Daily Archives: January 22, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies: “Animal Farm”

The anniversary of George Orwell’s death passed this week, so posting the 1954 film adaptation of Animal Farm seems the appropriate thing to do.  Our earlier posting of 1984 is here.  (The video is not embedded, but clicking on the image and hitting the YouTube link will take you to the entire one hour and eleven minutes of the movie in a single continuous post.)

Frye in his unsigned 1950 Canadian Forum obituary of Orwell:

George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Blair, died recently of tuberculosis, while still in his forties.  His background was public-school upper-middle-class society — or, at any rate, a career in that class was certainly open to him.  He saw service with the Imperial army in Burma, and was not encouraged by what he saw of imperialism.  In politics he drifted far to the left of Communism, and took part in the Spanish war in an anarchist brigade.  He was thus an anti-Stalinist revolutionary, but there was never anything in him of the “god that failed” bluster of the Communist converts who despise those who have never been taken in by Communism almost as much as they do the Communists.  (CW 29, 86)

Apple and Orwell and “1984”

On this date in 1984 Apple ran their famous Orwell-inspired ad for the Macintosh computer during the Super Bowl.  Yesterday was George Orwell’s birthday, the anniversary for the founding of Apple recently passed, and we’ve already posted this week on journalism, propaganda and advertising, so this is an attention-catching confluence of events.  The Apple commercial was notoriously revived for this independently produced Obama ad during the ’08 Democratic primaries.

The cleverness and high degree of irony in both of these ads does not seem to get us around Frye’s observation that advertising is “a judicious mix of flattery and threats.”  But thank God for the irony, at least, because we’ve also posted this week on the unironic and commercially-funded threats that try to pass for journalism, here and here.