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Perhaps the chief thing that Orwell divined, before the advent of television, is media running through our lives.If you’ll recall from , video screens are in every room at home and at work, and they are on all the time.There are no corporations in Orwell’s world, and very few goods.
The social theorist Michel Foucault held that a central feature of modern society is the soft control of surveillance.
It informs our sensibility, disciplining us without overt force and compelling us to adhere to normative behavior.
A chilling vision, but that misses perhaps the most distinctive sense of our contemporary world: consumer capitalism provided by a phalanx of corporate sponsors.
Conservatives might complain that government extends too far, but if one looks around one’s home, one can immediately see the reach of Apple, Google, Starbucks, Verizon, Amazon, General Foods, Exxon, Citibank and on and on.
It was a time of total government, so in many ways reflects that moment.
Instead, it seems as if we now live in a time of the total market, when major political figures aim to use business as a model for government.
They wake you up, tell you when to exercise and give you news about the state.
Still, there is only one channel, and it is entirely a state apparatus.
has topped various Amazon best-seller lists several times since mid-January, on the heels of the U. For instance, in my neighborhood in Pittsburgh, the owner of an independent store has an Orwell display in his window and reports he’s sold a stack of copies akin to a new Harry Potter.
It’s also been featured at brick-and-mortar stores.