Welcome to Episode Thirty of our nightly audio adventure, George Orwell's prescient masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four.
In tonight's episode, from deep within the Ministry of Love Winston Smith tries to look on the bright side:
'Somehow you will fail. Something will defeat you. Life will defeat you.'
'We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the proletarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out of your mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The others are outside--irrelevant.'
'I don't care. In the end they will beat you. Sooner or later they will see you for what you are, and then they will tear you to pieces.'
'Do you see any evidence that that is happening? Or any reason why it should?'
'No. I believe it. I KNOW that you will fail. There is something in the universe--I don't know, some spirit, some principle--that you will never overcome.'
'Do you believe in God, Winston?'
'Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?'
'I don't know. The spirit of Man.'
'And do you consider yourself a man?'
'If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are ALONE? You are outside history, you are non-existent.'
Donald Kilmer, an Idaho Steyn Clubber, writes:
I got goosebumps as I listened to Mark read the lines: "Imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."
The thought that immediately flooded into my mind was: "Imagine a mask covering a human face - forever."
Todd Hynes, a First Month Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Newfoundland, adds:
Mark, many thanks for the excellent reading of Nineteen Eighty Four. Count me as an emphatic up-vote for the voice renderings used, particularly in these latest torture scenes.
Just a couple of notes:
Unlike with your previous Tales for our Time, where time permits I've been reading along just prior to or after listening to a Part, never more than a handful of pages ahead or behind. This is a book that I've set aside to re-read for years, but now I'm glad that I procrastinated... I've had the pleasure of listening and reading all at once!
I can agree with what others have shared, in my younger years I'd found the Goldstein Oligarchical Collectivism section to be quite dry, an area that bogged the story down. But this time around I found it to be enlightening and in a way, thrilling. Orwell's offering of insight into the history of authoritarian societies and his detailed exposition of the "how", while teasing as to the "why", is simply electric. In these deeply troubling times Orwell's words are incredibly ominous.
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And please join me tomorrow, after Tuesday's Fox News Primetime, for Part Thirty-One of Nineteen Eighty-Four.