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Book Wrangler

January 30, 2006

By Bob Patterson


People may be writing 2006 on their checks, but it's 1984 in the United States.


Recently, we saw an item somewhere (great reporting, huh?) on the Internet saying that some city (Berkeley?) was soliciting used copies of George Orwell's book, 1984, so that they could then promote it as the "book to read" for its citizens.  [Editor's Note: see this - the city is Oakland, California – "Bring or mail used copies of 1984 to the Oakland Tribune, 401 13th Street, Oakland CA 94612."]


Why should people read that book when the can experience it each evening when they watch the various network news broadcasts?


"It was probable that there were some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive."  [page 73 of the paperback edition]  Sentiments like that are even more hilarious when the national leader Orwell called his "Big Brother" - let's call him "Strong Daddy" - is talking about how strong the economy is.  The thought in 1948, when 1984 was written, that a country could be in a state of perpetual war and simultaneously be experiencing hard times, was so preposterous that folks immediately knew that the book was a product of a comic genius.


"If you kept the small rules you cold break the big ones."  [page 107]  Heck, that's stupid.  If you are above the law; you are above all laws.


"I know, of course, that the past is falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself."  [page 128]  Where did Orwell get these hilarious concepts?  He was a writer who actually fought in the Spanish Civil War. 


"The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had been changed."  [page 150]  The US invaded Iraq to bring Democracy to the Middle East, but when Strong Daddy doesn't like the results of the election, that's a different matter.


Many folks were required to read 1984 in high school.  It would seem that if a certain university in the Westwood Section of Los Angeles were to assign that book to students the kids could pick up an easy hundred dollars by reporting that bit of suspicious activity to an on campus political group. [Editor's note: Too late - see Activist Drops Reward Offer For Info On 'Radical' UCLA Professors.]


Maybe if you don't live in "Bizerkeley," it might still be amusing to take the time to read this book now.


We missed the opening day ceremonies for the new main branch of the Santa Monica Public Library, so we went over a few days later and took a picture of the structure.


We figure you've seen news about the Million Tiny Pieces book elsewhere, as well as the items about J. T. Leroy, so there's no point in writing about those topics.


What can we offer to our readers that they don't already know?


How about:


An international online magazine for writers


A web site that features book news daily


A blog about writing about writing (with inside gossip and marketing information) …


The Book Wrangler columns usually include a quote near the end so how about this one -


"On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal, and, when they are committed by one's own side and not by the enemy, meritorious."  [George Orwell 1984 page 153]


Now, if the disk jockey will play Judy Collins version of Send In the Clowns, we'll laugh all the way to the bank.  Meanwhile, conduct yourself as if someone were watching everything you do.  Have a nice week.



Text and Photo, Copyright 2006 - Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com



The new main branch of the Santa Monica Public Library opened recently…

Santa Monica Public Library, new, 01-26-06


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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