Submitted by Daileon
on November 20, 2020 at 7:58 PM in memer
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I feel like asking whether Orwell or Huxley was "right" is missing the point.
Both works use an exaggerated vision of the future to explore different mechanisms for social control. Neither is meant to represent the way in which a dystopia will manifest; rather, both explore some ways in which one could manifest.
The visuals of the comic seem to argue that the things Huxley was worried about have manifested in the real world while the concerns from 1984 have not, but I can definitely think of reflections of 1984 in the real world that the comic artist conveniently did not depict. The most obvious concerns the moves towards constant surveillance, a topic which is completely ignored in this comic for some reason.
The text is from Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. An 80s book about entertainment & public discourse. It's a good read. The origins of the book was a talk Postman was giving at a panel on 1984, where I think the perspective would be a welcome change from the usual boring Big Brother analysis. It feels in a similar vein to the analysis of situationists & Jerry Mander, albeit more shallow / media-centric. I also read them all around the same time tho so maybe not, could be my interpretation.
I haven't read the book, but based on the Wikipedia page it seems that the author argues that "the contemporary world is better reflected by Huxley," which is subtly different from the comic author's phrasing that "Huxley, not Orwell, was right."
I think it's worth noting that the comic artist clearly deliberately depicts Huxley's concerns by rooting them in modern parallels, while depicting the concerns of 1984 using highly stylized, cinematic images and exaggerations. While the text comes from the book, the comic supplies its own emphasis and interpretation.
Both Orwell and Huxley investigated possibilities, and some of the possibilities feared by both authors have come to pass (though not to the same extent as in the books), while others perhaps have not. I have no objection to someone arguing that their current context more strongly reflects one set of concerns, but I think that "right" vs "wrong" is not the correct framing because it implies that 1984 and Brave New World were primarily meant as predictions, rather than cautionary tales.
Came here to say the same thing - or something similar - about how i feel that the comic strip is, as you say, missing the point in its right vs wrong approach.
It's been quite some time for me since i've read either of the two and i've long since started to mix up the plots in my head, but something that always annoys me when the two are compared is that you rarely see mentions of Zamyatins We, which is basically the same fucking book and was written/published 10 years before Brave New World.
While Orwell at least admitted to having read We, Huxley straight up denied it, even though it's pretty obvious that both authors were heavily 'inspired' by Zamyatins work.
It can be two things.
Is there a better quality image?