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Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 234
Happy Birthday Nineteen Eighty-Four!

65 words / 52:55

To listen in a player, click here. To download the mp3, right-click here and choose “save link as” or “save target as.”

June 8th is the 70th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Greg Johnson interviews Margot Metroland on some of Orwell’s sources and influences, the loosely “Trotskyite” political context in which he wrote, and the possibility that he was bumped off by Stalinists.

For further reading about Orwell and Nineteen Eighty-Four, see:

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5 Comments

  1. graeme minchin
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    Re Orwell’s death. If it was the Soviets I do not see why it was easier to kill him in the UK than in Switzerland. It has been previously commented that it does not appear that Gow had the necessary authority to keep Orwell isolated, after whatever had been done to precipitate a crisis. But it goes deeper than that. None of the ‘Cambridge’ assets would be risked in an assassination. To think this reveals a lack of knowledge of how intelligence organisations compartmentalise operations. It is inconceivable that the Soviets would have put the handler of the most successful (known) Soviet penetration of Mi5 at risk in this way. I am unclear as to whether the absence of routine checks is fact or inference. Ordinarily a death such as this would have involved a review of the nurses’ scheduled checks, which are all signed of, as time of death is core data. Either the thesis is wrong, and there was no lack of routine checks, or this information was suppressed. For the latter to have happened you would have to say that the Met and MI5 were Soviet fronts or complicit.

  2. BenjaminTheThelemite
    Posted June 9, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    “1984” was good, but Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” was a far superior work and more relevant to the Current Year iteration of Globo-Homo. I just re-read it earlier this year. Highly recommended BTW, especially the “Revisited” edition.

    Although I appreciate the efforts of right-wingers to make use of Orwell as ///our guy///, which to a large extent he would’ve been, if he were alive today, IMO its ultimately only slightly more effective as the D3R or “Democrats aRe the Real Racists” rhetoric i.e., its not going to go anywhere.

  3. Carson Napier
    Posted June 9, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Wow, that was interesting! I couldn’t take it all in, but Margo seems even more erudite in person than in writing! What was the Cyril Connelly book that dealt with pederasty?

    All I seem to get out of Orwell is pandering. The entire “Goldstein would have saved the revolution” business, the essay on Marrakesh, the essay on Britain and world war 2, are all pandering, pandering. What would his reputation be without that? I can’t get a third of the way into 1984. It’s that on every page, together with the “IT.”

    • margot metroland
      Posted June 9, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      The Connolly novel is The Rock Pool, and I could never get through it. I don’t remember pederasty, but there’s some lesbian relationship in the background. I assume Orwell was sneering generically at the type of decadent drifters Connolly and his wife had been hanging out with on the Côte d’Azur.

      Not to give out too many spoilers, but in the Orwell novel Goldstein turns out to be an invention by the Party, as is the legendary Brotherhood underground. Evidently the Party modeled Goldstein on Trotsky as their favorite figure of hate, much as Stalinists were calling Orwell and Dwight Macdonald and all the other anti-communist literary leftists as ‘Trotskyites’ or ‘Trotskyists.’

      To your other point: Orwell was often accused of casual or implicit ‘anti-semitism,’ the way people today see ‘micro-aggressions’ everywhere. He was certainly sensitive to this, just as he overcompensated in claiming that Nineteen Eighty-Four was not a picture of communism.

      In the last part of the novel, Orwell evidently made some plot changes to keep the story from sprawling all over the place. This had the effect of making the torture episodes lurid and farcical, and the ending has never seemed satisfactory to me. Like a misprinted crossword puzzle, Nineteen Eighty-Four does not have a coherent solution. The original 1956 movie version even came with alternative endings, one with Edmond O’Brien as Winston Smith ‘loving Big Brother’ as in the book, the other with Winston and Julia ripping down the poster and shouting ‘Down with Big Brother!’ before being gunned down.

      • Carson Napier
        Posted June 10, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

        Thank you, I relistened to the first part and got the title. Also ordered a book of c essays. Is rock pool where the “torture” scene comes from? I think Orwell is using pederasty as a general term for homosexuality, as it used to be.

        Oh, so you believe Orwell is overcompensating against accusations of anti Semitism. That could be true. But you also say he has worshiping attitude to the Trotsky figure in Animal Farm. I recall, I believe from homage to Catalonia, Orwell claiming that the Republican cause was sabotaged by the intervention of the Stalinists in the Spanish Civil War as well.

        Great podcast. Hope you will talk more in the future!

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