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.

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