Sunday, July 08, 2007

Apple's Amazing 1984 Ad

Most advertising is less than appealing material. We all respond to different ad messages but this may be the best TV ad ever. To me the appeal is one of being a contrarian, being anti-establishment, the freedom of individualism and free thought. You can thank Steve Jobs for running the ad when other senior management didn't have the moxie and backed away. Here's a Wikipedia link to the Apple ad creation and intended message.

I crack comments about Orwell's book "1984", the basis for the Apple ad. That's because I believe "1984" is one of the greatest science fiction writings ever. As an aside, one of the Amazon book reviewers, J.A.H., wrote a very though provoking comment regarding "1984" that I'm going to repost below. While I don't subscribe to this as a prophecy, it's quite worthwhile to remember no matter where you live this has already happened. The book was supposedly written as a poke at totalitarianism and the Soviet Union. Enjoy the ad!

Fiction or Prophecy?
Winston Smith, member of the Outer Party, a small, petty cog in the great machination of "Big Brother", tries to step out from the shadow of his life in George Orwell's now masterpiece, "1984". Written over 50 years ago, this book was to serve several purposes, one being a warning to the present that a future like this, however fantastic and unbelievable, could be in the making should we allow for it to happen.

Winston leads the dull life of a worker, not encouraged to think, or dream, or feel for himself. His whole life must be driven to support the Party, which promulgates an apparent non-entity Big Brother as the supreme one. Winston early on shows the spark of individuality that the Party so wants to extinguish; by daring to write a journal on his own, he seals his fate early in the story. Soon he meets Julia, another worker, who charms and dares him even further to encourage having an affair. Together they make a lethal pair, and some lethal decisions, which leads to the great climax in the Ministry of Love.

What lies in the story is an amazing prophecy of government gone mad. The Party believes in creating present truths by writing and rewriting the past on its whim. The Party understands in order to control the people, it must control the language, thereby, creating "Newspeak". The Party makes people simply vanish, eradicating them from existence. The Party realizes the people who follow are merely plebians in society, and therefore, should be encouraged to not think for themselves. In fact, the Party is able to directly lie to the people, using "doublethink", where they say one thing but mean the other.

How much of Orwell's nightmare is something that can be true today? Do we have a government out of control, one that manipulates information for its own benefit, to justify war, ensure fear and terror reigns over the country; one that illegally detains people without trial, right to counsel, or even being charged with a crime; one that wants to extensively monitor our personal phone calls, e-mails, the books we check out of the library, the things we buy in stores. The dots are there to connect them; the challenge is, will you dare to do it, like Winston Smith dared?

I believe 1984 is ultimately a hopeful book. Orwell wants to challenge humanity, that during times of crisis, we are able to rise up and change things, so the fateful prophecy so nobly and horrifyingly espoused in 1984 , will only stay between the covers of the book. The choice is up to us.

posted by TimingLogic at 6:41 PM

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