A Journal for Western Man

 

 

 

Orwell's Warning:

Popular Culture

G. Stolyarov II

Issue XII- April 14, 2003

 

 
This essay is the third in a series designed to dissect the totalitarian mentality portrayed in George Orwell's 1984 and to draw parallels to trends in modern academia and the sociopolitical arena of today. The following is an index of previous portions of this commentary:
1. Collectivism
2. Antiprogressivism

3. Relativism
4.
Doublethink
5. Popular Culture - You are here. Read on to continue your analysis of this topic.

With the basics of its enforcement firmly established and its internal solidarity secured by relativist doublethink, the Party's subsequent aim concentrates upon the indoctrination of the proletarians, who, as the elite supposes, would not possess the capacity to stage a reformation of the social order so long as they remain subject to their present lowly conditions. "From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore, the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able, underemployed, power-hungry people, and the growth of skepticism in their own ranks. The problem, that is to say, is educational. It is a problem of continuously molding the consciousness both of the directing group and of the larger executive group that lies immediately below it. The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in a negative way." (p. 171) Education, the breeding tool for skepticism and discontent, would, according to this reasoning, be a forbidden fruit for the plebs. Yet the basic nature of human beings, unable to function in a pure vacuum of ideas, necessitates that other matters fill the newly-imposed void. It is also contrary to the interests of the Party to institute utter apathy and ignorance within the working class toward the government, for eventually an empty mind beckons an idea as a carbon monoxide molecule attracts an additional oxygen atom. In order to avoid the actualization of their foremost fear, the transformation, enabled by subversive ideas, of the proletariat into the new middle class, the Party must convey its own dogma in the place of genuine learning.

Of course, to the vast majority of persons, elaborately crude philosophical axioms of relativism (in their format as contradictory as in all else), are inaccessible, and a direct indoctrination into the ways of doublethink would result in the draining of working hours from the plebeians and the collapse of the very grunt work necessary to sustain the material resources flowing to the Party behemoth for its massive efforts of subjugation at home and abroad (Oceania maintains a stalemate war against the two remaining other superpowers in the world, Eurasia and Eastasia, each of them possessing a similar collectivist oligarchy in command. The purpose of this war is not territorial conquest, but rather the deprivation of resources from the populace which otherwise would have presented them with more comfortable living conditions.). Therefore, a lower level of exploitation is required with the masses than is aimed at Party members. Instead of being bludgeoned with logical fallacies, the crowds are bombarded with those characteristics capable of being grasped by the lowliest of animals, emotions. "There was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarian literature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here were produced rubbishy newspapers, containing almost nothing except sport, crime, and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator. There was even a whole subsection-- Pornosec, it was called in Newspeak-- engaged in producing the lowest kind of pornography..." (p. 39) This occupation of the proletarian's attention would act to divert him from a transformation into a refined intellectual, for the principal characteristic of the refined man is discontent with the status quo as a result of visions for improvement. Such chaotic entertainment, on the other hand, is the status quo precisely for the reason that the Party requires chaos, impulse, and base sentiments in order to preserve its anti-orderly ideals. While the typical conformist is presented the illusion of rebellion due to his own bleating in support of perverse behaviors of all sorts, attire on the fringes of indecency, and a general deviation from his perceived conception of the "socially dominant cultured snob", he exhibits precisely that behavior which autocracy desires of him. Submerged in his life-wrecking dependence on random spurs of the moment and inexplicable animal cravings, he becomes as intellectually paralyzed as is a rank-and-file Party member.

Yet such is not the fullest expanse of the oligarchy's lower-level indoctrination. As with the children, the Party possesses an avenue to the exploitation of negative sentiments, as those brought to fruition by base entertainment, and their direction outward, against dissent. During week-long celebrations of Hate (as their name concedes), the masses are drawn into the whirlpool of rituals, chants, and exclamations as rotten as the material to which they have become accustomed. Mr. Orwell describes one of these abominations, "It had a savage, barking rhythm which could not exactly be called music, but resembled the beating of a drum. Roared out by hundreds of voices to the tramp of marching feet, it was terrifying." (p. 123) This implies, of course, an eternal farewell to Herr Mozart and Monsieur Chopin, who have been plunged into oblivion, for their creations are a key to the uplifting of the human spirit, which must remain at the level of sewer if the Party is to successfully inflict its intended suffering. Again, something must fill the void. Tribal rantings are the totalitarians' answer.

To add to these immoralities, another one falls to the most putrid depths of vulgarity, the horrid physical exploitation of impoverished women. "Tacitly the party was even inclined to encourage prostitution, as an outlet for instincts which could not be altogether suppressed. Mere debauchery did not matter very much..." (p. 57) Of course, aside from being an occupation of one's invaluable time, the practice of prostitution encourages a destructive, lascivious disposition which, in a man of sufficient crudeness to engage in such demeaning activity, will inevitably spill into other affairs. The desires to ravage, destroy, and sever are present within such base intercourse, which is encouraged by the Party while the medieval ideals of courtly love and a genuine respect for the character of one's life partner are abolished under pain of death. This chain of degradation possesses numerous links. Films of gruesome physical detail lead to actual exploitation, which results in the very decadent emotions the Witch Doctors utilize as a foundation of their power.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre, Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue XII Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.

 

 

 

 

 

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