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Ed Driscoll

City on the Airstrip One of Forever

April 28th, 2014 - 1:41 pm

1984-not-a-users-guide

After paraphrasing Harlan Ellison’s classic “Demon with a Glass Hand” Outer Limits title for the headline of my recent blog post on the petulance of NBC, yesterday I watched the clip of the conclusion of that episode on YouTube, and came across, in the sidebar of related videos, this clip of Ellison on a Chicago talk show in early 1984, talking about if, as Apple said back then, 1984 would resemble Orwell’s 1984.

Of course Ellison said it would. America’s been a colony of Oceania since the early 1950s, explained Ellison, ever since Hollywood blacklisted pro-Communist screenwriters, followed by Tonkin Bay and Vietnam. (Lyndon Johnson had no idea what a hardcore guy he was.)

Since Orwell intended Airstrip One in 1984 to resemble a Stalinist England, Ellison’s statement is quite an interesting tautology. America became the equivalent of Orwell’s 1984 when its filmmakers chose not to offer jobs to those who desired the most to transform America in Orwell’s 1984.

Catch-’84. It’s the best catch there is:

Flash-forward from 1984 to 2014, and as Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today, there was a time when intellectual openness “characterized much of American intellectual life. That time seems to be over, judging by the latest science fiction dust-up:”

That’s certainly been the experience of Larry Correia, who was nominated for a Hugo this year. Correia, the author of numerous highly successful science fiction books like Monster Hunter International and Hard Magic, is getting a lot of flak because he’s a right-leaning libertarian. Makes you wonder if Robert Heinlein could get a Hugo Award today. (Answer: Probably not.)

“Purging the heretics, usually but not always from the left, has become a popular game in a lot of institutions. It just seems worse in science fiction because SF was traditionally open and optimistic about the future, two things that purging the heretics doesn’t go with very well.”

It will be fascinating to see how those such as Ellison and others who thumped the hardest against Hollywood blacklisting pro-collectivist writers in the 1950s look back on the current period of anti-collectivist authors (and actors and CEOs) being blacklisted today. Perhaps their hysteria today might lead them to understand the hysteria of the early 1950s, and the backdrop of the nascent Cold War it was taking place in.

Just kidding, of course. We already know the answer will be a shrugging, “Hey, it’s different when we do it. Why? Just because. And while we’re on the subject, just…”

YouTube Preview Image

Oh, and speaking of Catch-’84:

Update: World’s Longest Modified Limited Hangout Concludes.

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Top Rated Comments   
Mega-star SF writer Orson Scott Card, winner of the Hugo three years straight, was fired and blacklisted by DC Comics for his views, including support for Prop 8.

Sacramento Theatre director Scott Eckern was fired and blacklisted for his support of Prop 8.

Radio host Marshall Gilbert was fired and blacklisted for his support of Prop 8.

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was fired and blacklisted for his support of Prop 8.

Margie Christoffersen, manager of LA Beverley Blvd. coffee shop El Coyote was blacklisted for her support Prop 8. Cops in riot gear had to be dispatched to the coffee shop to quell the organized protests.

Tom Smith and Roger Connors' Partners in Leadership consultant firm was fired and blacklisted by San Francisco's Peralta Community College for their support for Prop 8.

Explain to me again why the Hollywood blacklists of the 1950s were oh-so-evil, but the current blacklists happening right now are just hunky-dory?





30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (8)
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"At the height of the lame, doomed "Red Scare," the Brown Scare was ten times bigger. You may think it was difficult making a living as a communist screenwriter in 1954. It was a lot easier than being a fascist screenwriter. Or even an anticommunist screenwriter. (Same thing, right?) And as any pathetic last shreds of real opposition shrink and die off, the Scare only grows. That's how winners play it. That's just how the permanent revolution rolls. [...] It's actually not hard to explain the Brown Scare. Like all witch hunts, it's built on a conspiracy theory. [...] The logic of the witch hunter is simple. It has hardly changed since Matthew Hopkins' day. The first requirement is to invert the reality of power. Power at its most basic level is the power to harm or destroy other human beings. The obvious reality is that witch hunters gang up and destroy witches. Whereas witches are never, ever seen to gang up and destroy witch hunters."
- Mencius Moldbug, "Technology, Communism, and the Brown Scare"
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Harlan Ellison wrote some hysterical (as in deranged) stories and columns in the sixties supporting the Free Speech Movement. He must have known that the movement was not about getting college students the right to speak freely--they already had that--but rather was about politicizing the university so that everything became a vehicle to advance leftist ideology.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It will be fascinating to see how those such as Ellison and others who thumped the hardest against Hollywood blacklisting pro-collectivist writers in the 1950s look back on the current period of anti-collectivist authors (and actors and CEOs) being blacklisted today."

They still angrily deny that those Hollywood communists were conspiring to blacklist non-Communists. (When forced to say anything. Mostly they just carefully avoid letting the subject come up.) So no, I wouldn't trust Harlan and his friends very far.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
People say it's only private groups, but losing the habit of free speech can spread. And the effects will be disastrous.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey--what are you doing, wasting your time reading blogs? You're supposed to be debugging your Universal Robots. :-)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where is Donald Sterling on Prop 8?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mega-star SF writer Orson Scott Card, winner of the Hugo three years straight, was fired and blacklisted by DC Comics for his views, including support for Prop 8.

Sacramento Theatre director Scott Eckern was fired and blacklisted for his support of Prop 8.

Radio host Marshall Gilbert was fired and blacklisted for his support of Prop 8.

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was fired and blacklisted for his support of Prop 8.

Margie Christoffersen, manager of LA Beverley Blvd. coffee shop El Coyote was blacklisted for her support Prop 8. Cops in riot gear had to be dispatched to the coffee shop to quell the organized protests.

Tom Smith and Roger Connors' Partners in Leadership consultant firm was fired and blacklisted by San Francisco's Peralta Community College for their support for Prop 8.

Explain to me again why the Hollywood blacklists of the 1950s were oh-so-evil, but the current blacklists happening right now are just hunky-dory?





30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
That’s easy: Communism and homosexuality are good. This explains why a blacklist was bad in one case and good in the other.

Some lifestyles, that is the communist, Democrat, homosexual, feminist, et. al. are naturally totalitarian. That explains it, too.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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