Wednesday, December 16, 2009

a boot stamping on Simon Cowell's face, forever

In commemoration of the final of creepily evil orchestra-backed pub karaoke competition X Factor at the weekend, I offer you a couple of brief passages from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four which seem weirdly prescient:
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 sub-section--Pornosec, it was called in Newspeak--engaged in producing the lowest kind of pornography, which was sent out in sealed packets and which no Party member, other than those who worked on it, was permitted to look at.
The tune had been haunting London for weeks past. It was one of countless similar songs published for the benefit of the proles by a sub-section of the Music Department. The words of these songs were composed without any human intervention whatever on an instrument known as a versificator. But the woman sang so tunefully as to turn the dreadful rubbish into an almost pleasant sound.
A couple of brief footnotes: firstly, yes I have purchased a copy of Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name off iTunes. I was never a big fan of RATM - long on shouty right-on political rage, short on tunes - but this isn't a bad tune, and it's in a good cause. Secondly, if you're too much of a tightwad to shell out actual money for a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the whole text appears to be available here.

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