Two Minutes Hate, Two Hours Smug. Vastly different, of course.

For those of you who haven’t read “1984” (and you should, even if some smart-ish people think it’s poor), the rulers of the  society organise daily “Two Minute Hates” (see below for the wikipedia entry and a quote from the book itself.)  Useful for bringing all the hidden resentments out and giving people a sense of relief.

Long-term readers will see where I am going with this, and wince at the unfairness/tendentiousness of the comparison…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

The green and left “movements” replicate the two minute hate with our (ir)regular emotathons.  We’d do them daily if we had the audience and the resources. We have the same “everyone pay attention to the people at the front of the room” thing going on.  And we want to Feel Better afterwards, relieved for a moment from having to self-censor at work, etc etc.

The analogy breaks down, naturally. For instance, there is a bit more truth to our denunciations than the ones Big Brother orchestrates.  Eurasia hasn’t always been at war with Oceania, but “industrial civilisation” has always been at war with “nature” (yes, yes, I know “nature” is a floating signifier/anthropocentric construct/yadder yadder yadder).  The thing of it is, though, we have met the enemy, and he is us.

So what could be done?  Be more aware of the emotional needs of people who come to meetings.  We throw information at them, give (some of) them a chance to grand-stand and then send everyone home with unmet needs for affiliation, momentum, a sense of hope.  And then we wonder why so many don’t come back (actually, we don’t – that’s a silence).

wikipedia; The film and its accompanying auditory and visual cues (which include a grinding noise that Orwell describes as “of some monstrous machine running without oil”) are a form of brainwashing to Party members, attempting to whip them into a frenzy of hatred and loathing for Emmanuel Goldstein and the current enemy superstate. Apparently, it is not uncommon for those caught up in the hate to physically assault the telescreen, as Julia does during the scene.

The film becomes more surreal as it progresses, with Goldstein’s face morphing into a sheep as enemy soldiers advance on the viewers, before one such soldier charges at the screen, submachine gun blazing. He morphs, finally, into the face of Big Brother at the end of the two minutes. At the end, the mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted viewers chant “B-B!…B-B!” over and over again, ritualistically.

Within the book, the purpose of the Hate is said to satisfy the citizens’ subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a wretched, controlled existence. By re-directing these subconscious feelings away from the Oceanian government and toward external enemies (which likely do not even exist), the Party minimizes subversive thought and behavior.

In the first Two Minutes Hate of the book, the audience is introduced to Inner Party member and key character O’Brien. Within the novel, hate week is an extrapolation of the two-minute period into an annual week-long festival.


And from the book itself;

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.



About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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