1984 for 2017.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

…Part of 1984‘s appeal is the language Orwell developed for identifying fascist control methods that are increasingly visible today. Power structures like the Ministries of Truth, Peace, Plenty, and Love—each of which represents the opposite of its title—are reflected in an Environmental Protection Agency led by a climate change denier, and an education department run by someone who prefers “charter” to public education. Conway’s “alternative facts” sound a lot like the book’s “Newspeak,” the simplification and rebranding of common language, and “Doublethink,” whereby the government controls historical records and the news, sounds an awful lot like Breitbart retellings of current events.

With 1984‘s popularity, the constant debate about whether our current world is more like Orwell’s dystopia or the one described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World has resurfaced as well. Both books warn of the dangers their authors perceived was on the horizon, but the living legacy of 1984 is its mark on language, so Creators asked artists to illustrate the terms and concepts from the book that they see reflected in today’s society.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

You can see the rest of the fabulous artwork, along with each artist’s statement at The Creators Project. Fantastic work!


  1. says

    Charly, yes, you should read it. Everyone should read Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s a classic, it’s one of Orwell’s very best, and as noted in the OP, it has left an enduring mark on language. Newspeak has been known since the book was published, and most people in the world are familiar with it. So many common language concepts used today came from the book: thought police, thought crime, memory hole, and so much more.

    I’d say the concepts of Nineteen Eighty-Four are observed ones, on Orwell’s part, but they are universal, and a constant unwinding of history dismally repeating itself. Orwell took his conclusions to an extreme, but in the year 2017, we are closer than ever to what he wrote about. Now that world-wide fascism is looming, it’s not at all difficult to see the culmination of Nineteen Eighty-Four actually happening at some point.

    So no, it won’t make you feel better, but it’s a book worth reading, and Winston Smith is a good character to know.

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