On June 8, 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. Seventy years later, Orwell’s warnings still ring true.
Orwellian. Not many people can claim an adjective, and I’m sure if George Orwell were alive today he’d have mixed feelings about it. “Orwellian” has become synonymous with “dystopian” — humorless, drab, authoritarian, all-seeing, all-disrupting, anti-human. We see references to Big Brother — the surrogate God of Nineteen Eighty-Four — all the time in pop culture. We even have a reality show unironically named after it. The whole premise of the show sets the viewer up to spy on a household full of people with conflicting personalities. The more drama that erupts in the household, the higher the ratings. As we watch the equally complicit cast members of Big Brother feud with each other, the more we feed the ad revenue machine of the television networks. More drama, more ratings. The show first aired in 1999, and as a generation grew up on it and other reality shows, the more this kind of scenario got normalized.
Read the rest of my thoughts on 1984, on Medium.