Like many of you, I sat down to watch the February 10th declaration speech given by Barak Obama with some trepidation and not a little cynicism. I had seen him speak before, and my original impression had been simply that he was an impressive speaker. Sitting through his speech on Saturday, however, I had to revise my opinion. He is not an impressive speaker, he is an enrapturing speaker, and beyond that he is speaking about things I care about in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. The man writes his own speeches, and doesn’t even use notes. Occasionally, I had the queer feeling that he had been reading my website…because how else could he have known precisely what I care about and what I want to hear? Feeling a faint electrical tingle which I eventually managed to identify as long-unused hope…I came to with the conclusion that I was surely being taken for a ride. I set out to dig some dirt on Obama.
When contemplating similarities between our current western culture and George Orwell’s 1984, most discussions quickly turn toward debating the slow decline of personal privacy, the standards of government intervention, or a discussion of rat phobias. While all of these make for fascinating (if perhaps repetitive) conversation, it was not here that Orwell demonstrated his greatest precognitive genius. The true genius of Orwell’s most famous work lies in his understanding of the value and course of language.