Tag Archives: orwell

To thine own self be true.

In 20th Century Literature, we looked at the Orwell short story called “Shooting and Elephant”. The policeman in the story was under obligation to shoot the elephant to appease the masses even though he himself didn’t want to shoot it.

It was expected of him to kill the elephant that had rampaged the village. The villagers demanded it. The imperialist force which the policeman worked was to be respected by the people. To not shoot the elephant would bring disrespect to the ruling imperialists. “They might laugh”. Is this a reason to compromise your beliefs? To go against what you believe?

The policeman had a war raging within himself. Does he save the imperialist government face, does he enforce his power over the people by taking away the livelihood of one man for the sake of the masses. By giving in to the wishes of the people and doing what his employer demanded, he was going against what he truly believed. This is often the cause of mental anguish.

I want to explore the issue of Christians who are same sex attracted. They are conflicted because to be accepted within the society in which they wish to engage, whether that be by choice or family commitment, they need to deny themselves their feelings, suppressing the natural urge within themselves to be same sex attracted. Even now, after the closure of conversion camps, churches are still telling young men and women that the feelings they have for the same sex are wrong. They are confusing feelings with thinking here.

As Orwell expressed in 1984, They can change the way you think but not what you feel. Big Brother expected you to think the same as everyone else and in line with party thinking. To not do so was considered a deviation, even a crime. It was considered un-natural to want individuality.

“To thine own self be true”. Shakespeare says in Hamlet. Orwell is warning against becoming a puppet to the will of others, putting aside what you know is right.

Within the last government, it was decided by the Liberal party not to give the conscience vote to its MP’s on marriage equality. If a person wanted to keep his job, he had to toe the party line. So there is a cost of conviction.

With the change of leader of the Liberal Party, and thereby of our country what has changed? Nothing really. The policies of the party are still being followed. The conscience vote for same sex marriage is still not available. The only thing to change was the language being used. Mr Turnbull is more skilled in the use of his vocabulary and language, that he is able to fool us, the voters, into believing things will be different under his leadership. Will this be the truth? Or is it just double speak. Double plus good.

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“The Leader has my full support”

Do we mean what we say? The title of this post is a sentence used by many politicians when there is a leadership speculation. It is often proven to be false. In fact, when the statement is made, we can be sure that a leadership spill is imminent. It was unusual then that Julie Bishop as deputy leader of the liberal party, did not use that term when she spoke yesterday. She distanced herself from Tony Abbott, stating that the deputy position is not deputy to the person, but deputy to the position.

Also Malcolm Turnbull had been silent on issues of leadership of late. He chose not to cause division in the party by not saying anything at all. If he indeed said that the leader had his full support, we would know that he was thinking about a leadership challenge.

Political speak these days had been prophesied by George Orwell in his book 1984 as well as in his essay “Politics and the English Language”. Orwell says that the use of language can corrupt thought.What the government does in promoting a certain dialogue in the media, is direct the way that people ought to think.

Stanley Cohen in the 60’s coined the termĀ  “moral panic”. That is the use of media by politicians and other public figures to shape the thoughts of the people. It is often used to promote an agenda of the government such as asylum seekers; creating an us and them mentality.

The corruption of the English language means that the common use of a word is no longer what the dictionary definition is. For example ‘Homophobia’ The word is comprised of two parts, originating from the Greek. Homo meaning the same and phobia meaning an intense fear. Put together, Homophobia means the fear of the same ( sex if we are taking the word Homo being as short for homosexual). The word Homophobia has come to mean not an intense fear of homosexuals, but rather a hatred and comtempt for those who are same sex attracted.

As George Orwell says in his essay, There is a solution. The solution is to get back to the basics.

Pauline Hanson was very right to ask for the definition of the word xenophobia. Before it was used in the 60 minutes interview with Pauline Hanson, this word was hardly ever used in conversational English. The word Xenos is Greek meaning stranger or alien or indeed foreign. Xenophobia has come to mean something totally different… that is racist.

Getting back to basics involves no thought really. It is saying it as it is. Saying what you really mean instead of trying to hide your views or disguise them using ‘politically correct’ language. War is NOT peace, black is NOT white, wrong is NOT right. An invasion of a country these days is termed as troop advancement into occupied territory. Please… its called invasion.

How does one start a move to combat this movement of language abuse? It starts with you. The writer of tomorrow. These days it is so simple to have an opinion, and it is so simple to share it. Get on your blog, get on facebook or twitter, or whatever platform you use to express your views and say what you really mean. Of course in academic writing a certain level of language skills is desired to be shown, but cut out the rhetoric. Use words that can be commonly understood by the level of scholar that you would like to reach. If you arent sure what that is, then go for the lowest common denominator. Use the KISS principle of language; that is Keep it Simple Stupid.

Have a nice day.

Dave

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