28 Ottobre Ott 2013 0630 28 ottobre 2013

My trip to Havana, the Jurassic Park of Communism

From utopia to dystopia

Cuba Libre

I wrote the street report in the fall of 2011.
I had spent two weeks in Cuba the previous summer
and had had an experience that was troubling
enough to provoke me to investigate my emotional
reaction to Havana street life, at night in particular.
The stimulus for writing this sort of holiday report
was uncannily suggested by Linkiesta,
which encourages readers to write
blogs/reports about places visited during
the holidays.
The association with Orwell happened the day
before flying to Cuba. I saw the opening sequence
of Blade Runner, which prompted the wish to see
the film again. When I got back from Cuba, I started
investigating the fascinating odyssey of the making of
Blade Runner and its uneven reception in the 30 years
since its first release.
As a result, I could not resist the impulse to describe
the dizzying parallel between two dystopias:
the fictional (Blade Runner and Brazil) and
the real (La Havana’s social and physical scene)

Facts are just like pearls: they need a thread to stay together. 
If it lacks a unifying idea, the most interesting work 
by the most distinguished scholar
 remains unsatisfactory.

Werner Sombart, Economic Theory and Economic History, 1929

1 HYPOTHESIS
La Habana. The name has been a source of exotic fascination for quite some time. The fascination is said to have been ignited by a specific vehicle: an iconic picture by Alberto Korda portraying the Guerrillero Heroico, or Argentine physician Ernesto Guevara Lynch, better known—to those who failed to meet him—as el Che or—to the members of his inner circle—as el puerco (the pig) because of his scarce interest in personal hygiene. The portrait has a dreamlike quality: beret, gaze lost in the infinity of space, beard and hair both unkempt. Picture perfect, it became holy for a specific crowd—the so-called gauche caviar (caviar left)—that found it irresistible when mixed with the taste of Cuban cigars, rhum, and rumba (In countries, like Italy, where Catholicism and idealism shape culture, enforcing anti-modernism, anti-industrialism, and the combination of all of the above has made the fascination for el che an ever-lasting affair. One that cannot be discussed objectively. Still. One is either pro-Cuba and therefore ‘progressive’ or anti-Cuba, and therefore ‘reactionary.’).   Thanks to the portrait, el Che came to incarnate (for them) a collective aspiration and a ’dream.’ Guevara became a symbol for someone equipped with enough superhuman power to deliver what he promised: the shaping of a new type of man and a new type of (fair) social arrangement (It is interesting to note that a somewhat 'mirrored' analysis can be made about Guevara's sworn enemy—JFK—who died early enough in life for he too to become an icon of the somewhat counter argument). In 2011 Habana, however, the failure of this severely flawed social model is clear, and the state of general misery in which the city finds itself cannot but prompt intellectual speculation. Habana as the prototype of XXI century urbanity? Habana as a realized dystopia? 


LEGGI ANCHE: Ecco perché un uomo di sinistra deve odiare Cuba

2 PARADOX
The conglomeration that goes by the name of Habana was supposed to become the end destination of the progressive crowd looking for nirvana on earth, a place where life’s contradictions would finally be resolved in a fair, enlightened way. Yet today’s Habana appears as a late day implementation of a different type of urbanity, one uncannily anticipated with distressing precision by two cult movies some thirty years ago: Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985). These two futuristic urban film-noir were indirectly inspired by the dystopian novel written in 1948 by George Orwell and were fittingly released just before and after 1984, which is to say when the dystopia was supposed to be in place.1 Is it possible, or even plausible today to link these movies to the past and present state of Habana? And if so, what are we to learn from this?

The ’theory’ is only possible if we agree to examine, dispassionately, human affairs as they have unfolded, wondering what direction they suggest for the evolution of culture. It is only possible if we put a stop to our automatic overvaluing of the present and of what is. If this is our mood of analysis, then it would be difficult to neglect a simple fact: once purified of some obvious visual effects—like flying cars or ’spinners’—both movies appear today to have succeeded in visualizing not the world Orwell described but something that is very difficult to visualize in advance. They have both visualized a good portion of the world as we know it today, even if it is the portion that is never much talked about. Have they depicted the true shadow of the (utopist) image of the future we like to think is waiting for us? Could it be that they have also indicated (projected) the direction toward which, we—some of us—(retroactively) realize global society is headed? A collection of mutilated and dysfunctional urban organs without the remotest idea of a body? 

