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Celebrating Orwell Day on ZP

[ by Charles Cameron1984 comes to Venezuela? ]

I had just finished posting the somewhat Orwellian DoubleQuote above and a set of quotes from Biblical and Qur’anic sources in my welcoming comments on Adam Elkus‘s inaugural post here, which itself drew on Orwellian dystopia for its imagery, when a friend pointed me to an article about the recent institution of a Vice-Ministry for Supreme Happiness by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.


Bingo, Orwell again! Responses on Twitter were quick to invoke 1984:

In Orwell’s 1984, four ministries control Oceania:

  • Minitrue is the Ministry of Truth, which controls literature and oversees propaganda
  • Minipax, the Ministry of Peace, oversees warfare
  • Miniplenty, the Ministry of Plenty, controls rationing of food and other goods, and
  • Miniluv, the Ministry of Love, deals appropriately with heretics and dissidents
  • I disclaim any deep knowledge of Venezuelan politics, although Ahmadinejad‘s claim that Chávez would be resurrected to accompany the Mahdi and Christ when they return certainly caught my attention… but these literary references impress me.

    Specifically, the Venezuelan tweeters above suggest that Orwell “predicted” the Venezuelan Vice-Ministry, and that it will be followed next by Venezuelan versiuons of Minitrue and Miniluv.


    George Orwell, the man of the hour / day / year / century / millennium… ?

    7 Responses to “Celebrating Orwell Day on ZP”

    1. J. Scott Shipman Says:

      Hi Charles, 
      Don’t forget the Ministry of Happiness…. 

    2. Charles Cameron Says:

      That’s the one they’re talking about, Scott. Apparently the full title is el Viceministerio de la Suprema Felicidad del Pueblo!

    3. J. Scott Shipman Says:

      In short: madness…a woman quoted in the article:
      “Housewife Liliana Alfonzo, 31, said that instead of a Supreme Happiness agency she’d prefer being able to get milk and toilet paper, which disappear off store shelves minutes after arriving at stores.” 

    4. zen Says:

      Did you ever read the Hitchens retrospective on Orwell?

      Here’s his posthumous Vanity Fair piece:

    5. zen Says:

      The USG should gift the Venezuelan opposition with 1,000,000 rolls of toilet paper a week before their next election 

    6. Charles Cameron Says:

      According to the Factbook, the population oif Venezuela is ~28,459,085, of which ~27% are in poverty. Methinks your estimate may be a little on the low side. Thanks for the Hitchens piece, btw.
      It does seem more than a little lop-sided, doesn’t it? I wonder how Venezuela would stack up in terms of the Bhutanese measurement of “Gross National Happiness”… which I see the Bhutanese have now replaced with the slogan “a rototiller for every village and a utility vehicle for each district”!

    7. J. Scott Shipman Says:

      Haven’t read Hitchen’s book, but will add to the anti-library. One of my prized possessions is the four volume set of Orwell’s collected essays and letters. The man was a genius.
      “Lop-sided,” indeed. In these command economies, the leadership must be in control of everything—including happiness, and too many are surprised when they can’t deliver; however that doesn’t stop them, as intentions mean more than results. What else would explain the madness? 

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