Message 216: the absurdity of everything

In a letter dated 16 June 1949 George Orwell answered questions put to him by Francis A. Henson of the United Automobile Workers. He expressed unhappiness with readers who would tie the novel to one place and time:

My recent novel is NOT intended as an attack on Socialism or on the British Labour Party (of which I am a supporter but as a show-up of the perversions to which a centralised economy is liable and which have already been partly realised in Communism and Fascism. I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe (allowing of course for the fact that the book is a satire) that something resembling it could arrive. I believe also that totalitarian ideas have taken root in the minds of intellectuals everywhere, and I have tried to draw these ideas out to their logical consequences. The scene of the book is laid in Britain in order to emphasise that the English-speaking races are not innately better than anyone else and that totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere. (502)

Radiohead has had a similar position on Hail to the Thief, denying that it targets America. Thom Yorke (in this interview) has said that the title is “trying to express, without getting angry about it, the absurdity of everything. Not just a single Administration.”

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