Saturday, September 29, 2007

Seriously, naming a tv show Big Brother...I just don't get it.

I finished 1984 a few weeks ago. I had never read it before, and since it's on The List I thought I'd give it a try. I read Anthem and Brave New World earlier this year so I thought I'd get my distopian novels out of the way in one fell swoop.

There are two problems with this. The first is that whenever I start thinking or talking about the "watch out for the big bad government" ideas from these books, I'm all "blah blah blah, I get it, don't let them do this to you, keep your independence, blah blah blah." And that is probably the opposite of how I'm supposed to feel. I am probably supposed to feel empowered or something. I don't even know.

But then? The second problem? It contradicts that. Did you ever notice how many references there are to 1984 in popular culture? Like the Apple ad? Or the tv show? Just the other day, I was watching the Cleveland news and a chipper newscaster said, "Is Big Brother watching? For some neighborhoods in Akron, that's just the case. Find out if your street is one with newly-installed video cameras aimed at cutting down on crime." And the problem is that these references to the book ENFURIATE me. In fact I just deleted a diatribe about how 1984 isn't meant to be a pop culture reference, it's supposed to be something more than that. But I didn't want to bore you further.

Isn't that weird? It's like I can't be happy: either I'm bored by warnings against distopia or enraged by taking it too lightly. What is my deal? Actually, maybe the more important thing to ask is: are there any more of these books? Because I probably need to steer clear of them.

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