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Books Sci-Fi Government United States Science

George Orwell's '1984' Tops Amazon's Bestseller List (theguardian.com) 659

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Sales of George Orwell's dystopian drama 1984 have soared after Kellyanne Conway, adviser to the reality-TV-star-turned-president, Donald Trump, used the phrase "alternative facts" in an interview. As of Tuesday, the book was the sixth best-selling book on Amazon. Comparisons were made with the term "newspeak" used in the 1949 novel, which was used to signal a fictional language that aims at eliminating personal thought and also "doublethink." In the book Orwell writes that it "means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." The connection was initially made on CNN's Reliable Sources. "Alternative facts is a George Orwell phrase," said Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty. Conway's use of the term was in reference to White House press secretary Sean Spicer's comments about last week's inauguration attracting "the largest audience ever". Her interview was widely criticized and she was sub-tweeted by Merriam-Webster dictionary with a definition of the word fact. In 1984, a superstate wields extreme control over the people and persecutes any form of independent thought. UPDATE 1/24/17 6:56PM PST: Orwell's dystopian novel is now the #1 Best Seller in Books on Amazon.
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George Orwell's '1984' Tops Amazon's Bestseller List

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  • by TimothyHollins ( 4720957 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @05:15AM (#53733533)

    First we should make sure it's not the Trump administration buying these. They might be mistaken for operating manuals.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Their campaign used concepts from books like Trust Me, I'm Lying to great success; why change now? The agenda appears to be a libertarian one - elites have been put in charge of departments they have a direct interest in destroying. The future is probably closer to this kind of crazy. [theguardian.com] We live in hope they do all fuck off and leave non-sociopathic humans alone.

      • Re:Who's buying? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @06:15AM (#53733687)

        Why Donald's staff are lying [bloomberg.com]:

        By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration. That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command. Promoting such chains of lies is a classic tactic when a leader distrusts his subordinates and expects to continue to distrust them in the future.

        Another reason for promoting lying is what economists sometimes call loyalty filters. If you want to ascertain if someone is truly loyal to you, ask them to do something outrageous or stupid. If they balk, then you know right away they aren’t fully with you. That too is a sign of incipient mistrust within the ruling clique, and it is part of the same worldview that leads Trump to rely so heavily on family members.

        • Nah... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by denzacar ( 181829 )

          It's much simpler than that.

          They are lying cause their boss, who has handpicked them, is a liar and a sociopath.
          A liar and a sociopath who has handpicked people who don't mind being told lies nor do they mind telling lies to reach their goal.
          They are lying cause they are liars and sociopaths. Also... idiots who don't mind being lied to.

    • ...RTFM?

      Boy, has this place changed.

    • First we should make sure it's not the Trump administration buying these. They might be mistaken for operating manuals.

      That's what the Kremlin did pre Gorbachev

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Why is anyone buying when it is out of copyright in parts of Oceania?

      https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au... [adelaide.edu.au]

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      They'd probably consider it leftist, socialist propaganda.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fragnet ( 4224287 )
      Am I fucking missing something there?

      The left have spent the last 10 years changing the meaning of words like "male" and "female" so they no longer relate to biology, trying to enforce speech codes, making use of certain words and phrases criminal and now people are buying 1984?

      This is truly the most retarded thing that's happened in 2017 so far. It's only January.
      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @10:25AM (#53734985) Journal

        The left have spent the last 10 years changing the meaning of words like "male" and "female"

        Here on Slashdot, "male" and "female" refer to types of plugs, not biology.

      • Actually it was a psychologist named John Money in 1950 who decided that "man" and "woman" refer to social categories rather than biological ones, and that "male" and "female" do refer to the biological categories, and that is the standard of language used in discussing gender to this day.

    • First we should make sure it's not the Trump administration buying these. They might be mistaken for operating manuals.

      I'm glad there's at least one other person in this country who is thinking this.

  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @05:27AM (#53733555)

    The right has now usurped what was once the sole domain of the left -- Relativism.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The right has now usurped what was once the sole domain of the left -- Relativism.

      Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity within themselves, but rather only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.

      Since when was living in La la land the sole domain of the left?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @06:40AM (#53733785) Homepage

      Not at all the same thing. When people experience something that actually happened to them that the other person is unaware of or considers inconsequential because stats say it's rare etc. then it's a lived experience.

      Trump's inauguration crowd was not bigger in his "lived experience". It was smaller, the extra millions he claims were there simply don't exist. He did not have that experience.

  • Wrong Book? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @05:30AM (#53733565) Homepage

    Ironic really, since the USA is more like Brave New World than Nineteen Eighty Four [imgur.com]

    • Re:Wrong Book? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rollgunner ( 630808 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @05:47AM (#53733627)
      And Brave New World is now at #33 on the Bestseller list... two titles ahead of Fahrenheit 451. I sense a theme...
    • Re:Wrong Book? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by locofungus ( 179280 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @06:40AM (#53733791)

      Also Animal Farm. I think the people are going to be very disappointed to discover that the elites have been replaced with the elites which, of course, will all be the fault of the elites.

