WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
All opinions don’t matter.
It’s not that opinions are lies. But they could be.
Dogs have six tails.
If this is an opinion someone wishes
to hold, fine. If mental illness isn’t playing a role in the
formation of this opinion, fine. If this is an opinion someone wishes
to broadcast publicly, I would then expect others to rebuke this
individual. Don’t call the police! And leave the shot gun where
it is! But
I would expect family and friends to see in the
reality this person advocates something at best questionable.
Facts matter. Uninformed opinions is
I’m sitting in the sun room at
the senior complex where I live when two white women enter and take
seats. The space is too small for two to have a conversation while
another reads or works at a computer. So I save my work and greet the
two women. I’m familiar with these two. As things go here in
this building and in this small village located in Wisconsin, they
are the “nice” ones, although one of the women informed
me a week or so back that her masks were slow to deliver—because
of the protesters!
So here we are and it’s not
long before the conversation really begins. Despite my presence!
It’s about the “looters.”
Those destroyers of property. And both women are looking at me, one
directly and the other looking askance at me.
Perhaps it’s because of my
These looters destroyed property.
Her friend still looking askance at
me chimed in: And destroying property is wrong.
Neither women referred to George
Floyd. Neither asked how I felt about this death. How I felt about
the protesters. Black Lives Matter.
But there were Italians! Back in the
day! The second woman volunteers a story about her struggling Italian
family ending the narrative with a “what about them?”
All lives matter!
That would be racist, I tell her.
Your family of Italians became
white at some point!
And now the first woman wants to
offer me proof of those “looters.” She has video! On her
cell phone! Actual footage of “looters”!
Democrats are paying these
looters to destroy property! Blacks are being led by the nose by
She’s trying to hand me her
cell phone! She a “nice” one here. A friendly one.
Someone, I’m sure who would never think herself racist or
I’m Black last I checked. And
she’s asking me in the second week of July to look at videos of
I don’t need to see your
footage of looters. I
think by now I know how to research on the Internet.
That didn’t sit well with her.
She has a son! And her son sent this footage of looters!
Is it possible to inform her that
her son might be living in a reality that doesn’t recognize my
humanity? Is it possible for me to ask her how did she raise this son
to interact with people of color? Is it possible for me to ask why
would she even be proud of a son who would send her footage of
looters, as if to suggest that all the protesters, the Blacks and
whites and Latinx and Indigenous protesters, are all looters
controlled by Democrats?
And what reality do these two women
live in if not one that denies the legitimacy of 400 years of
systemic oppression and injustice suffered by Black, Indigenous,
Latinx people in the US. It’s not possible, however, to
recognize how these two women actively engage in the crafting of a
narrative that erases an historical events and replace it with a
narrative that consists only of looters, claiming this then to be the
truth, the only truth, and nothing but the truth.
For what happens to George Floyd?
What happens to the protesters and their claims of injustice? Their
claims of white supremacy?
It’s hard to respond to such
ignorance. Deliberate ignorance.
I’m a radical!
(And that’s what she wants to hear, isn’t it?).
I could show you some sources for
No, I don’t need to do
that. I have my son…
Here are the Americans I decided
long ago, after Trump took office, that I couldn’t embrace
because to do so would be to embrace ignorance, deliberate ignorance.
Racism was the elephant in that sun
room, sitting among us.
Here are the people suspicious of
reality as described by those who are Black, Latinx, and Indigenous.
As a Black in America, I know that this form of suspicion might also
point to a refusal to accept Black people as anything worthy of their
attention. To do so, would be to acknowledge their responsibility in
the history of conquest and enslavement.
Anti-Black is a symptom Trump shares
with many white Americans. We are living in an America that can’t
accept the truth—and that truth is that white America today is
implicated in the maintenance of white supremacy. All pervasive and
deep. Yet, despite the protests and Black Lives Matter movement, some
Americans keep pointing to images of “looters” as if the
400 years of America’s worship of violence against Black
Americans will disappear. Down a memory hole.
Since I refuse to nod in agreement
with these two women, I refuse to accept their reality of “looters,”
I refuse to subjugate myself for their benefit, I’ll become
their target—for elimination. It’s not over the top; it’s
the reality Black Americans face in US. There’s the outright
killing of Micheal Brown, Gorge Floyd, or Tamir Rice. And there’s
the day-to-day feeding of Black lives to a memory hole where we
expelled from employment, housing, education. Many end up in prison
or in sub-standard housing. Others still are subjected to their
“disappearance” from family and society, relegated to
I would have to pretend that I
believed in the lies. And lies, Winston Smith understood, pass into
history, and become truth. “‘Who controls the pass,’
ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the
present controls the past.’”
No one does facts the way Big
Brother does in Oceania. Asks Winston. He loves his job at the
Ministry of Truth in the Records Department. He knows all about ideas
and people disappearing. That is, ideas and people being vaporized.
Staff at the Ministry of Truth
are in love with that word. Vaporized. Adrift
with Winston as he sits at his desk, working, we follow his thoughts
as he recalls his parents. Vaporized. He
knew others who were vaporized too.