What cannot be overlooked is that the current outlook of the conglomeration that goes by the name of Habana may in fact be the end destination of this ’journey.’ This makes Habana a unique intellectual territory of the new millennium. Habana embodies a newly found Caribbean paradox: the present state of oppression and control of Habana was uncannily obtained by policies that were sold (to its population) as forward-looking and progressive. Is Habana a privileged place of research? Has Habana—a place where democracy remains an unknown concept, while we still consider democracy to be a necessary tool for generating ’civitas’—had an unacknowledged role in shaping the direction of urbanity? 

In an era in which classical archetypes have been washed away by the global wave and by the unfathomable decline of the West’s influence in formulating what urbanity is or should be, this possibility is both thrilling and exhilarating. Habana may in fact turn out to play an involuntary role in defining urbanity, reducing its ambition and mocking its principles. Perhaps we are less different from Habana than we had thought? Assumed? Is Habana the ’place’ where we will all be living shortly? A real—not fictional—dystopia?


LEGGI ANCHE: Hedonist urbanism, a Beirut street report

3 UTOPIA/ DYSTOPIA
An increasing percentage of human beings have a tendency to shovel hard facts under the rug, which is why we have a hard time imagining that something contemporary—made by us—contributes to the act of shaping (willingly and even unwillingly) a dystopia, or an anti-utopia. If we manage to get past the initial shock, it becomes important to try to understand the true meaning of words we often take for granted. To be understood, dystopia has to be described. Wikipedia’s definition of it is perhaps useful. ’A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in George Orwell’s 1984.

Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems, various forms of active and passive coercion. Ideas and works about dystopian societies often explore the concept of humans abusing technology and humans individually and collectively coping, or not being able to properly cope with technology that has progressed far more rapidly than humanity’s spiritual evolution. Dystopian societies are often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens.’ The first thing to underline is the basic opposition between utopias and dystopias. Whereas the political assumptions at the root of utopias (perfect worlds?) are idealistic in principle, intending positive consequences for their inhabitants, the political principles on which dystopias are based are flawed and result in negative consequences for the inhabitants of the oppressive dystopian world. A utopian society is founded on the good life, whereas a dystopian society’s dreams of improvement are overshadowed by stimulating fears of the ’ugly consequences of present-day behavior.’ Utopian societies are often ‘too good to be practicable.’ Dystopian ones are supposed to be ‘too bad to be practicable.’ Yet, the scenario in which urbanity now finds itself seems to negate this thesis. While utopias remain a practical impossibility (in the real world), dystopias have a tendency to implement themselves in a fairly straightforward, effortless way, so effortless they often remain unnoticed. All the same, the life of the global world (for those who call things by their proper name and are not afraid of facing hard facts) is rapidly reaching a stage closer to a dystopian than a utopian sphere.

4 PAROXYSM
In dystopias, people are alienated and individualism is restricted. Many traditional concepts, like that of the family, have been eradicated and efforts are continuously deployed to keep them from reestablishing themselves as social institutions. People may be ’artificially’ reproduced and the concepts of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ are considered obscene. In Orwell’s 1984, the State is hostile to motherhood and children are organized (or designed) to spy on their parents. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report anyone with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some even denounce their own parents. This surveillance allows for effective control of the citizenry. The smallest sign of rebellion, even something as small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment.
Thus, citizens (and particularly party members) are compelled to absolute obedience at all times. Dystopias are mostly urban and frequently isolate individuals from the natural world. Nature is to be kept at bay, or avoided all together. Lower classes of society can be conditioned to be afraid of nature. The governing class of dystopias is hedonistic and shallow.
Advanced technology is mostly controlled by the group in power, while the oppressed population is somewhat enslaved to technology. A dystopia is supposed to be a cautionary tale. It is a paroxysm of what is there. Its message is loud and clear: look at where we are headed! This was certainly the intention of George Orwell’s 1984.

