Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Two Minutes Hate in the Blogosphere

Fred, who did graphic design for RECon, is doing a comic book of 1984. (The copyright on 1984 has expired in Canada.) He also had great “Big Brother is Watching You” posters, one of which I bought. Fred (pictured, left) was also good enough to introduce my talk, and provide a hanging banner. You can order your own at

That aside, he had with him panels from the comics. To me, the most striking are his renditions of Two Minutes Hate. As you may remember, Two Minutes Hate are a mandatory part of the lives of citizens in 1984. People get together to yell and scream at cartoon straw men.

As Orwell writes:

Goldstein was delivering his usual venomous attack
upon the doctrines of the Party–an attack so exaggerated and perverse that
a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible
enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less
level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing big-brother.jpg Big
Brother, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was demanding
the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he was advocating freedom
of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought,
he was crying hysterically that the revolution had been betrayed–and all
this in rapid polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the
habitual style of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak
words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would normally
use in real life.

Remind you of anything?

3 comments on "Two Minutes Hate in the Blogosphere"

  • Harry says:

    The mainstream political debate scene defaults to a few million people who are driven and, for the most part, privileged above their fellows. The level of hyperbole from the media and people hooked into the media drives others away or is regarded as entertainment.

  • Justin Mason says:

    I reread 1984 last year. Well worth doing; some misinformation tactics haven’t changed in a long time, it looks like.

  • I remember the first literary paper I was excited about righting, all the way back in 10th grade: comparing 1984 with Huxley’s Brave New World. I think the critical aspect missing in modern Orwell cross-checks is that we (Americans? Westerners? Everyone?) won’t be mollified by rhetoric alone. We need our bread, circuses and soma. Would modern newspeak function as well in mobilizing the rallies around the flag and condoning torture and poor policy if CNN were not busy with missing white girls and we weren’t wondering whose ride would be pimped next?
    Cases in point: social security newspeak failed in US. Glasnost brought about crippling shortages in USSR in late 80s, turning grumbling about politics into open dissent. China is facing a growing civil crisis, but it is a function of rural anger at being left behind the growing economic boom, rather than political forces.

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