No history, past, or present…
His co-worker (over there), is a
woman whose sole job is to remove the names of people, permanently.
No history, past or present…
We are taken, in Winston’s
mind, to the print shops where experts skilled at “faking”
photographs engage in the vaporizing operation too. “And
somewhere or other, quite anonymous, there were the directing brains
who coordinated the whole effort and laid down the lines of policy
which made it necessary that this fragment of the past should
preserved, that one falsified, and the other rubbed out of
Yes, Winston, too, vaporizes truth.
Indirectly. But nonetheless.
His primary job isn’t to
“reconstruct the past” but, rather, to supply Oceania
with “newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programs, plays,
novels—in other words, he is part of the system that produces
what citizens are to think, so they don’t have to think. If
that makes sense! It should make sense; it’s not that so
different from our current reality in 2020.
If in 1984 the Records
Department supplies all forms of entertainment and more crucially
information for its citizenry, why should we be surprised to find the
presence of this phenomena already in reality?
It’s not as if the world
hasn’t experienced deadly regimes that insisted that human
beings negate the idea of freedom and subjugate themselves to
enslavement. It shouldn’t be a surprise that ignorance is
sought after as a form of bliss and the use of the intellect is
suspect. And war—war is more profitable we know than peace.
What is peace if not the acknowledge that Black lives matter so then
all lives could finally begin to matter?
The decision as to what to watch on
telescreens, then, will be left to those who know! Leave the decision
to the word of Big Brother! Just watch, listen, absorb.
The task of making life easy for
fellow citizens rest with the staff at the Records Department in the
Ministry of Truth. As for Wilson, he doesn’t lie. The
department doesn’t lie. The department as an essential
of the Ministry of Truth is all about the truth. Not lies.
the Records Department which produces news, films, and novels,
produces truth, does a great service to humanity by eliminating lies.
“Fabrications.” That’s Winston’s job.
“However, in his present position he was invisible.” He
could stop and become “lost in a monstrous world where he
himself was the monster.” Could it be possible that this Party,
this system, this way of being “endure” forever? But what
good would it do him to think. “He was alone” where the
“past was dead” and “the future unimaginable.”
Winston does his job. He sends what are damnable “lies”
down wastepaper tubes nicknamed the memory holes. Forever forgotten.
The past is history, obliterated.
Records, then, dozens of citizens of Oceania work on the project of
“fabrication,” that is, “truth.” One person’s
version of “what Big Brother had actually said” is
selected and then that selection is subjected to “re-editing”
and what’s re-edited sets “in motion the complex process
of cross-referencing that would be required, and then the chosen lie
would pass into the permanent records and become truth.”
And everything change and does,
Winston muses. A “fact” today is a “lie”
tomorrow in Oceania.
Winston, today, works on the
narrative he calls, Comrade Ogilvy. The Comrade doesn’t exist.
But in “a few lines of print and a couple of faked
photographs,” thanks to that photo shop, Comrade Ogilvy will
take on flesh! Winston’s creation will breathe and live among
humans. And Winston would have done this job for the glory and honor
of Big Brother.
Speaking, then, in Big Brother
speak, he announces the existence of Comrade Ogilvy, “unimagined
an hour ago.” Comrade
Ogilvy “was now a fact.”
Lies pass into history…
Looters today, looters tomorrow,
holes proliferate, even while protesters are growing in numbers,
unafraid to take to the streets, and taking upon themselves the right
to effect change. The dissemination of memory holes continues, and we
should expect the fearful and hateful will fight to the death to
maintain all glory and honor to Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy. We
should expect “similar slits” existing “in
thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building.” In
other words, an operation we see being played out in the removal of
judges and legal departments who, in turn, are replaced by
no-thinking machine men and women. Yes, men and women. Winston,
without conscious. Doing the job of eliminating truth.
Because, at the end of the day, the
truth is being looted.
of Americans don’t see Oceania in America. They have been told
to worry about what those protesters want to take away from them!
They who worked so
hard for generations! We
are being robbed by those “looters.” Sowing division
makes it so much easier for the sons and daughters still hard t work
to vaporize the
inconvenient reality of white violence.
Those with nothing will take
everything from me!
Fox News is
the altar on which the high priest, Trump, disseminates to sons and
daughters the greatness of memory holes. Memory holes, then, is the
god that is feed daily human beings to the point of sheer absurdity.
Vaporize, vaporize, vaporize.
who protests are hearing the echo of generations of sheep behaving,
as Winston notes in 1984,
with “paralyzing stupidity” and “imbecile
I, a little like Winston, sat giving
the time of day to people for whom America is white and always has
been white. When I should have gathered by laptop and backpack and
left the sunroom because embracing this brand of ignorance isn’t
an option. Truth is at stake like the climate is changing and global
warming is melting to glaciers. The oceans are rising. The
temperatures are rising.
The photo shops do a good job!
And so do the Winstons who see the
memory hole coming for them but just keep on stepping on the neck of
But, in the end, embracing the real
looters, isn’t an option. The real looters are losing their
foothold on reality.