While boasting of his election victory as historic in nature, President Donald Trump claimed 3 million people voted fraudulently on Nov. 8. You’d be scratching your head if you were not familiar with his speech routine. He has the capacity to hold two utterly contradictory beliefs simultaneously, and accept both of them at his convenience.
If you think that smacks of Orwell’s “doublethink,” you are not the only one who does. Orwell’s dystopian novel, “1984” is our perennial reference each time we detect verbal excrement — like the slogan of the Ministry of Truth in Oceania: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”
The 68-year-old novel has become this week’s best-seller and its publisher, Penguin, reportedly ordered a 75,000 copy reprint.
The reemergence of “1984” was triggered by a series of doublethink, newspeak and purported fact-mutations that came out of the White House in the past couple of days since Trump’s inauguration. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, for example, attempted to convince members of the media that the swearing-in ceremony drew “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
Confronting the media’s challenge, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway told “Meet the Press”’ moderator Chuck Todd, “You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.
Orwell experts are prompted to compare the phrase “alternative facts” to “newspeak,” the euphemism for inverted meaning in “1984.”
Hmmm. “Sanity was statistical,” Orwell wrote. “It was merely a question of thinking as they thought.” The White House folks must hope that everyone would submit to their official version, like Winston Smith, who finally surrenders to the alternative fact, “Two and Two Make Five.”