George Orwell’s 1984: The Prophet-able Discourse of ED

pic from clockwork orangeOpinion by Mark Kneubuhl -

(April 6, 2012)  Toward the end of the 20th century, George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was the “Wikipedia of the day,” when contemplating the future.  Written in 1949, the story took place in the year 1984, revealing a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance and incessant public mind control.

The term ‘Big Brother’ who was the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, has become common vernacular in modern society.

In High School, during the 1970s and 80s, it was required reading along with Animal Farm, One flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest and a couple others that have since become American Classics in that genre.

And since 1984 (both the date and the book), umpteen references have been made in newspapers, magazines and journals, citing similarities to the present.

The difference in comparing the United States today with Oceania then, is that Oceania was a totalitarian society. And that society was divided by the ‘Inner Party’ and the ‘Outer Party’.  It was the Inner Party that wielded total power for its own sake over the population.  If you read the book, one might guess that the Inner Party made up about, ohm… let’s see, about 2% of the population?

And what about perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance and incessant public mind control?  Let’s take a look:

Perpetual War

One could make a case for “a lot of war”, warring and conflict that requires a lot of heavy equipment, but American has also enjoyed a lot of ‘down time’ since Orwell penned his famous novel. In fact, the US was at peace in 1949, except for the 60,000 US troops in China. And in 1950, there was quiet on all fronts… or at least until June, which marked the start of the Korean War.

From then until the start of the Vietnam War in 1959 (that’s when the US sent “advisors”), we had operations in Taiwan, China, Egypt, Lebanon, and Haiti, where we helped “Papa Doc” Duvalier become dictator.

The Vietnam war ended in 1975. It’s been said that the post-Vietnam era was relatively peaceful except for Cambodia, Lebanon, Korea, Zaire and Nicaragua.

In the 1980’s the military moved west, starting out the decade in Iran with Operation Eagle Claw, an unfortunate and unsuccessful attempt to free American Hostages. That was followed by dozens of military-ops (and some oops), from the Philippines to Granada, Columbia to the Persian Gulf, and a dozen countries in between.

Ditto for the 90s and the first decade of the new millennium: Since August 9, 1990, America has been at war in the Middle East, with only a short -but not compete, hiatus to take care of business in Bosnia and a half dozen other countries.

Pervasive government surveillance

Today, cameras are everywhere, owned and operated by both government and the private sector. Some consider this ‘pervasive,” but mostly from criminal and defense attorneys caught on the wrong side of the battle field.  And, hardly a day goes by when the media doesn’t reveal video footage of someone caught in a criminal act.  That’s when the lawyers take over, draw-out the case and completely ruin that blissful first impression of sweet justice.  But I love this form of video surveillance.  With large cameras in plain view, I regularly witness careless drivers running a red light. In the past, I would mutter to myself, “Where are the cops when you need em?” Now, I don a self-serving smirk, knowing that justice will soon arrive in the mail.

Incessant public mind control

Old sci-fi movie techniques of mind control seem comical today:  People staring into spinning spirals speaking in a monotone voice, or scenes depicting a hypnosis session when and man (it’s always a man), in very low and ominous tone says, “You are getting sleepy.”  Today we just medicate ourselves. And, although depression, Bi-polar disorders, anxiety and more severe psychosis’ are very real, these disorders also existed 60 years ago. Then, severe cases were treated in mental institution with high doses of lithium and shock therapy (One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest).  Used appropriately, modern medications have become a wonder drug for millions.

However, studies have demonstrated that where common depression, mild anxiety and other mental issues are concerned, Americans are over-medicating or taking mind altering drugs when they shouldn’t be, based on flimsy diagnoses or a physician willing to play along with Big Pharma. (Not to be confused with Big Brother.)

In the last decade there has been a title wave of drug commercials, which depict a la-la-land existence and strongly suggest that everything will be fine if you just take this little blue pill.  This (in my opinion), leads to wishful self-diagnose, where we run off to our doctors and recite, by rote memory, the symptoms we just heard on TV.  After all, I want to look and feel like that beautiful couple on the commercial.”

And yes, the major shareholders of the pharmaceutical companies -who spend billions on advertizing to make you stare into that little spinning spiral, are part of the Inner Party…  Well, that’s not true. There’s no such thing as the Inner Party… only the 2%!

A 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and based on surveys and depression screenings of about 12,000 Americans, found about one in 10 adults take antidepressants and they’re the top prescription for Americans aged 18-44. The study also revealed that one in 25 adolescents in the United States were also taking antidepressants.

There are also dozens of medication for children as young as 3-years, as a treatment for ADD and ADHD. Modern science has discovered that there is a neurological disorder that makes it difficult for some children to connect the dots. This can cause lack of focus and or hyperactivity.

Not too long ago and before the age of political correctness, teachers and parents alike would call such children “excitable.”  And they did fit in the social mold of the time as a sub-group -called hyperactive, a word that was then considered synonymous with “children”.

So, maybe Big Brother isn’t controlling our minds.  Maybe it’s us, the adults who are trying to control our kid’s minds. Maybe parents in the “old days” could more easily handle “hyperactive” children because they had more mental strength while living with purpose in a strong and wholesome community. Maybe parents of the day self-medicated with liquor… who knows?

Apart from mind altering medication, there are also many new drugs that treat a whole host of newly discovered physical health issues.

One is called RLS, or Restless Leg Syndrome.  Obviously, these folks have never heard of a treadmill!

And then of course, there’s ED or Erectile Dysfunction. (There should be just one medication to treat this and RLS!)  I do understand the desire for aging males to want to have the “right stuff” in the bedroom, but when your closest little friend doesn’t pop out of bed before you do, I wouldn’t label that as dysfunctional, I’d call it gettin’ old.

In conclusion, if you remember George Orwell’s book at a time before the title year; if you recall discussing it with friends (like I did), about the possibility of these events unfolding by the year 1984, you may be taking Viagra.

 

 

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Posted by at April 6, 2012
Filed in category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Society, and tagged with: ,

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