5 ORWELL
George Orwell is an English author and journalist whose work is marked by a profound awareness of social injustice and intense opposition to totalitarianism, and by wit, keen intelligence, and a passion for clarity in language. Orwell is best known for the dystopian novel 1984 (1949) and the satirical novella Animal Farm (1945). Taken together, these two books have sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. This simple fact would make him an ’instant’ celebrity today and perhaps even the most popular hero of the global scene, at the Steve Jobs level. His Facebook profile would probably be made inoperable by the sheer amount of ’I LIKE’ clicks. The influence of Orwell’s work on contemporary culture is now stronger than ever, in spite of the fact that Orwell himself is not a popular topic. Several of his neologisms—such as Big Brother, doublethink, thought-crime, Newspeak, and memory hole, along with the term ‘Orwellian,’ now a byword for any totalitarian or manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society or privacy lost to the State—have become contemporary vernacular since the book’s publication.
 
 6 NEWSPEAK/DOUBLETHINK
Orwell’s 1984 takes place in Oceania, one of three intercontinental super-states dividing the world among themselves after a global war. Posters of the Party leader, Big Brother, bearing the caption BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU pepper the landscape, while the ubiquitous telescreen monitors the private and public lives of the populace. (It is interesting to recall that, in January 1984, Apple Computer introduced its new Macintosh via a TV commercial shot by Ridley Scott and aired during the third quarter of the Superbowl. Apple wanted to present itself as opposing the then ruling (quasi-monopolistic) IBM regime. A female athlete abruptly enters a gray room filled with drones watching a maxi screen featuring the BB-Big Brother speaking. She throws a hammer in the screen to smash it just as the BB is announcing that ‘his party will prevail.’ After BB vaporizes in a flash of light and smoke, a very calm announcement is made: ‘On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh and you will see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.’ Thirty years later the validity of this statement remains to be assessed. In the current open source model that is standard in today’s information technology, Apple’s platforms are often perceived to be too impenetrable. Most of Apple’s portable computers and ipads are now assembled in south China inside a horrible working environment called Foxconn. Does this make Apple the closest thing to the BB in the global world?). Oceania’s social class system is threefold: the upper-class Inner Party, the middle-class Outer Party, and the lower-class Proles, who make up eighty-five percent of the population and represent the working class.

As a language, Newspeak applies different meanings to things and actions by referring only to what is to be achieved, not the means of achieving it. The ministries’ names are antonymous doublethink to their true functions: ‘The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation.’ The Ministries do achieve their goals; peace through war, and love of Big Brother through mind control. Like so many Newspeak words, the book’s keyword (Newspeak) has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction to plain fact. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it also means the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by a system of thought that embraces everything else and is known in Newspeak as doublethink.

7 BLADE RUNNER
’Blade Runners’ are a police special operative squad that, in 2019 Los Angeles, hunts down and retires—kills—genetically engineered organic robots called replicants manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation. Replicants are indistinguishable from other adult humans and are used exclusively for dangerous, menial, or leisure work on Earth’s ‘off-world colonies.’ Their use on Earth is banned. Five of them however—all Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 models built with a four-year life span as a fail-safe to prevent them from developing emotions—defy the ban and return to Earth to have their life span increased. Corporate power looms large. The police seem omnipresent. Paranoia is everywhere; it sets the tone. Vehicle and warning lights probe into buildings. The consequences of huge biomedical power over the individual are explored—especially for replicants’ implanted memories. Control over the environment is depicted on a vast scale, hand in hand with the absence of any natural life, with artificial animals replacing their extinct predecessors. This oppressive backdrop explains the frequently referenced migration of humans to extra-terrestrial—‘off-world’—colonies. Eyes are a recurring motif, as are manipulated images, calling into question reality and our ability to accurately perceive and remember it. These thematic elements provide an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner’s central theme of examining humanity. Replicants are discovered through an empathy test, in which a number of questions focus on the treatment of animals, which seems to be an essential indicator of someone’s ‘humanity.’ The replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another and are juxtaposed against human characters lacking empathy. The mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal. The film forces the viewer to reevaluate what it means to be human.

