Animal Farm parodied; Orwell estate is not amused

Einde O'Callaghan einde.ocallaghan at
Mon Nov 25 14:03:10 MST 2002

Louis Proyect wrote:
> NY Times, Nov. 25, 2002
> A Pig Returns to the Farm, Thumbing His Snout at Orwell

> One of those condemning Orwell has been
> the writer Alexander Cockburn, whose father, Claud, a British journalist
> and member of the Communist Party, was a bitter foe of Orwell's.
Thatr Claude Cockburn, a dyed-in-the-wool Stalinist, should have loathed
Orwell isn't particularly surprising.

> "How quickly one learns to loathe the affectations of plain
> bluntishness," Mr. Cockburn writes in an introduction to Mr. Reed's
> novella. "The man of conscience turns out to be a whiner, and of course
> a snitch."
Since Reed is an ou-and-out supporter of capitalism (see below), I
suppose you you could call this a "popular front" against Orwell.

> Coming to Orwell's defense in a book published in September, "Why Orwell
> Matters" (Basic Books), Christopher Hitchens calls Orwell "a great
> humanist" whose opinions still hold water. "It has lately proved
> possible to reprint every single letter, book review and essay composed
> by Orwell," he writes, "without exposing him to any embarrassment."
> The debate is set to continue this evening, when Mr. Hitchens is
> scheduled to appear at Cooper Union with Simon Schama, James Miller and
> the New Yorker writer Bill Buford for "Orwell Now," a symposium
> presented by the PEN American Center.
With friends like this Orwell doesn't really need any enemies.

> He decided, he said, that the world had a new form of evil to deal with,
> and it was not communism. It was the evil, he said, within American
> corporate capitalism itself, and American arrogance in protecting its
> interests in the Middle East oil fields. To Mr. Reed, "Animal Farm" was
> the ultimate expression of pro-capitalist ideology. "It has inoculated
> generations of schoolchildren against the evils of communism," Mr. Reed
> said.
This is of course a misuse of Orwell's book, which was written during
world War II from an anti-Stalinist but not an anti-socialist point of

> Despite the brutal ending of "Snowball's Chance," Mr. Reed said, he
> still thinks "capitalism has a better chance of working than communism,"
> but "it would be a true capitalist system rather than a conglomerate
> system."
> "We would have an America of true democracy, with equal protection under
> the law for all," he said.
Now that really does have a snowball's chance ... in hell.

Einde O'Callaghan

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