Tuesday, January 16, 2018

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

So wrote George Orwell in 1948 in his dystopian novel of the future, Nineteen Eighty-Four (which you may have thought was 1984, but it isn't).

Last week I heard another statement of the same sort. This time it spilled from the lips of none other than former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore:

"The freezing is part of the warming."

It's my new favorite saying. From mid-December until now, the water in our patio birdbath has been frozen solid most of the time. This may be normal in Kennebunkport, Maine, or in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, but it is not at all normal in Canton, Georgia.

The freezing is part of the warming.

Here are two more quotations from 1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four:

“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

Did you know that George Orwell wasn't his real name? (I'm speaking of George Orwell now, not Al Gore. Al Gore's name, as far as I know, has never been George Orwell.) Well, it wasn't. That is a nom de plume (a pen name, for those of you in the Central Time Zone).

His real name was Eric Arthur Blair, and that's okay. If Benny Kubelsky could call himself Jack Benny, and Archibald Alexander Leach could call himself Cary Grant, and Bernie Schwartz could call himself Tony Curtis, and Leonard Slye and Frances Octavia Smith could call themselves Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, I have no problem with Eric Arthur Blair calling himself George Orwell. At least he didn't change genders like Mary Anne Evans who called herself George Eliot, not that there's anything wrong with that.

This has been another rambling, meaningless post from your friend freezing friend in Canton, Georgia, Rhymeswithplague (nom de plume of Robert Henry Brague, Esq.)

And that is a good thing.

Or Double Plus Ungood, as the case may be.

13 comments:

  1. Robert H. Brague is a sophisticated-sounding name containing a hint of the French aristocracy. For a long time, I believed the name was too good to be true and after undertaking exhaustive research I have discovered that your real name is Zeke Bratkowski. Please don't worry Zeke. Your secret is safe with me.

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    1. Yorkshire Pudding, as is yours with me. I will not divulge to anyone that you are actually Cornelius Ichabod (“Icky”) von Greenblatt of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

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  2. Actually, Bob, Stornoway rarely has freezing temperatures. Today happens to be an exception because we have plummeted to -1 ℃ (30 ℉) and my pond has frozen over. It will probably have thawed by lunchtime. On the other hand I've just had a letter from a friend in Sarnia (well someone has to live there) who said their temperature was -27 ℃ (-16.6 ℉) and -37 ℃ (which I've just discovered coincidentally is also -37 ℉) with windchill taken into account.

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    1. Graham, I suppose it is because of the influence of what is left of the Gulf Stream or North Atlantic Current/Drift in your vicinity. The internet is a wonderful thing.

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  3. I was required to read 1984 at school. I am sure that it was lost on my 14 or 15 year old self and I certainly don't remember profound lines like that!

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    1. kylie, try reading it again now. It isn’t a long book and might even be online.

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  4. I got that wrong. -37 ℃ = -34.6 ℉ . Oops.

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  5. I reread them both a few yeas ago and found that I greatly preferred Animal Farm. Maybe you have alternative facts to the contrary.

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  6. Snowbrush, I agree. I thought Animal Farm was much more interesting than Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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  7. "I thought Animal Farm was much more interesting than Nineteen Eighty-Four."

    Kylie, I hope you're listening. What you said about the book being lost on you as a teenager rings true for everyone, I would imagine. When I was in my twenties, I was a public school teacher (ages 14-18). During the summer of 1976, I grew a beard. When I went back to school, the principal assumed that I grew it to commemorate America's 200th birthday, adding that he expected me to shave. I told him that I had no intention of shaving, and he booted me up the chain of command to the top, but after a lot of soul searching, I continued to refuse to shave. Thoreau was my major inspiration in making this decision, especially his essay entitled, "Civil Disobedience." Everyday after school, I would take a joint and a copy of the writings of Thoreau into the woods to ponder what I wanted to do. Nobody but Thoreau stood behind me, but I held firm. As a result, I was out of a job, but I have no regrets. A major thought that occurred to me during this time was that Thoreau had been assigned reading in high school, yet he opposed everything I was taught about what it meant to be a good person and a good citizen. I can but assume that the only reason that he was assigned reading was that none of my teachers had taken his words to heart. None of their students had either. When we look at something--anything--it is very hard to see that which we don't expect to see. Reality isn't what exists, but what we create in our heads, and I mean this literally.

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  8. Snowbrush, try as I might I cannot make heads or tails of your comment. After your first two sentences you lost me entirely. I’m sure there was a point in there somewhere.

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  9. My comment was inspired by Kylie's comment that she might not have properly appreciated "1984" as a teenager. I felt the same about the writings of Thoreau. No matter how good an author is, a person must have the maturity to appreciate him or her.

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