8 BRAZIL
Brazil portrays a dystopian world affected by an over-reliance on poorly maintained (and rather whimsical) machines somewhat controlled by a bureaucratic, totalitarian government reminiscent of the government depicted in Orwell’s 1984, without ‘Big Brother’ and with a buffoonish, slapstick quality/humor. The film is named after the recurrent theme song—Aquarela do Brasil—which acts as a potent counter element of (momentary) surreal distraction from a world dominated by oppression, bureaucracy (The reference to the ‘27b stroke 6’ form, without which official repairmen cannot do anything, is presumably a tribute to George Orwell, who lived in a sixth floor apartment numbered 27b while writing 1984), and mental insanity in which the working class has to live its life while giving way to ducts that constantly hinder their daily mind-numbing activities. Mismanaged and misdirected technology has become an oppressive obstacle, rather than a help, for human beings. Public places like restaurants are dominated by giant centerpieces where the "flowers" are actually flex-ducts. The same is true of the Department of Records, where the ducts are a visible part of the environment but above everyone’s heads. Yet, in the dreaded Ministry of Information, ducts are nowhere to be seen. The movie delves into the implications of technology on the environment and on a society where aging women of means fighting the body’s decay seem to have all the right cards to play, and control who can rise the social ladder and who cannot. Thanks to state-of-the-art biomedical discoveries, they are transformed into teenagers for a short stretch of time before being forced to succumb to health problems of various genres, heart conditions and the like. Life is dominated by one, large, omnipresent and oppressive artificial corporation/state with evident implications: a tension between technology and the environment and its consequences on society, which looks at itself in the mirror of a retrofitted future that appears high-tech and gleaming in places but old and decayed elsewhere. Parallelism with the present-day mind frame and values praised by society in many of the so-called developed countries are left to the farsightedness skills of the reader.

9 CUBAN URBANISM
The great originality of the conglomeration that goes by the name of Habana is that the urban arrangement literally reflects the arrangement of its society in a straightforward, direct way. The unacknowledged triumph of a new sociological model? Or the unacknowledged triumph of a new model of urbanism: Cuban dystopian urbanism? The discipline appears to have found a new untheorized field in Habana.

Habana is its litmus test. Judging by the sheer size of their mansions and the natural environment in which they are set, the elite appears to have found its natural setting in a vast neighborhood called Miramar, which, as the name suggests, allows it—the elite—to face the sea and breathe its air from the generous verandas and terraces with which exclusive clubs, marinas, and restaurants are equipped. The elite is made up of the military-based ruling class (the Inner Party?), which revolves around el lider maximo—the bearded Fidel—and the diplomats (the Outer Party?), whose mansions surround the reclusive (and immense) park of the country’s leader. Their mansions actually appear to be larger than their place of work—the Embassies—which are generally located in Varadero, a somewhat orderly orthogonal grid of tree-lined streets occasionally spotted by structures of exposed concrete that seem larger than necessary, or even larger than life itself.

Built for the most part in the 1960s, these structures house the government bodies that are supposed to give a concrete hint of a luminous future that no one, by now, still awaits. A new hypocrisy has set in, replacing the old one. Planned to show the good management skills and caring qualities of the revolucionarios absent from the get-go, these structures sitting in over-scaled green areas have a newfound function: to intimidate the viewer by their sheer size. The areas in which they are set witness no moving bodies other than those of various military squads protecting them.

Perhaps the area in which this strategy is best seen at work is the Plaza de la Revolution, which is home to the important (or once important) ministries where a number of fully armed troops appear to be protecting a seemingly infallible plethora of administrators who are nowhere to be seen. They can only be imagined. This mixed sense of order and paranoia dominates the entire urban scene, which, in turn, appears to be not only unshakeable, but even falls outside the often mysterious mechanism of time. Habana appears to be negating the traditional interest that the West, as opposed to the East, has shown for measuring time and the influences it has on the organization of society. Like Chuen Lai, they seem to be thinking that it is ‘too soon’ to evaluate the impact of the Cuban, or even the French, revolution. A sense of timeless immobility has set in, making the public discussion of any social program a remote, if not strange, concept. A revolution kicked off by a ‘program’ designed by a (self-proclaimed) think-tank has become a revolution without ‘thinkers.’

