President Donald Trump with his counsellor Kellyanne Conway.

George Orwell: ‘Alternative Facts’ Sends ‘1984’ Sales Through Roof

On Sunday Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway’s use of the phrase associated with George Orwell, “alternative facts,” set off an unexpected trend: CNN reports that 1984 was at No. 6 on the Amazon bestseller list Tuesday morning. Taking issue with her redefinition of a part of the English language, the editors of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary made sure that Conway knew that the word “fact” is precisely defined: “a piece of information presented as having objective reality,” as previously reported by the Inquisitr.

Author of 'Nineteen Eighty-Four,' George Orwell.
British author George Orwell, in 1940. [Image by BBC/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 Public Domain]

The novel, which was first published in 1949, is set in the then-future world of 1984. Nineteen Eighty-Four makes use of a fictional language Orwell dubbed “newspeak” introduced by the government in his vision of the future. Newspeak’s aim was defined as eliminating “doublethink,” which is explained to be thoughts of a personal nature.

Kellyanne Conway used “alternative facts” when defending White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s remarks about attendance at President Trump’s inauguration on Friday.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving — Sean Spicer our press secretary — gave alternative facts to that,” Conway told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday morning, as reported by the Inquisitr.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in Landing Strip, which is understood to be Great Britain in the future, a division of Oceania, a superstate that is continually at war with other superstates. Residents of Landing Strip are monitored 24 hours a day through devices almost frighteningly similar to modern webcams situated in boxes used for viewing information that could be compared to both televisions and modern computers.

A German protester holds a copy of George Orwell's '1984.'
A German translation of ‘1984,’ hiding the face of a protester in Berlin, in August 2015. [Image by Adam Berry/Getty Images]

Those caught speaking ill of Big Brother, the leader of Oceania, who may not even exist, or about ideologies consistent with doublethink are subject to mind control exercises and torture. Winston Smith, the novel’s protagonist, is employed with the Ministry of Truth, responsible for rewriting historical newspaper articles to fit with whatever view politicians of the time are currently espousing.

After rewriting history, any notes or other information in contradiction with the official view of the day are discarded down “memory holes.” Because history is rewritten daily and all evidence of contradictory facts is destroyed, proving the deception is impossible.

Among the most poignant moments in the novel, which, to that point, is largely devoid of words describing human emotions, is when a co-worker, Julia, of Winston Smith bumps into him in a hallway and then slips a forbidden note into his hand. When Smith later finds an opportunity to read the note, which says “I love you,” he is unable to concentrate on his work.

The encounter leads to a romantic relationship between the two, which ultimately leads to Winston Smith’s destruction, through relentless torture and mind control sessions, after being caught meeting with Julia. By the end of the novel, Smith is unable to make sense of real memories in his mind, concluding that he must have been exposed to lies. He looks upon a portrait of Big Brother, who he wasn’t even sure existed earlier in the book, with feelings of love and admiration.

An almost uncountable number of references are made to George Orwell’s magnum opus in modern culture, with an entire school of thought, Orwellian, named after him. Other examples of his influence include the hit reality show Big Brother. The author of the comparable 1932 novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, wrote to George Orwell upon the publication of 1984, in 1949, as reported by Letters of Note.

In the letter, Aldous Huxley suggested that future power holders would be more likely to favor a more gentle touch than described in 1984. Huxley stated that “infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis” and “loving servitude” might be more effective at causing populations to submit to the will of governments than “flogging and kicking them into obedience.”

[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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