Friday, October 27, 2017

Slavery and the Confederacy


What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of ‘The Times’ had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs — to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.

Thus Orwell described the pneumatic tubes that fed the “memory hole” into which all of unwanted  history, all facts and figures that were currently in disfavor, were consigned to the deep dark fires and erased for good.

And now, mimicking that total totalitarian state,  a whole rabid movement wants to put first slavery, and then the Confederacy, down that same hole.  These are currently in disfavor with this crowd and by toppling statues and renaming schools it plans to erase them from history.

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