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>> Monday, June 21, 2010

As I finished the final pages of George Orwell’s critically acclaimed “1984” the text haunted me. It filled me with an emptiness that I haven’t felt for a long time. Some items in the book that filled me with horror were the destruction of vocab words that was assigned to a department as they worked towards their goal of achieving a one word dictionary. This would lead to the party’s control over all thoughts as there would be no other words available.

Another department was assigned to alter all records of history to reflect the party in charge as always being right.

Passion was all but exempt and a crime punishable by ‘rehabilitation’.

The book was difficult for me to read as it represented a world that I want nothing to do with. I became very paranoid as I was reading as the horrors I was readi

I love my freedom and that’s something I will always fight for.

Next up on my list is “The Secret History of Science Fiction” with all sorts of selections by winners of the Hugo Award and other things. Let us hope that I’m happier about finishing this book as opposed to “1984”.


The Roz's June 21, 2010 at 1:58 PM  

Eek! I could never finish '1984'. I haven't picked it up in over 10 years, I tried a few times in high school to read it. But like you said, it made me feel... weird.
In a similar vein, I did read Aldos Huxley's 'Brave New World'. Also weird but not as horrific as '1984'.
Hope you find some better reads!

Jess June 21, 2010 at 8:10 PM  

Ooh, you know I did a project on the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis/Linguistic Relativity a couple of semesters ago, and in a lot of sources they would introduce the idea by drawing parallels to 1984. If you're interested in language's role in influencing cognition, you should read some of the literature on it.

It's fascinating, but ultimately, there's little data to back it up I guess. Still, it's fun to read through the research on it. :)

Katie Gruber June 22, 2010 at 7:00 AM  

Angie - :) I love 1984. It so thought provoking and I didn't find it that hard of read - it went quickly for me. I do second that Brave New World is similar without the density, and may be more to relatable modern day life. I liked Animal Farm by Orwell as well.

Building on what Jess said (who I don't know but am a kindred spirit in being students of Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and Linguistic Relativity - which just made my day that I saw post-graduation!), I think there is more evidence that language shapes our worldview than many of us may know realize. Two examples - languages and political language. Languages - A common example used is Eskimos and their many different words for snow. I have another example that I just wrote out but may be too controversial for some, so I deleted it. When studying languages, translations are rarely exact, and these differences reflect differences in culture and worldview. Political language is also used to adjust our perceptions. For example, take the estate/death tax. They're the same thing, but after Frank Lunz instructed Republican candidates to start calling the estate tax the death tax, public opinion soared against it. What had been an uncontroversial tax that doesn't affect many suddenly turned into something that the masses revolted against. Nothing changed except the language used to describe it. Politicians frequently use language to shape perceptions of policies - war on terror, Axis of Evil, extremism, death panels, government takeover vs health care reform, socialism - these things work to excite people and rally them against/for things!

Google Frank Lunz for more info - he's brilliant but super scary (only because I disagree with his political positions - if he was liberal I'd probably think he was a god).

Sorry this was so long. I miss school. :)

Katie Gruber June 22, 2010 at 7:00 AM  

Correction - Frank Luntz, not Frank Lunz

A June 22, 2010 at 8:54 AM  

I haven't looked at that stuff for a few semester, although my professors leaned more towards Noam Chomsky theory.

I love Derridas though, he's my favorite.(And I reread him at least a few times a year, he makes me happy)

But I'll go back and review My Norton Critical Theory Bible for some tidbits on Linguistic Relativity. It sounds quite fascinating.

Brave New World is next up after the selections book. I'm stoked. I've read a lot of Huxley theory on evolution where he was fondly referred to as Darwin's Bulldog.

I knew what I was getting into having read some Orwellian theory and his literary interests. He was opposed to mixing known language with foreign language and other things that I can't help but balk at. And everywhere I disagree with him Derridas allows me room to play with text and infer whatever I want.

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