Thursday, August 18, 2011

Still Struggling to Learn Newspeak

I learned today that Nigeria is another state that I must begin to dread. The New York Times headlines “Islamist Threat in Nigeria Grows With Qaeda Help” (no less). I also learn that “Bashing E.P.A. Is New Theme in G.O.P. Race.” Ah. A former Shining Knight turns Darth Vader? That one starts getting personal—in that I labored some years at that agency. To be sure, that then (and still) tiny lop-off from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (those days) wasn’t exactly the darling of the Nixon administration either.

Reminds me of lessons I learned quite early in life in books titled Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), the first George Orwell’s generic and the other his specific description of his times. I’d read these books in the 1950s, a time when individual authors could still be heard. The noise was still quite low. In 1984 I learned that that there must always be an enemy, that the enemy can change overnight, and we must immediately shift attention, when Big Brother nods, and hate the one we loved the day before. Having made peace with Communism, the shift came to hate Islamism—which new hate is still unfolding nicely. But hating the EPA, the new internal enemy, why that one will be a bit of a wrench for me, a lesson in learning self-loathing. The effort is daunting. I think I’ll start after the brief vacation on which we start today ends again next week.

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