12/17: What should be in the canon?
Passage of the day:
1984 is a must-read. The belief that we have complete freedom and privacy in this country is a dangerous fallacy. I apologize if this posting digresses from the original point of this board but it seems a good place to do so. As alluded to in 1984, such a place as Oceania would not be possible without technology or, at the very least, would be much more difficult to establish. While I understand and embrace technology, I feel that most people have very little understanding or respect for it. How many people really contemplate what actually happens when they send an email, talk on a cell phone, purchase online via credit card, etc, etc. The same technologies that grant one more freedom have the same capacity to harm and to enslave if not respected. Like many, I used to think 1984 was simply a great work of fiction with little chance of actually becoming a reality. The frightening truth is that to a large extent, it already has. The terabytes of information compiled on every citizen already exist. All that is required is the motive to abuse it, as surely it has been for those individuals that have "popped up" on their radar screen as meriting surveillance. For those that haven't already familiarized themselves with it, look up the "Homeland Security Act" recently passed by congress. On the surface, it's a great idea for protecting the country from terrorism after 9/11. In reality, it gives the government carte blanche to acquire and use information on ANY citizen at ANY time and for ANY reason without anyone's knowledge or consent. The ends don't justify the means if, in the process of defending our "beacon for freedom", that beacon is threatened. Also look up "TIA" (total information awareness). 1984 might have been prophetic afterall.
There was not an auhtor on this page, this was a post by an insightful reader. (website: http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/) I feel he or she perfectly sums up the way I feel about this book. I argue that it should be in the canon simply because it is a haunting foreshadowing of our society. And I'm not even the paranoid type! No it's not a trite epic and no it doesn't have revolutionary style or form. But it's message is one that has been the source of many debates, with good reason. Although I'm a Romantic with passion for simple beauty in a text, I ambiguously feel that literature undoubtedly serves a purpose, to inform. Orwell takes advantage of this brilliantly.
My soapbox for the day is that there are two items that receive much more attention than they deserve in my opinion: Shakespeare and Catcher in the Rye. I hope JR reads this and responds because maybe he can shed some light on how Catcher in the Rye is so wonderful, I personally got nothing from it and was very disappointed in all the hype and controversy. I could be wrong, but I would need someone to point out why. And 'ol Shakespeare, ya know he's great but he really doesn't knock my socks off. That's all folks.