    • For one... "Brave New World" supports birth control. [vox.com]

      • Re:Not even close. (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @07:21AM (#53733905) Journal
        And legalised drugs, sorting people into social classes based on intelligence, procreation entirely through industrial processes, and a purely centrally planned and managed economy. I'm guessing lobiusmoop hasn't actually read Brace New World and just wants to sound literate.
        • Re:Not even close. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @07:48AM (#53733985)

          Legalized drugs: Widespread use of anti-depressants and tranquilizers is a lot like soma.

          Sorting people into classes based on intelligence: Socioeconomic pecking order based on which degree you got, which college you went to, your SAT scores, your GPA, etc.

          Purely centralized economy: Federal reserve monetary policy, Wall Street, investment banking, transnational corporations, Davos, private equity, regulatory capture. I'll cede that this is a weak comparison, but all of those organizations tend to be incestuous in membership and switching between organizations is common.

          Procreation: In-vitro fertilization, genetic screening, scheduled c-sections. We're not yet decanting our offspring, but among the moneyed classes the reproductive process is industrializing.

          Perhaps as a whole the real world isn't a literal comparison to BNW, but I think the metaphorical comparisons are striking.

          • True (and there's no social mobility in the book, which adds another point that's converging with reality). Actually, I'd say that the biggest differences with the book are that the overwhelming majority of people in Brave New World were happy, contented and fulfilled, there was no unemployment or underemployment, and no poverty or wealth inequality.
    • I was thinking it's more like Animal Farm
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Particularly for the part where people actually start calling dictionaries "political", and the definition of objectivity and facts "liberal"... I think we'll soon see a decree from the Orange one renaming the Mississippi "De-Nial".. No wait, that would make sense. :/

    The current discourse is insanity, but it amply proves what happens when you make entertainment of history, no effort is ever made to teach people to think and the common man is treated by nothing but contempt. The great irony is that everyone

  • I really hope... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @05:33AM (#53733577) Homepage Journal

    I really hope SJWs will realize their fight to purge the language of "bad words" is in fact persecution of thoughtcrime.

    If you ban "Uncle Tom's Cabin" from schools "because it uses the 'n' word and that's offensive", you're doing precisely what 1984 warns about.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I really hope SJWs will realize their fight to purge the language of "bad words" is in fact persecution of thoughtcrime.

      If you ban "Uncle Tom's Cabin" from schools "because it uses the 'n' word and that's offensive", you're doing precisely what 1984 warns about.

      Did you just use "SJW" and "realize" in the same sentence?

      As if someone so certain of his own moral superiority, who walks around touting his "tolerance" while calling anyone who dares disagree "racist", who carries a sign saying "Love Trumps Hate" while tossing molotov cocktails, isn't deep down as dumb as a post and incapable of chewing gum and walking at the same time, much less having any actual realization?

      Such idiots do have one use: they're fun to laugh at.

      And I apologize. Calling SJWs "dumb as a po

    • Who are the SJWs? Do they support Trump?
      • No, most of the ones I know are busy on YouTube telling us that the sky is falling because Trump became Prez, so I guess they're not really in favor of him.

  • by iTrawl ( 4142459 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @05:57AM (#53733649)

    I saw a picture of the crowd from Trump's podium. From there the empty patches were not easily evident. From his angle it looked like there were people covering every patch of concrete if you didn't look carefully enough. And since it looks that way from where he way (literally) standing, the media must be lying - simple logic I guess.

  • Nice to see public awareness of this book in the mainstream! Very nice! An informed public is a public inoculated against tyranny.
    • by Mascot ( 120795 )

      Inoculation only works _before infection_, does it not? To make the obvious parallel to the US election: it's too late now. They would've needed to have read it before the election, seen the parallel at that time and changed their vote because of it. Considering the entire world saw that Trump's direction was authoritarianism, and he still got elected, it seems doubtful that would have happened. The ones buying that book now are probably those that did not vote for him to begin with, while those who did are

  • Best buy a paper copy...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07... [nytimes.com]

  • I'm assuming those buying copies of 1984 are under the age of 30, maybe 35, since I can't imagine anyone older than that hasn't already read this at least once, seen the movie, is familiar with the overall theme from the book being discussed at least here in America almost constantly as far back as I can remember (the early 80s). I also expect the majority of these new potential readers also tend to lean left. I hope what they come away with is an understanding of what an Orwellian society would actually lo

  • by SteWhite ( 212909 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @08:44AM (#53734281)

    Amazing that people are willing to buy this from Amazon, even the SlashDot crowd seem to have forgotten this incident:

    https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

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