Orwell and the earth

When [the critic] Woodcock compared Orwell to Antaeus, who draws his strength from the earth, he might have also meant that he drew his intellectual strength from the specific and the tangible and from firsthand experience. It set him at odds with an era in which ideologies led many astray, not least as doctrines defendingContinue reading “Orwell and the earth”

No such thing as a benevolent dictatorship: Orwell

What does the overthrow of the elected government in Egypt by the military mean? Wouldn't it be interesting to hear what George Orwell had to say about it?  This month the New York Review of Books helpfully publishes an old letter of Orwell's, to leading critic and thinker Dwight MacDonald, on a related subject: Dictatorship. Continue reading “No such thing as a benevolent dictatorship: Orwell”

Ignoring a mortal threat: Appeasing climate change

A couple of weeks ago Tom Toles, in his witty but sharp way, brought up a powerful argument in the climate opinion wars. To ignore climate change, a mortal threat to our way of life, he said is comparable to appeasing Hitler in the late 1930's. Toles wrote:  let me be the first to haulContinue reading “Ignoring a mortal threat: Appeasing climate change”

George Orwell Pooh-Poohs the NBA Finals

Well, not exactly, but if he were here today, Orwell would no doubt mock it as part of "the lunatic modern habit…of seeing everything in terms of competitive prestige." Here, from a memorable essay called "The Sporting Spirit," in a newspaper column from December 14, 1945, Orwell speaks (taken from George Packer's great Facing UnpleasantContinue reading “George Orwell Pooh-Poohs the NBA Finals”