There’s never been a better time for a refresher course on George Orwell’s “1984.”
That’s bad news, of course.
The text describes a dystopian realm where the past is re-written and personal freedoms don’t exist. The 1984 British film adaptation of the same name starred John Hurt as Winston Smith, a worker drone ensnared in a totalitarian state.
The book and the film are both classic yarns and cautionary tales, and much of what Orwell wrote in that 1949 text is alarmingly close to modern times.
This may be the book’s most haunting passage:
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
Enter director Raoul Peck. The filmmaker is behind “Orwell,” a feature-length documentary that just got scooped up by Neon. The indie studio gave us last year’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Fire of Love.” The project also has the approval of the Orwell estate, another positive sign.
So far, so good. Except the director’s statement on the project should chill us all.
“Today, the “newspeak” of authoritarian rule is alive and well and in unexpected places, from the rise of AI Chatbot to the Russian propaganda machine, from the marketing webs of commercial metaverses to the political banning of books in the Southern United States” said Peck in a statement tied to the Neon deal.
It’s like Peck read “1984” and missed the point for purely partisan purposes.
The “Russian Propaganda machine?” Does Peck still think the Russians stole the 2016 election out from under Hillary Clinton, or that Putin pushed the Hunter Biden “hoax” upon us?
Is he an election denier?
Is Russian disinformation top of mind today given everything else happening around the U.S.?
Has he missed the U.S. government leaning on Big Tech platforms to censor debate across the country? What about the new, not-so-improved “struggle sessions” where celebrities grovel for forgiveness for sharing the “wrong” ideas?
Scarlett Johansson exits her trans role in 'Rub and Tug' and admits her previous statement on the controversy was "insensitive" https://t.co/hbYlNmv210 pic.twitter.com/V5EAdblBcK— Variety (@Variety) July 14, 2018
Mario Lopez Apologizes For ‘Ignorant’ Remarks He Made About Not Letting Kids Choose Their Gender https://t.co/BfaeAPREUz— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 31, 2019
Did Peck miss the army of woke sensitivity readers changing beloved texts, sometimes without the approval of the writers?
It gets worse.
Peck blasts the “political banning of books,” an obvious reference to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to remove hardcore pornography from Florida schools. Does Peck want that obscene material taught in the classroom?
Did he miss the governor shredding the press for distorting the issue?
Tax dollars, paying for porn in kids' schools.— Scott C. Johnston (@SJohnston60) March 9, 2023
DeSantis plays graphic video of ‘pornographic’ books found in Florida schools at press conference https://t.co/IVcrw4SfWq via @nypost
It suggests Peck might twist Orwell’s legacy at a pivotal time in western culture.
The project also has Oscar-winner Alex Gibney attached. The far-Left director’s leanings are clear and we all know which ideological side favors speech suppression today.
It couldn’t be more obvious.
Yet Gibney was one of the few artists who stood up for director Meg Smaker after Sundance, and the far Left, attempted to cancel her for directing “Jihad Rehab.”
Another name attached to the project is Jeff Skoll, the founder of the progressive film studio Participant Media. Will he look beyond his ideological blinders to see the real Orwell? Or will Gibney, Skoll and Peck take a page of “1984’s” authoritarian playbook?
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” — George Orwell