2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
SMILING FACES SOMETIMES "The Undisputed Truth",
This review is from: The Betrayal of Dissent: Beyond Orwell, Hitchens and the New American Century (Paperback)
The 2 previous reviewers got it exactly right. Who does this chap Scott Lucas think he is?
To find an American has muscled-in on the "Orwell biography business" is an irony that would not surprise George himself. It appears Scott Lucas makes a comfortable living cherry-picking received information about a man he cannot possibly relate to - as Orwell never had 2 farthings to rub together until the last 3 years of his life.
I may have been out of the country a long time but I still can't imagine why the English have permitted an American to assume the role of "Orwell seer". Did Birmingham University hire him on the mistaken belief "What knows he of England who only England knows"?
Having now lived 45 years in England and 30 in the USA I can categorically state only those born in England can appreciate and understand what the words "George Orwell" now represent.
If Mr. Lucas cannot comprehend George Orwell was the GREATEST PROPHET OF THE 20th CENTURY he should cease writing and talking about him and go back to his Orwell books and try very hard to transport himself back to that period and imagine just how tough Orwell had to be to survive financially - let alone write reams of the most lucid English prose ever committed to paper.
Should he continue to berate Orwell an axiom that's sustained me ever since I met "Big Brother" in the English Civil Service comes to mind. "Talent immediately recognizes genius but mediocrity recognizes nothing higher than itself"
UK Amazon readers may note I live in Las Vegas. I wish to assure them I'm not anti-American - only pro-Orwell.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jun 2010 16:29:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Jun 2010 16:31:18 BDT
"I can categorically state only those born in England can appreciate and understand what the words "George Orwell" now represent."
I think readers in other countries can get what Orwell was about from reading his books. That was, rather, the point of writing them in the first place. Be careful, also, not to mistake your opinion for something equivalent of a universal truth, or a scientific law.
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jul 2010 02:28:06 BDT
I'm glad to hear from you but hoped it was obvious I was simplyfying - to make the point no American or other nationality can fathom the nuances of the English class system. All Orwell's ideas are informed by being born a member of the lower-upper-middle class. How is it the English instantly know Tony Hayward is a snide? Because the voice betrays his origins. It's in our DNA.
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2010 21:47:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jul 2010 21:48:07 BDT
Your celluar make-up is in your DNA. Class and all its nuances is something you soak up from the society around you. True, a foreigner might never catch all of the intended barbs, but that's true of any attempt to transmit a message from writer to reader. 'Good prose', after all, 'is like a window pane' - clear to all.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2010 20:19:22 BDT
You are quite right. I should not throw scientific letters around inaccurately. However I do believe in the "collective unconscious". Walking on Dartmoor and finding holes in the ground representing prehistoric homes I knew exactly what it was like to live in that era. Isn't it possible "prejudices" can be handed down? For instance Orwell points out British xenophobia unfies the entire nation so much everyone forgets about class issues. Could our distrust of foreigners (especially the French) be "inherited" due to constant conflicts with other nationalities during the last 3000 years? Another seemingly irrational quirk a non-British PHD can never fully comprehend.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2010 12:42:30 BDT
"I knew exactly what it was like to live in that era."
I think it's more a case of imaginative empathy, but that's no bad thing to have.
"Isn't it possible "prejudices" can be handed down?"
See my earlier comment about soaking things up from the society around you. Xenophobia unites a lot of countries, of course, given a common foe. The Tsars of Russia used that ploy for centuries. Entire newspapers are devoted to the same trick.
I think blanket distrust of foreigners - not as strong now, I think, as before -comes from being invaded by other nations throughout history. Really, so long as anyone wants to believe 'we're all great, but THEY'RE all scum', you have the basic problem, so expertly diagnosed in 'Notes on Nationalism'. Most people of other nations, I suspect, can understand that.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2010 18:53:42 BDT
Obviously I'm not learned enough to delve too deeply into this subject. But what I deliberately resisted saying was "a distrust of foreigners" does not exist in the USA. Not only because the USA is so large it doesn't fear invasion but because there's a tangible bond when dealing with total strangers because we know we're all foreigners of one sort or another. A pity this unity is now under treat from religious zealots who want Moslems to wear the equivalent of the star of David on their lapels.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›