Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Media Effects: Orwell vs Huxley

Have you guys seen this?

It's pretty great...


Basically, addresses the paradox of plenty and 'scarcity of attention (Nye, 2008) that we discuss often in class.

The authors look at Orwell's proposition that information (truth) would be concealed from us through force, and Huxley's fear that we would be passified not be force, but by the paradox of plenty-- lulled into a trivial existence by the soma of entertainment and a sea of 'information'

They posit that "Huxley" was right, and I think I agree...


  1. This is VEEEEEERY interesting. and unfortunately... SO TRUE!

    However, I would also argue that Orwell's general point was not exactly (or ONLY) what the cartoon strip makes of it. Take a look at http://www.math.uic.edu/~takata/Orwell_and_Smith/Orwell_original_preface.pdf if interested. This is his initially unpublished Intro to Animal Farm. Can give some insight :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Two excellent books so relevant to what we have been learning! (That sounds really paranoid. Anyway.) While elements of both narratives are definitely alive and well in present day politics and culture, I think that Huxley's version of the future is coming to fruition in a way that is more faithful to the source. Authoritarianism takes a lot of effort and makes people feel repressed; it has to be easier to put a lot of effort into making people believe that they are on the path to an incrementally better and better life. Less risk of questions and unmanageable instability. (There will always be a little instability, a little revolutionary spirit, between periods of momentary equilibrium. That is implicit in the narratives of both books.) Individuals like those in the Frankfurter School would argue that there is something to be valued in a culture of quality as opposed to cheap thrills, but then that could be just be labled as passe in the current age of cultural relativism.