By letterhead | August 14, 2008
Following up on last week’s post on George Orwell’s 1984…
The latest Olympic development is not just that the Chinese government falsified a gymnast’s birth date on her passport, but that they went back and altered PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED NEWSPAPER REPORTS about her age!!
Columnist/Blogger David Flumenbaum has posted copies of an article from the China Daily that was altered (after publication) to reflect Chinese officials’ version of the facts.
I reproduce them here, but for David’s analysis and more documentation please read his post.
The newspaper article as it originally appeared…
And now… as it’s currently seen online….
In Orwell’s 1984, in the bowels of the enormous Ministry of Truth…
What happened in that 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 [issue] of the Times had been assembled and collated, that [issue] would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files instead.
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 of the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct…
All history was palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.
Wet Noodle: IOC’s Rogge Sells Us Down the (Yellow) River
The Chinese government got caught because they did not track down and alter other official documents (posted by Dave) that contradict the falsified news reports. But you can bet it wasn’t for lack of trying.
And now that they know where their vulnerabilities are, how much you wanna bet that next time they’ll be a lot more thorough?
And what’s the likelihood that internet companies — even Western ones — will be subject to even stricter oversight and control over what’s chached and how those files are managed?
And just how cooperative do you think those revenue hungry Western companies will be?
If the IOC is any indication we might as well kiss it all goodbye. Here is what IOC president Rogge said to the Associated Press:
“The IOC relies on the international federations, who are exclusively responsible for the eligibility of athletes. It’s not the task of the IOC to check every one of the 10,000 athletes.” (story)
Gucci Blinders and an Hermes Gag
The interesting thing about self-interest, which free-marketeers tout all the time as the all-powerful saviour of humanity, is that it leads people to do dastardly things. And it leads other people, on the fringes, who benefit, to turn a blind eye.
Where is the IOC’s outrage? Where is the promise of an investigation? Where is the slap at the Chinese regime for its asaault on the integrity of the Olympics?
And where oh where is the thinking person’s absolute shock that they tried to get away with rewriting the past???
Rogge clearly sees no/hears no/speaks no evil… no matter what.
Down the Memory Hole
We are fast approaching a level of technological capability and proficiency that’ll enable the implementation, on a global scale, of exactly the kind of information and reality controls Orwell described nearly 60 years ago.
And we have seen quite clearly that:
a) there is no shortage of deft spin-masters who have no patience for facts or independent reality… (e.g., Karl Rove’s assertion that… “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors.. and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”)
b) there is no shortage of self-interested lackey’s who will stand idly by, or even enable powerful people to re-make reality wholesale to suit their interests.
To quote Orwell…
“Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy… The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
When you look at some of the BS perpetrated by high-profile PR pros these days, Orwell doesn’t sound very far off the mark, particularly in the political realm. Could it escalate to the kind of continuous rewriting of the facts that Orwell describes?
Who knows. Who ever seriously thought it could go THIS far?