An overscaled mural in Plaza de la Revolucion portrays el che, whose lips seem to never (ever) tire of repeating an invisible, yet permanent, mental groove: Hasta la Victoria Siempre? The only thing left for the ruled class (the Proles?) to do is to feel free to take advantage of the increasing number of visitors craving cheap cigars, rhum, and sex, though not necessarily in this order. Is this the masked concept of liberty described by the Habana Libre rhetoric? Certainly the ups and downs of the Habana Libre Hotel—named Habana Hilton before the 1959 barbudas (men with a beard) took over—are significant. A classic modernistic piece that, six months after its completion, switched from being a symbol of capitalism into being a symbol of communist progress because Castro made it his (luxury) residence while seizing power.

10 SOCIOLOGY
In 1984’s Oceania, the Proles live in poverty. Hunger, disease, and filth are the norm, and ruined cities and towns are the consequence of (apparent) civil war. Social decay and wrecked buildings are everywhere. Aside from the ministerial buildings (the 300-meter-high pyramids), a minor portion of urbanity is in good shape. The living standard of the populace is low; almost everything, especially consumer goods, is scarce and available goods are of low quality; half of the populace goes barefoot—despite the Inner Party reporting increased boot production. The Party claims that this poverty is a necessary sacrifice for the ’war’ effort; ‘the book’ reports that this is partially correct, because the purpose of perpetual war is consuming surplus industrial production. Oceania features black markets with goods that are dangerous and difficult to obtain, and the characters are at the mercy of the state-controlled economy. The Inner Party upper class, though, enjoys the highest standard of living. Members of the Inner Party reside in clean and comfortable apartments, with pantries well-stocked with quality foodstuffs (wine, coffee, sugar, etc.) denied to the general populace, the Outer Party, and the Proles, who consume synthetic foodstuffs; liquor, Victory Gin, and cigarettes are of low quality.

The (poor) residents of the Habana Central Area lead a life similar to the one described in Oceania. The urban fabric where the Cuban Proles ‘dwell’ has been left to rot and has, in fact, rotted long enough to give one the impression that a devastating civil war has just ended, when no war has actually taken place. In the Habana Central Area privacy has no place. No effort is made to distinguish what is public from what is private. Everyone lives in apartments with open unframed windows. Walking its stinky and sweaty streets at night, one has the impression that the entire population faces two possible choices: selling one’s body to the numerous sex hungry visitors or watching TV in one’s underwear in an overcrowded room. One has the impression that, much like in Orwell’s 1984, the TV screens are two-way: the population appears to watch and is being watched or listened to at the same time.

11 JURASSIC COMMUNISM
Unlike the dinosaur, Cuba’s Jurassic version of communism is not on its way to extinction. It is a model that has switched from utopia into dystopia without apparent embarrassment. Perhaps it accommodates only just that: the primordial and the futuristic quality of dystopia. From the very start, the rhetoric of the Cuban ‘revolution’ worked around an odd dichotomy: sugar cane versus technology. ’Let us repudiate industry and go back to agriculture,’ was a very popular slogan produced by the ruling elite. The fact that Cuba now imports sugar for its own needs makes the slogan ironic. Truth be told, the sugar monoculture turned out to be an interesting case of self-imposed self-colonization, or self-flagellation. Cuba is one of the world’s most fertile islands, plagued by extreme poverty and a food shortage that is the result of its own Soviet-style state apparatus.

Cuba is today a country worn out by fifty years of distorted and demented management, which has managed to survive thanks to an unforeseeable benefit served (on a silver platter) by the US administration via a retrospectively politically stupid embargo. The embargo provided the aparato—the local nomenklatura or fascist military regime that, thanks to a telling turn of rhetoric, found it convenient to call itself communist—with the politically correct excuse for grounding its stake by promising a radiant future as a result of a cultural revolution or opposition to a door that had been closed against their wishes. Short of that, el tio chocho (the moron uncle)—the popular nickname with which Castro is today identified by the Cubans—would have retired a long time ago, perhaps as early as the 1970s. Instead, the Island is now in the (corrupt and incompetent) hands of Raul and the blossoming business committee milking the cash cow of the tourists’ money, and continuously reaffirming the very agrarian mind frame that Castro and Guevara shared from the beginning. A mind frame masked by cheap morality and hypocrisy learned at the Jesuitical School of Jesus imposed on the most sexually promiscuous island of the world. Cuba is now the odd mix between a XVII-century Jesuitical colony and the opposite of the society it was supposed to be. A (fictional) utopia turned into a (real) dystopia?

