Shows and movies and suchlike may be off indefinitely in your town, but here at SteynOnline, even under the Covid, the lights stay on. We're very proud that this website now offers more free content than at any time in our eighteen-year history. But we also provide some premium extras especially for our Mark Steyn Club members, such as these nightly adaptations of classic fiction. So here we go with the Tuesday installment of our current Tale for Our Time, George Orwell's dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Yesterday's episode prompted this from John Wilson, a First Month Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Colorado:
Every sentence of tonight's episode is taken from today's news. I want to take them all and broadcast them to every corner of the world I can touch. It's all happening right now, but I wonder if anybody really cares.
Don't forget, John, that, for two generations now, public (and a lot of private) education has basically ceased teaching anything of value. And, as the decades go by, it becomes harder (to get a little Rumsfeldian) to know not only what you don't know but that you don't know. Hence the aggressively invincible ignorance of Generation Woke.
In tonight's episode, for Winston Smith has the long awaited invitation come?
He was walking down the long corridor at the Ministry and he was almost at the spot where Julia had slipped the note into his hand when he became aware that someone larger than himself was walking just behind him... His heart bounded violently. He would have been incapable of speaking. O'Brien, however, had continued forward in the same movement, laying a friendly hand for a moment on Winston's arm, so that the two of them were walking side by side. He began speaking with the peculiar grave courtesy that differentiated him from the majority of Inner Party members.
'I had been hoping for an opportunity of talking to you,' he said. 'I was reading one of your Newspeak articles in The Times the other day. You take a scholarly interest in Newspeak, I believe?'
Winston had recovered part of his self-possession. 'Hardly scholarly,' he said. 'I'm only an amateur. It's not my subject. I have never had anything to do with the actual construction of the language.'
'But you write it very elegantly,' said O'Brien. 'That is not only my own opinion. I was talking recently to a friend of yours who is certainly an expert. His name has slipped my memory for the moment.'
Again Winston's heart stirred painfully. It was inconceivable that this was anything other than a reference to Syme. But Syme was not only dead, he was abolished, an unperson. Any identifiable reference to him would have been mortally dangerous. O'Brien's remark must obviously have been intended as a signal, a codeword. By sharing a small act of thoughtcrime he had turned the two of them into accomplices.
Is this the moment Winston has been waiting for? When he is asked to join the resistance?
If you enjoy me in audio, you might like to know that we complement Tales for Our Time at the other end of the day with an audio edition of The Mark Steyn Show. The latest episode airs tomorrow.
Membership in The Mark Steyn Club is not for everyone, but, if you've a pal who enjoys classic fiction, we'd love to welcome him or her to our ranks via the birthday present that lasts all year: A gift membership in the Steyn Club, which comes with access to our entire archive of Tales for Our Time, including The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Time Machine, The Thirty-Nine Steps and many more. For more details on our special Gift Membership, see here. Please join me tomorrow evening for Part Eighteen of Nineteen Eighty-Four.