Orwell on Alternative Facts

“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”
—George Orwell, 1946

It’s Orwell Week (#2 of 3)

George Orwell was a pen name for Eric Arthur Blair (1903–1950), an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic best known for the novella Animal Farm (1945), and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

Despite having spoken on BBC radio many, many times, no recordings of Orwell’s voice are known to exist. That he could speak at all was amazing: he had been shot in the throat in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, and was carried off the front with blood gushing out of his mouth. So yes, he understood the concept of the battlefield first-hand.


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Randy Cassingham is best known as the creator of This is True, the oldest entertainment feature on the Internet: it has been running weekly by email subscription since early 1994. It is social commentary using weird news as its vehicle so it’s fun to read. Click here for a subscribe form — basic subscriptions are free.

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