Orwell part 1: With my presentation in class, you entered a new world, a totalitarian state as foreseen by George Orwell’s 1984. “Don’t speak, don’t show your emotions! Big Brother is watching you!“ The following video is a very effective supplement for studying 1984, with footage taken from the movie by M.Radford.
The next video is a quick and easy 1984 synopsis, analysis, and discussion of the major characters and themes in the novel.
The man who wrote this prophetic novel was George Orwell. Watch this video to integrate the biography you have studied in your text-book.
To integrate the extracts you have in your textbook, read here some more chapters from the novel 1984.
As, in these days, the term “Orwellian” is rather abused, I found very interesting and knowledgeable the following video by TedEd. After watching it can you now define what the correct meaning of the word ORWELLIAN is?
Here’s the trailer of 1984, the movie from Orwell’s novel. Is this the future we want?
I now cannot help embedding the stunning, mind-blowing Apple’s commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh Computer to the world by explicitly referring to Orwell’s novel. It was shown & broadcasted during the Superbowl in 1984. Apple is always one step beyond the others! 😉
What do you think is the message of the advertisement?
Is the ad effective also for those who don’t know the novel or does it need a certain amount of…education? LEAVE A COMMENT.
One of the best novels I’ve read in the last years is without any doubts, The Circle by Dave Eggars. (2013) If you like this genre you must read it, I highly recommend it. (The New York Times’ review).We’ll watch it together 🙂
Last but not least for those who love the Eurythmics and Annie Lennox as much as I do, theirs is the soundtrack of the movie and the song SEXCRIME. Enjoy!
Lyrics: Can I take this for granted/With your eyes over me?/In this place/This wintery home/I know there’s always someone in/Sexcrime/Sexcrime
Nineteen eighty four/And so I face the wall/Turn my back against it all/How I wish I’d been unborn/Wish I was unliving here/Sexcrime/Sexcrime
Nineteen eighty four/I’ll pull the bricks down/One by one/Leave a big hole in the wall/Just where you are looking in.
I want to end this post by adding an excerpt from the movie “Detachment“ (2011) American drama film about the high school education system directed by Tony Kaye, the director of American History X. I think this scene is fantastic to remind us of the importance of education & knowledge to avoid the dangers of a totalitarian society and regime, like the one depicted by G.Orwell. It can also help you comment & reflect on the novel we’re reading in class and Apple’s advertisement.
“WE ALL NEED THIS, GIRLS, TO DEFEND AND PRESERVE OUR OWN MIND!!”
Wow, after watching the ad and after reading my dear classmates comments I changed my mind a lot of times.
Well, in my opinion this advertisement has quite a powerful message with or without knowing the existence of the novel 1984.I affirm this because nowadays we are used to ads and every day we are immersed by them, while we’re surfing on the net, while we’re shopping or maybe also when we’re enjoying our holidays…they’re everywhere. Previously I said that this ad is very effective also for those who don’t know the novel and that’s all thanks to our ability to read between the lines. We can see this girl holding a hammer (let’s underline the fact that the main figure is a girl while the others are all man) while running to the big screen that seems to control the mass. Without knowing the novel we immediately link the girl as the one that will bring change, the one that has the power to lead others to freedom and the one that has all the means… This girl represents the difference and that is all purposely wanted by Apple. With this we can think that Apple is represented by the girl and the mass is probably us, the company shows us that they are our saviour that has the power to free our souls, maybe from other devices…
But, on the other hand, if we know the novel, we think in a completely different way. We probably think that the big screen is the dictator and it represents technologies. This big screen is like the Big Brother on 1984 that controls us and we are the uniform mass that is brainwashed, Apple is represented by the girl, the good one and it says that technology will not control humans because we have our saviour, Apple (like my classmate Alessandra P. said).
So, at the end I think that we are all the same and we want to be the difference so this comercial says that (as my classmates Iris P. said)we can be the difference with Apple.
I love your way of thinking, Lisa! Actually, you pointed out a great interpretation of the ad which I hadn’t even thought about.
In my comment I wrote that, for me, anyone might get what the ad is about. But now, as a matter of fact, you made me change my mind (just slightly, therefore do not claim victory! ahah).
1. In my opinion the message of the ad, broadcasted by Apple, is obviously that the new Macintosh won’t be a defective and manipulating computer, as instead the technologies from other brands are. This means that the brand-new computer (personified in the video by the girl) will definitely obstruct and contrast the “bad technologies” (as called by Steve Jobs), represented by the Big Brother, in order to finally be able to dedicate ourselves to rise personal world’s conceptions and, in this manner, to make people independent human beings and free from outer manipulations.