12 ARCHITECTURE/NATURE
The one achievement that no one can deny is that the Cuban model of dystopian urbanism has effectively put a stop to what moves and to what stands still, namely to all building activities and to the importation of new vehicles. The latest effort in architecture, like the most up-to-date sample of vehicles, dates back to the 1960s, a fifty-year-long pause no one seems to have trouble with. Or regret. Has this pause amplified the role of nature within the city’s perimeter? Oddly, the Cuban model has specific rules for nature. It is used to design grandiose boulevards and urban axes leading to public places like stadiums, airports, government building, and immense parks. Yet, the population nurtures no interest at all in these destinations, arguably because of their imposing appearance and inertia of their sheer mass. Habits and traditions appear to form a formidable built-in resistance to nature. Green space becomes one with the raw material shaping the garbage-filled landscape, or the dirt incrustation of what is left of it among places abandoned by human beings. 

13 DYSTOPIAN URBANISM
The particularities of Cuban dystopian urbanism in and around the Habana Central Area are perhaps suggesting that human beings are designed to litter the planet. Ridley Scott and Terry Gilliam gave us an astonishingly foresighted description of this urbanism that is hard to beat. Seen after some time has gone by, sci-fi movies are normally more interesting as documentaries of the general mind frame of time in which were made than as accurate pictures of what they foreshadowed. Yet, from today’s vantage point, both Blade Runner and Brazil really appear to have hit the mark, turning Cuban urbanism, and by extension global urbanism, into the most pressing theoretical field of investigation of the new century (and millennium), in which, according to statistics, two-thirds of the world population will live in cities by 2050. The problem is that such conglomerations are only cities in statistical terms and have nothing urban about them except their density. 

Both Ridley Scott and Terry Gilliam understood that calling these systems cities was a mistake because of the inertia of their sheer mass. They both tried to produce a record of the ordinary through a visionary creation showing what cities were in danger of becoming. In both Blade Runner and Brazil, XXI century urbanity emerges as the main character, a character whose every aesthetic consequence is investigated. It is an overpopulated urbanity that sees no sun. It is an urbanity permanently wrapped in fog and drizzle. Its population lives in constant fear in a very oppressive environment under constant curfew. 

The population seems to be made up of voluntary prisoners of a surreal, leaking cage waiting for an answer. A permanent cloud of smoke blurs everything. Bureaucracy, cosmetic surgery, and misused technology are the new ‘rulers,’ who have enslaved the population and incrusted its urbanity with a powerful hallucination of ‘normalcy.’ Emotional dystopias in which the wears and tears of society and humanity are shed. A misdirected super high-technology that allows ‘skin-jobs’ to be more human that the human beings they were designed to be a copy of. The concept of replica has become a basic pleasure model. A purely visual futuristic adventure or a description of many parts of the globe where an Asian atmosphere made of artificial lights, illuminated billboards, Piccadilly Circus-type Punks dominate. One big Chinatown as our destiny? Or one, limitless Honk Kong’s Kowloon waiting for us? 

14 FINAL CREDITS
The title of Orwell’s 1984 was obtained by inverting the last two digits of the year in which the book was written, 1948. This is perhaps the only aspect of the book that had so far proved to be slightly inaccurate, as it anticipated, by more or less two decades, the scenario portraying most of the present state of human affairs. Everything else seems to be right on the mark, as the portrait of society depicted in the novel is a portrait that now appears to be a very accurate depiction of our own (global?) society. Orwell is often described as the twentieth century’s best chronicler of English culture. Can he be described today, sixty years after his passing, as the best chronicler of the direction toward which world culture is headed? The answer is from George Orwell’s 1984. ’There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always [...] there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.’

LEGGI ANCHE:

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