1984 was a vintage year: the birth of Band-Aid, the Crack Epidemic and Gareth Gates. In spite of these atrocities, Orwell’s future of mass rallies, endemic substance abuse and crass entertainment never came to pass.
Orwell, like populist polemicists from Guy Fawkes to George Galloway, has a talent for oversimplification that insults his readers and Stalinists everywhere. Animal Farm is a shining example; it could easily be dubbed the Dummy’s Guide to Socialist Politics.
Orwell tries to prove a basic point, but only succeeds in demonstrating his own supreme arrogance when he claims to provide a complex allegory of Communism via a fable about a horse that gets turned into some glue. You could learn more about the Soviet Union from Emmerdale Farm.
If this wasn’t cringe-worthy enough, Orwell plumbed new depths with Nineteen Eighty-Four, wherein he predicted a beautiful future in which novels, yes, even the novels of George Orwell, didn’t exist. Talk about flogging a dead horse.
The depressing thing about Nineteen Eighty-Four is it thinks it’s so much cleverer than Animal Farm; in fact its heavy-handed and overblown symbolism makes Animal Farm look like Proust.
It’s all in the subtle irony of Orwell’s embarrassing literary incompetence, all mouthy concept and no substantial trousers. The Big Brother concept has become a lazy shorthand for pseudo-intellectuals from Paul Merton to Radiohead. It is testament to Orwell’s shallow idealism that he created a world which is so vulnerable to extreme misappropriation.
Orwell’s style is masturbatory at best. Why must we endure reading about two under-sexed faux-revolutionaries who are merely a figment of Orwell’s wet dream?
If there is one thing worse than misguided Socialism, its half-hearted Freudianism. It’s almost as if Orwell was prophesying the concept of a GCSE set text. He should have taken a lesson from the Proles, rather than trying to compensate for his sexual shortcomings by torturing us relentlessly with his limp and ineffectual prose.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is sixth-form socialism at its best. Like many adolescents, George Orwell couldn’t even grow a real moustache so how could he ever hope to write a real novel? Come on; he looks like a poor man’s Michael Palin.