I hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend, but I also hope you remember why this holiday, Memorial Day, exists. The word “holiday” comes from “holy day,” and the remembrance of this day and its purpose should be sacred. It was originally known as Decoration Day after the end of the Civil War, and it was designated Memorial Day in the 20th Century.
This day is intended to honor, give thanks, and remember those who have sacrificed their lives for The United States of America. Please honor the fallen and the wounded on this day. I realize the day was meant originally for the dead, but I extend my wishes and thanks to the wounded also. Regardless of political beliefs or stands on a war, these are the men and women who fought to keep us safe, and they deserve our remembrance.
They deserve our thanks and our honor.
Please keep in mind that this day is not merely the beginning of the summer season, nor is it intended to be the time of a special sale. This should be a sacred and somber time. There will be plenty of opportunity for shopping and vacationing afterwards. Please remember those who sacrificed.
I am honored to welcome Cap Parlier as the newest member of the U.L.S., The Underground Library Society!
In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again. Those who join write a post about a book they would become if such a time was happening.
Please enjoy reading Cap Parlier’s entry.
In these tumultuous times, I struggled with what book to choose as my inaugural submittal for membership in the Underground Library Society (ULS)—a spiritual tribute to Ray Douglas Bradbury’s seminal dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953). So many books, known and peripheral, qualify in my mind and reading experience. Yet, there is one book that persistently floods my conscious thought for selection for this purpose.
Eric Arthur Blair wrote his last novel toward the end of his life and in ill health. That book would become his magnum opus, published in 1949. Like the centerpiece basis of ULS, the book is a profoundly dystopian novel offering a very dim view of humanity’s future [if we were (are) not careful]. Blair had survived the Spanish Civil War, witnessed the Great Purge in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and watched the violent oppression of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. He had plenty of real examples for his imagination to consider. Blair’s nom de plume, adopted when he began writing while serving as a member of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma (Myanmar), was George Orwell.
My choice to join the Book People and ULS is Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. The book represents a prescient glimpse of what might be when we embrace authoritarian governance. The central character, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth in Airstrip One, a province of Oceania, one of three super-states, including Eurasia and Eastasia. The three super-states remain in an environment of perpetual war, and the Party and its leader Big Brother must control all information and thought to keep the populace focused on the objectives of the State. Winston joins the resistance under the Party’s threat of execution and obliteration. Yet, the massive billboard on the Ministry of Truth building succinctly consolidates the essence of the Party’s oppression.
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
The story revolves around the resistance and their clandestine absorption of scraps of knowledge they can collect. They recognize the truth and the oppression of Big Brother. In telling the story of Winston Smith and Oceania, Orwell created highly descriptive terms three-quarters of a century ago that surprisingly apply to contemporary life—Big Brother, Newspeak, Thought Police, Memory Hole, Doublethink, and Thoughtcrime. Censorship in its myriad forms is the cornerstone of the Party’s domination of Oceania. So many elements of the Party, Big Brother, and Oceania display the traits of dictatorship and other authoritarian governmental systems. We do not know how Oceania reached its state of oppression, but we see what it has become.
There is no indication that Orwell knew of Lord Woodhouselee’s 1787 lecture “The Fall of The Athenian Republic,” but Nineteen Eighty-Four portrays the citizens of Oceania on the full circle of the Tytler Cycle back to bondage. Further, the Party’s doublethink dicta sought to interdict the collective thoughts required to break the bondage. Big Brother sought servitude. Winston and his brethren wanted freedom.
Orwell brings the world of Oceania, the Party, and Big Brother into vivid clarity. We see through Winston Smith the nightmarish, terrifying domain of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell’s tome should instruct us today and most definitely should serve as the negative metric we use when we decide who we are going to vote for, i.e., who not to vote for. If we vote diligently for candidates who will do their part to protect our rights and freedom, we can maintain the republic and avoid Oceania or anything even remotely resembling that dismal state.
In the related and relevant category of ‘whoda thunkit,’ today (March 2023), multiple nations, including the United States of America, face the forces of authoritarianism in its Medusan forms. The suppression of books, the restriction on schools of what can be taught to our children, the denial of history, the mantra accusation of ‘Fake News,’ the direct invasion of a woman’s fundamental right to privacy in controlling her biological functions, ad infinitum ad nauseum, these are the phrase an authoritarian regime (or at least wannabe authoritarian people). Yes, indeed! Nineteen Eighty-Four is the most appropriate book for all of us to read and re-read to understand the signs and characteristics of authoritarian governance in any of its myriad forms. We may not be wise enough and sufficiently perceptive to halt our decent back into bondage. Yet, 74 years ago, George Orwell gave us a clear vision of what can happen if We, the People, do not protect our individual rights and freedoms. They are too precious to lose. Whenever we prepare to vote, we should remember Nineteen Eighty-Four. Most importantly, the Book People must preserve the words of George Orwell and permanently remember them.
Again, thank you to Cap Parlier for joining the group!
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
“Bigotry must never be accepted, must always be confronted, and must never become the way of our country. We must always recognize its past and the consequences of its present existence, and we should always strive to eliminate bigotry, in all forms, from the future.”
The familiar refrain of sending “thoughts and prayers” by congress people who then do nothing about gun control after another massacre of innocents is sickening. It is time to love children more than guns.
Senate Chaplain Barry Black prayed for legislative action on gun violence Tuesday morning, a day after three children and three adults were shot and killed at a Christian school in Nashville.
Through his prayer, Black urged legislators to “move beyond thoughts and prayers.”
“When a country with less than five percent of the world’s population has nearly half of the world’s privately owned guns and makes up nearly a third of the world’s mass shootings, it’s time to stop saying guns make us safer.”
“I only wish the NRA and its jellyfish, well-paid supporters in legislatures both State and Federal would be careful to recite the whole of it, and then tell us how a heavily armed man, woman, or child, recruited by no official, led by no official, given no goals by any official, motivated or restrained only by his or her personality and perceptions of what is going on, can be considered a member of a well-regulated militia.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“It is time to start referring to those members of Congress who oppose gun control as what they are–Pro Death of Children and Innocents. They are the toadies of the NRA and the gun lobby, and they must be voted out of office. The time to act is now.”
Hello to everyone! We are now in Spring, and I thought it would be a good time to share what you have been writing and what you have written. I want once again to offer an opportunity for all writers who follow this blog to share information on their books. It can be very difficult to generate publicity for our writing, so I thought this little effort might help. All books may be mentioned, and there is no restriction on genre. This includes poetry and non-fiction.
To participate, simply give your name, your book, information about it, and where to purchase it in the comments section. Then please be willing to reblog and/or tweet this post. The more people that see it, the more publicity we can generate for everyone’s books.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Ostara! This is a holiday on the pagan and pre-Christian Celtic Calendar, and it marks the beginning of Spring and the Spring Equinox. It is a holiday of hope and fertility. And please do not worry, there is nothing Satanic about this celebration of life. It is a time of joy and celebration of the coming of Spring.
I'm glad I learned to express my thoughts clearly and everyone loves to read them. Sometimes it takes a lot of thinking power to think about the surroundings. Someone who likes it, someone who enjoys it, appreciates that he is writing very well. Reading and commenting on the post I wrote would give me a lot of bullshit and I would get new ideas to write new ones.
I'm really glad I got your response.
This is perhaps the least specific blog you will find. A variety of DIY projects, book reviews, health tips, yoga poses, fashion ideas, recipes or something altogether different depending on my current mood. I've never been pigeon-holed into one category so neither is my blog. Strap in and enjoy the ride!