are living in a post-truth age’

That dictionary’s definition of “Truth”: “That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” So what could negate that? George Orwell reflected on that in 1942:

“A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys.” — George Orwell, “Looking Back on the Spanish War.”

So we know what causes the phenomenon, this “War on Reality,” and now there’s a name for it.

h/t: Gideon Lichfield


“Trump Team Explains They Were Campaigning Against Facts, Not Just Clinton,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think,” Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post


“How Do You Avoid Sounding Elitist in a Post-Truth Era?” Nancy LeTourneau, Washington Monthly

“Merriam-Webster’s plea: There’s still time to prevent ‘fascism’ from becoming word of the year,” Ben Guarino, Washington Post

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Le Grand Frère Vous Regarde à Paris

December 23, 2011

Le Grand Frère Vous Regarde à Paris

Tourists aren’t the only ones in Paris with cameras; les flics have them as well. 200 new surveillance cameras now spy on the streets of the French capital, and by spring there will be 1200 more. Police at video monitors will be on the lookout for crime, terrorists, traffic jams, and inappropriate tutoiement. You have been warned.


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Image (“Le Grand Frère Vous Regarde à Paris, after Caillebotte”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Kindle: Told You So

July 25, 2009

Kindle: Told You So

Told you so. Six months ago Stephanie at UrbZen pointed out the downside of the web-based Kindle digital book reader, the ability of the content provider to alter the text without warning or reader agreement.  Her concerns were echoed by Nicholas Carr.

Amazon decided to demonstrate this principle by making digital copies of George Orwell’s 1984 disappear from devices after readers had paid for and downloaded them. Could any book be more appropriate? Here’s some initial coverage:

“Orwellian Amazon kindles Big Brother fears,” Sydney Morning Herald

“Amazon’s Orwellian Instincts,” Faster Times

“Amazon Apologizes For Its ‘Big Brother’ Move on Kindle,”

“Why did Big Brother remove paid-for content from Amazon’s Kindles?” The Guardian