What’s In A Name?
By Nick Paleologos
August 27, 2014
There was this guy named Rick Blair. He died very young--at age 47. During his lifetime, which ended in 1950, he went off and voluntarily lived in a variety of different ghettos under a bunch of assumed names. He also wrote extensively based on those experiences.
His last book, published in England a year before his death, was a real doozy. In it, he imagined a creepy future just three or four decades hence in which any semblance of civil society has been snuffed out by a single-minded minority using their immense wealth and power to re-label nasty things with nice names.
These horrible human beings work inside a giant pyramid called “The Ministry of Truth.” Carved into the concrete on the outside wall of their headquarters are the following three slogans: War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; and Ignorance is Strength.
In Blair’s imaginary world, information is filtered through people whose belief that the strong should prosper and the weak should perish is relentlessly pedaled under the “Fair and Balanced” banner.
An immigrant is an “alien.”
Brutal torture is “enhanced interrogation.”
Financial instruments involving huge risk are called “securities.”
Bone-crushing debt is actually a generous gift of “credit.”
Cold-blooded murder of millions is “ethnic cleansing.”
A beheaded reporter is a “crime against humanity” while a bunch of kids killed in a UN sanctuary is “collateral damage.”
Soldiers wiped out by their own troops are caught in “friendly fire.”
That last one really fractures me. I mean the only thing missing from such a grotesque bit of re-branding is a smiley face on the body bag.
In the frightening world of Blair’s book, rational decision-making by the public is virtually impossible because the plain, unambiguous meaning of practically everything has been intentionally twisted to serve the selfish interests of a privileged few.
As I think more about it, I may have mixed up some of the actual details in my description of this harrowing work of fiction---except for the Ministry of Truth. But the rest is not far off from what I described. Anyway, you should definitely read it. It is guaranteed to scare the bejeezus out of you even though it was written 65 years ago by a guy from another country!
This book will make you incredibly grateful to be living in the good old US of A in the year 2014—where everybody gets a terrific education so we can call things like we see them, and let the chips fall where they may.
You’ll have to forgive me for drawing a blank on the title but it’s been thirty years since I last read it. You can look it up under the author’s full name: Eric Arthur Blair. If you can’t find it under his real name, try one of his pen names: P.S. Burton; Kenneth Miles; or H. Lewis Allways.
Oh wait. There was one other name he used.