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Dangerous books Aug 22

At the time of the sudden airport security crackdown when all hand luggage was banned, I quipped to friends that we were being prevented from taking on board books deemed dangerous: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World, that sort of thing. It was satire of the highest order, of course, but with no truth in it.

Until now.

“Is that about terrorism?”, asked the lady that examined my onboard luggage. “Humm, well, it contains mentions of that, but it’s about your former ambassador to Uzbekistan and more about diplomacy”, I replied politely. “Does it have al-Qaida in it?” I looked a bit confused. “What?” – “Well, I have to check this with my manager, the rest of your stuff is fine, though.”

Now you can’t blame the Government for the actions of overly-officious airport security, overworked to the point of thinking that reading the word “terrorism” could prompt a passenger to explode mid-flight; you can, however, blame them for creating the climate of paranoia that foments this. (Via.)

While on our walk on Sunday, Nick recommended that I read Nineteen Eighty-Four. I really should have done that a long time ago but I have various Orwell issues dating from school (Animal Farm was a set text) that have got in the way. Now more than ever it seems worth a go, so I’ve put those aside and started reading…

3 Responses

  1. 1

    Nineteen Eighty-Four is well wortha read.

    Both Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were compulsory reads ahen I was at school – but they both made a lot more sense when I re-read them a few years later.

    I once had to write an essay about the use of dust in Nineteen Eighty-Four. That’s enough to put anyone off books for life!

  2. I entirely recommend revisiting Orwell – something I’ve been doing myself in recent months. His writing is concise, keenly observed and often savagely vivid. He’s also very good at tackling complex, knotty issues in a very readable way (Animal Farm being the obvious example).

    His essays are a good place to start as they are short and to the point, and cover a great range of subjects. “Politics and the English language” is a corker, and feels brazen;y contemporary though it is 60 years old. But dip into the other essays on the same site – they’re all very good.

  3. 3

    I thought I saw you at about 9pm on Tuesday. But I bet it wasn’t you.