Programming note: Tomorrow, Wednesday, I'll be attempting a special live hybrid show - half Clubland Q&A, half Mark Steyn Show. We'll see how that works out, but I hope you'll tune in - live around the planet at our regular Steyn Show time - 11am North American Eastern; that's 3pm GMT/4pm British Summer Time.
While you're on the edge of your seat waiting for that, welcome to the latest in our series of audio adventures, Tales for Our Time. This month's pick is George Orwell's ever more timely tale of the totalitarian temptation, Animal Farm - and I thank you for your kind words about our opening episodes. Jan Schiebout, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
I was wondering when you would get around to this book. The broader implications always disturbed me, so it is truly unforgettable. It was once required reading for middle school students, now probably forbidden by the thought police in the NEA. Prescient when it was written; reality now? Seems so...
What animal will we represent in this coming world, because some animals are more equal than others?
Indeed, Jan. It's all about the hierarchy: if I were a feminist, for example, I would already be getting the feeling that I'm less equal than trans... In tonight's episode of Animal Farm, the hierarchy begins to emerge:
After the hoisting of the flag all the animals trooped into the big barn for a general assembly which was known as the Meeting. Here the work of the coming week was planned out and resolutions were put forward and debated. It was always the pigs who put forward the resolutions. The other animals understood how to vote, but could never think of any resolutions of their own. Snowball and Napoleon were by far the most active in the debates. But it was noticed that these two were never in agreement: whatever suggestion either of them made, the other could be counted on to oppose it.
Hmm. Napoleon is generally taken to be Stalin, and Snowball Trotsky. But it's not necessary to know that, and indeed many who don't have nevertheless found themselves acting out Orwell's basic dynamic all over the map these last seven decades.
You can hear my earlier Orwellian adventure, Nineteen Eighty-Four, here.
If you have friends who might appreciate Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four or our other tales, we have a special Steyn Club Gift Membership that lets them in on that and on all the other fun in The Mark Steyn Club.
If you've only joined the Steyn Club in recent days and missed our earlier serials (Conan Doyle's The Tragedy of the Korosko, Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel, Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda, plus Kipling, Kafka, Dickens, Gogol, Louisa May Alcott, P G Wodehouse, H G Wells, Scott Fitzgerald and more), you can find them all on our easy-to-access Netflix-style Tales for Our Time home page. Indeed, it's so easy to access that we've introduced a similar format for the audio editions of The Mark Steyn Show.
The Mark Steyn Club is now in its fifth year, and helps keep all our regular content - whether in print, audio or video - out there in the world for everyone. In return, membership confers, aside from Tales for Our Time, a few other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly, such as tomorrow's experimental hybrid session;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Mark's Mailbox, and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry;
~Booking for special members-only events such as The Mark Steyn Christmas Show (if live stage shows are ever decriminalized);
~Priority booking for (don't laugh) the annual Mark Steyn Cruise, sailing this fall;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, assuming any such things ever take place again;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and please join me tomorrow for Part Four of Animal Farm.