Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Big Brother Really Was Watching Orwell

The Guardian has a report on its books section discussing a report that George Orwell, author of the dystopian novel 1984, was actually under government surveillance. According to the report, a secret Metropolitan Police file that was released to the National Archives shows that the writer was under surveillance for 12 years or so. The article provides details of the surveillance, including notations about how Orwell would dress like a Bohemian at work as well as off work. And here I was worried I may be wearing blue jeans a little too often at work. I taught 1984 to seniors when I was a high school teacher, so this definitely caught my eye. This was pre-9/11, so students often could not believe governments would do such things. We had some very interesting discussions back then. I can only wonder what it would be like to teach such a novel in the current climate where the government is more active in the surveillance business. I guess Orwell was more prescient than we gave him credit for.

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