Add to My MSN

Huxley and Orwell Were Both Right

9/22/2011 11:12:36 AM

Tags: Chris Hedges, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, dystopia, consumerism, narcissism, oligarchy, politics, The Progressive, Keith Goetzman

1984, first edition 

Irascible, hard-digging journalist Chris Hedges tells The Progressive in an interview that both Aldous Huxley and George Orwell were on to something, and their dystopic visions are neither far fetched nor incompatible:

“I used to wonder: Is Huxley right or is Orwell right? It turns out they’re both right. First you get the new world state [Brave New World] and endless diversions as you are disempowered. And then, as we are watching, credit dries up, and the cheap manufactured goods of the consumer society are no longer cheap. Then you get the iron fist of Oceania, of Orwell’s 1984.

“That’s precisely the process that’s happened. We have been very effectively pacified by the pernicious ideology of a consumer society that is centered on the cult of the self—an undiluted hedonism and narcissism. That has become a very effective way to divert our attention while the country is reconfigured into a kind of neofeudalism, with a rapacious oligarchic elite and an anemic government that no longer is able to intercede on behalf of citizens but cravenly serves the interests of the oligarchy itself.”

Whew. Hedges also critiques President Barack Obama as “seduced by power and prestige,” describes being booed off the stage at a college commencement for speaking out against the Iraq War, and explains that Americans have some growing up to do. It’s hard stuff, but in the end he tips his hand—he’s doing it all for his new baby girl:

“What kind of a world are we going to leave the next generation? I, at least, want my children to look back and say, ‘My daddy was being arrested at the White House fence and booed off commencement stages. He was trying.’”

Source: The Progressive (full article available to subscribers only) 

Image by markhillary, licensed under Creative Commons. Panel image by Shepard Fairey.



Related Content

On Trial for ‘Excessively Noisy Sex’

The arrest of a U.K. woman for having sex too loudly conjures up echoes of George Orwell’s 1984 for ...

Whose Name Is That on the Face of Planet Earth?

Using a GPS tracking device, Nick Newcomen wrote the message “Read Ayn Rand” across the United State...

The Vintage Newsroom: Typewriters, Teletype Machines, and Glue Fumes

It's humbling to peer backwards into history at the process of producing a newspaper or magazine in ...

UtneCast: Advocacy and Journalism with Robert Greenwald

For the latest episode of the UtneCast, I sat down with film director Robert Greenwald during the 20...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

Keith Goetzman
9/27/2011 9:22:44 AM
David, the interview on the Progressive website is an excerpt from a longer interview that is available only to subscribers.

David Miller
9/26/2011 10:48:14 PM
I was able to read the article at The Progressive, and I'm not a subscriber.






Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!