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For goodness sake George Orwell was not the only writer that ever lived.

March 12, 2011

For goodness sake George Orwell was not the only writer that ever lived.

I am of the opinion that when people try to start a discussion forum, whether it is in a pub, in a newspaper or online, they go through certain phases. Just like the old management model of how groups operate we have the Forming, Storming, Normalizing and Performing phases, in discussion groups we have the Forming, Storming… and that is about it. Forget about Normalizing and Performing better as Storming phase is perpetual. “Forming” is of course, when the forum is open and everyone is on their best behaviour trying to win the approval of someone else and set up their small cliques of agreement. After some time when everyone knows each other the niggling differences begin and there are differences of opinions. A little while long and those differences of opinions turn into irreconcilable points of view and finally they become an anathema. In one foul swoop we have a group that has gone from agreeing to disagree to one that is full of enemies trying to hammer their enemies with an intellectual trump card. Actually there is very little intellect involved as the fights often revolve around scanning the internet for a quote by Orwell or worse merely invoking his name to make a case. “You are being Orwellian…” some may say or “You are Big Brother…” and “I know what Orwell would think of this…”

Ah… Orwell…

Was there ever a writer so quoted in so many arguments? Was there ever a writer quoted so often by people who have never read his writings? Even to invoke his almighty name is to claim some kind of moral high ground. Just like a crazed preacher may use the Bible like something to beat people with, Orwell is now the modern equivalent of Bible bashing. It is not Orwell’s fault. He died in 1949. However having written two good books “1984” and “Animal Farm” he has become the stuff of legends, especially for lazy wannabe intellectuals who think their contribution to society should be in the form of being a “Great Sage” (Just like Orwell).

The problem with quoting Orwell is that everyone does it.

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