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Is Orwell mediocre or Self an arrogant twat?


Camy

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I don't know Self's writings aside from the twaddle he is presenting in this article, but I'd have to cast my vote against his arrogance. He seems to be saying that Orwell's keen insights and complex analyses of the human condition are to be ignored because Orwell was a duffer at packaging his message in a sufficiently attractive and exciting wrapper. Self is all about the rhetoric rather than the reasoning, and like so many of our "educated" commentators appears to be someone who is swayed by the seduction of the presentation rather than moved to thought by the significance of the message.

Yet Self is willing to admit that 'it was Orwell's own particular genius to possess a prose style that stated a small number of things with painful clarity.' That seems to me to be a mark of success.

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I'd have to agree with Merkin's assessment of Self and Orwell. Self is in put down mode to reinforce his own opinion of what is mediocre, so as to conceal any insight that Orwell provides. In other words Self shoots the messenger because Orwell doesn't match Self's snobbish preconceptions of literary excellence. In my opinion, of course. :icon1:

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The article is actually a cut down transcript of a broadcast that went out last Sunday. Listening to the actual broadcast, which can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04fchmd

Comes across somewhat better than the written version does.

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I suppose it is unfair to label Orwell as mediocre when to many of the literary minded around the world he was seen as the typical English eccentric. His writing beyond the much lauded 1984 and Animal Farm, which is about all most Americans know from him, is often a well scripted look at human failings and foibles.

I remember at some point he was labeled a communist because of the way he often dressed. I very much doubt he wrapped himself in a red flag but this just proves that Orwell was a target of early social media, and now the Guardian seems to have taken up that banner. It seems absurd that a liberal media outlet would allow such an attack on such a revered person so I can agree that this seems to be a personal grudge from Mr. Self.

You can read other opinion pieces from Mr. Self online and they are anything but Orwellian in nature. I would suggest the Guardian stick to it's scandal mongering ways and stay away from literary figures. Of course no one would ever accuse Mr. Self of being literary...so there you go.

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  • 10 months later...

I am wondering what is going on with the British press when only weeks ago I read an article where Wilfred Owen the World War I poet was being discredited as being a simpering homosexual coward. This man went into the war full of patriotism and by the end he was disillusioned. He died of the field of battle just days before the Armistice. Google Wilfred Owen.

And now this. A detracting article on Orwell in a country that has more video cameras per square kilometer than anywhere in the world. A country that GCHQ along with the NSA has the illegal and intrusive power to blackmail anyone who dares to speak out enough to cause a ripple.

The author continually refers to Orwell as mediocre and insignificant and from my point of view his warnings about tyrannical regimes becomes more of a reality every day.

If you clear away all the vivid imagery, the cell phones, the blaring sounds and the intrusive social management of the government, you will find Orwell.

After shutting down my TV 9 years ago I see it ever more clearly that this is a tool of social manipulation and cohesion on the part of corporations and the state. The individual is irrelevant.

Why do people put Postits over the cam on their lap tops? They do it because the "telescreen" is already here. It may not feel like the tyranny is here but the foundation and all the elements that Orwell warned about are already firmly in place.

To quote Orwell, "Oceania is at war with EuriaAsia, Oceania has always been at war with EurAsia"

We have been at war for 15 years and we don't even know who the enemy is anymore.

This man seeks to trivialize Orwell at a time when he has never been more relevant! Perhaps we should ask why?

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I am wondering what is going on with the British press when only weeks ago I read an article where Wilfred Owen the World War I poet was being discredited as being a simpering homosexual coward. This man went into the war full of patriotism and by the end he was disillusioned. He died of the field of battle just days before the Armistice. Google Wilfred Owen.

I'm sorry Larkin - what is this a quote from? I can't find it in any of our posts above it, and nor can I find it in the BBC article. I want to comment, along the lines of 'the parts of the British press that would print something like this are not fit to be used as toilet paper' - but I was hoping to drill down and find which newspaper said it - and of course I can't.

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I'm sorry Larkin - what is this a quote from? I can't find it in any of our posts above it, and nor can I find it in the BBC article. I want to comment, along the lines of 'the parts of the British press that would print something like this are not fit to be used as toilet paper' - but I was hoping to drill down and find which newspaper said it - and of course I can't.

Bruin, I think perhaps the quote may reference a story I saw in the Daily Mail - it was from November of last year.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2826810/Dark-secret-doomed-youth-Warrior-poet-Wilfred-Owen-died-hero-trenches-startling-evidence-unearthed-WWI-scholar-tells-different-story.html

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Okay I'm now much enlightened - both by reading the Daily Mail article (I may have to go and lie down in a darkened room for a few hours) and by the New Statesman article that Larkin has referred me to.

If I'd had to guess which paper might have described Owen as a simpering homosexual coward I would have guessed the Daily Mail.

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Political language is .....designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to the pure wind.

George Orwell.

This piece from the BBC Magazine has all the earmarks of a political smear for the purpose of discrediting a set of competing ideas that are crucial at this very time.

It is possible that Americans are not even reading Orwell these days so this article would have no purpose in the States.

I found this article that challenges the BBC's position.

http://www.orwellsociety.com/the-orwellself-spat-what-it-reveals-about-contemporary-culture/

http://www.orwellsociety.com/category/orwell-work/page/2/

Is the BBC falling under the influence of the Media Giants?

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Well, to be fair to the BBC the article is an opinion piece by Will Self, a regular column by a man known to be extremely opinionated. The BBC does not necessarily endorse his opinion, but only considers it a sufficiently interesting opinion to warrant giving him airtime.

Will Self is usually interesting, entertaining, sometimes infuriating.

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