'Media Lens' and Orwell

Martin Spellman mspellman at cix.co.uk
Fri Jan 31 10:44:57 MST 2003

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This is a short extract from the latest 'Media Lens' Media Alert. They are
doing a good job exposing mainstream news and current affairs  journalism in
the build up to war. This latest issue is more philosophical and also
criticises use of Shakespeare for supporting the status quo. You could have
quite an exchange about that one. There are more thought-provoking ideas in
it. They criticise the 'Protestant work ethic' for example. I see their
point but I feel that now the important thing about work under capitalism is
not Protestant motivation but use of work as a form of social control.
Could capitalism survive with a standard 24 hour, (3 day) working week? If
the working part of the week no longer dominated life its oppressiveness,
pointlessness and stupidity would be shown up even more.

Anyhow some of you may find their bulletins of interest and use.

Media Lens website:www.medialens.org

Martin Spellman


But how far do the effects of this system of filtering extend into our ideas
about ourselves and the world?

Consider, for example, that the same filtering influences the literature we
read. Noam Chomsky argues that George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 (both
standard school texts) are as highly-regarded as they are, not because they
provide particularly astute insights into modern systems of tyranny, but
because they constituted suitable satirical attacks against our long-time
enemy the Soviet Union. Chomsky comments:

"Fame, Fortune and Respect await those who reveal the crimes of official
enemies; those who undertake the vastly more important task of raising a
mirror to their own societies can expect quite different treatment. George
Orwell is famous for Animal Farm and 1984, which focus on the official
enemy. Had he addressed the more interesting and significant question of
thought control in relatively free and democratic societies, it would not
have been appreciated, and instead of wide acclaim, he would have faced
silent dismissal or obloquy." (Noam Chomsky - Deterring Democracy, Hill And
Wang, 1992, p.372)

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