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Huxley vs Orwell, West vs East

In his fascinating comic Amusing Ourselves to Death, Stuart McMillen captures the seemingly competing predictive fears of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.

McMillen's choice of title, taken from a book by Neil Postman, suggests he too favors Huxley's vision of a future in which people willingly allow their critical ability to rot in the face of comfort and convenience. From an American perspective, that conclusion seems reasonable enough. Our attention is constantly vied for by Twitter and Facebook and Google and HBO—and they all hold out the promise in some way to make our lives better. Heck even Disney and Pixar ironically agree with Huxley.

But America and the American perspective, it increasingly appears, are no longer the center of the universe. Orwell's vision of a future in which our freedom is controlled by Big Brother is still alive and well—and, significantly, the Orwellian Nightmare accommodates the same technologies that seem to prove the prescience of the Huxleyan Warning.

1 comment:

porpentine11 said...

Thanks. Great post. I do have a small complaint. You've added Huxley to the short list of people who I need to reread, something that isn't really helpful to me, as my schedule is already overloaded.