Here’s a little free advice for y’all: Don’t EVER watch “1984” all in one sitting. It will depress the shit out of you.
In fact, even in two sittings, it’s damn near unbearable.
That’s what I’ve been up to in my spare time, these past couple of days. Getting the shit depressed out of me. By a goddamned movie.
I’m still getting used to the fact that I now have a laptop–a PowerBook G4, no less!–that plays DVDs. I have a very modest collection of ’em, which I’ve been parsimoniously parcelling out to myself. Most, I’ve noticed, are of a decidedly progressive nature: Return to Kandahar (still to be viewed many moons after buying it from Buzzflash), Fahrenheit 9/11, The Day After (a mid-1980s gem of nuclear-war social consciousness that even woke up Ronnie Reagan!), and a few others whose titles escape me at this late, gin-‘n’-tonic-saturated hour. Out of what I do have, only two of them are strictly for fun: a copy of Rush in Rio (courtesy of my guy), and a goofy old blaxploitation movie called Cleopatra Jones, which was given to me by my sister for my birthday. I don’t own a lot of DVDs, let alone many “fun” DVDs among them. Is that depressing or what?
Well, there’s one thing that’s even more depressing, and that’s “1984”. Which is why I’m drinking gin and tonic. Not because I like it; both ingredients, as far as I’m concerned, are medicine, not recreational drugs. Separately, they’re unspeakably vile; together, they’re cloyingly sweet with an ugly bitter aftertaste. Like Buckley’s cough syrup, it’s the sort of up-yer-nose awful taste that gets you pulling faces, no matter how hard you try to keep a straight one. I keep them on hand not for myself, but for anyone visiting who might want some. (Some people actually like gin. I’ll never know why.)
Back to the movie. Victory Gin is, of course, a prominent prop in the movie, as in the book. Winston Smith is always drinking it. So, for that matter, seems to be just about everyone. And no wonder: They need something to convince them that Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, and Freedom is Slavery. Or that 2 + 2 = 5, or that they love Big Brother. Or at least, to distract them from the fact so they can go about their daily business: in Winston’s case, altering history at the Ministry of Truth. So I figured I’d give it a shot. After all, I need some distracting of my own…
Well. Suffice to say that gin, like Newspeak, is very much an acquired taste–and one that I haven’t yet acquired. One that I (still) frankly don’t hope to acquire. Bittersweet is not my style, at least not in terms of beverages.
I suppose I should thank my lucky stars for small mercies–that I can still turn off the telescreen and stop the infernal propaganda that pounds in nonstop, like a daily tide. Winston Smith couldn’t do that. (O’Brien could, but O’Brien was a duplicitous, torturing bastard who worked for Big Brother.)
I bring this up for a reason, O my brothers and sisters. Do I need to spell it out for you?
Newspeak is Nospeak. Little Sister watches back.