But I ask myself, is this really conceivable? Is it truly possible, nowadays, to be totally free to think with our own minds and make our own decisions, without being influenced by what other people choose or do? I’m not really sure about it… Mass media, newscast, the same news that surface on our iPhones are a clear example that all the information, the knowledge that we search and look for are chosen by the government. Freedom of press is guaranteed, of course, but if we notice crime and politic news are more frequent than, for example, tabloids or gossip column.
2. I completely agree with what Erica said, about the absolute comprehension of the spot. Indeed, I also think that almost all of us can understand the “superficiality” of the ad (which is the simple desire to make people aware that a new technology is coming soon), but only the ones who have read the book “1984” will comprehend the depth of this message.
Michelle, believe me… I ask myself the same question! 🙂 Unfortunately I totally agree with your answer.
I cannot but admit that I didn’t think so last year. Actually, I tried to express myself to be as free as possible, but now I’ve been changing my mind. I’m learning that we cannot be totally free. Very often we just deceive ourselves to be it, even if..inside of us… we know we are not.
Also those who try not to be sucked in by technology, cannot escape from its power.
I really do not think rejecting it might be an effective way to free ourselves from the grips of technology.
As my classmates said, in this advertisement Apple underlines the differences between 1984 in the real world and in the Orwell’s book.
In the real world there aren’t any kind of totalitarianism, people are free, they are not controlled, they can do and say whatever they want and especially they can create their own future. On the contrary in the Orwell’s book there is a huge lack of emotions, love, relationship and in general a huge denial of freedom.
Moreover, in the Orwell’s book computers could be seen as something negative (because people were controlled by screens and in some way technology denies their freedom), on the other hand, in the “real” 1984 computers are considered an instrument of progression.
In conclusion I want to say that I agree with Beatrice when she says that technology doesn’t feel us totally free because we constantly depend on it (sometimes even too much) but I think that Apple with this ad just wants to share with us a message of progression and innovation and with the arrival of the new technology it incites us to improve.
I think that this video is effective also for those who don’t know the novel, and as almost all my classmates said, of course the message would be clearer for those who know the Orwell’s book, but I think that everyone could understand the message that Apple wants to show.
1. Watching the video, I think that the main messages are the power of technology and the change that a company like Apple wants to bring in human life. This shift is clear in the advertisement, where we see a mass of human beings, grey and expressionless people that look like a heap of zombie, and at the same time a young determined woman. The “zombie” express the obscure and sad past, controlled by a kind of dictator; while the girl, that represents Apple and the new technology, shows that we can break the rules and enter in a brighter future. Another important theme is freedom, that is underlined by the comparison between the year 1984 and the Orwell’s novel “1984”. With the final sentence of the ad, Apple wants to reassure people that there will be no more a strict control over human minds. This happened in the past, in 1984, when new computers and technologies appeared like the only means to be free and independent. But, as the years passed, the things are changed and now, unconsciously, we are again under control of something powerful and from which we depend on like internet, social networks and modern technologies.
2. I completely agree with the other Iris 🙂 about the effectiveness of the ad. I’m in the group of those who haven’t read the novel and before having talked about it in class, watching videos and discussing about the themes, I had heard the title “1984”, but nothing more. Without all these acquired information I would find quite difficult to understand the message of the spot. Also, thanks to my classmates and their comments, I could grasp every shade of the message that on my own I didn’t get.
In my opinion, thanks to the images and even to the sounds, the video is very powerful and meaningful.
All of these details are used in order to render clear the message, or rather the comparison between the situation of that time and the 1984’s world that we can see in Orwell’s book.
In fact, in Orwell’s masterpiece people live under the control of a dictator. He has all the power and for this he can decide what people can know and even how the facts are diffused between the population. In other words, people are kind brainwashed.
With the last sentence, Apple wants to underline that this new computer will bring improvements in people’s daily life.
The Macintosh is see as a sign of freedom, an important value that in “1984” of Orwell was forbidden.
Freedom understood as freedom of thought and action, guaranteed by the fact that owning this new machine means be more independent.
To sum up, I think that without the knowledge on Orwell and his works only few people will have ben hit by the message that the advertising wanted to convey. It’s a pity that not everybody is aware of the true message, or however, the true meaning of this advertisement.
I totally agree with what Iris commented.
I believe this ad is very powerful and meaning, but inevitably you must have read the book “1984”, or at least know what it concerns. The book shows an utopian future world, that you hardly conceive as possible and near, so if you really want to grasp the meaning of the last sentence of the ad ” And you’ll see how 1984 won’t be like “1984″ and contemporary deeply understand the whole advertising, you have to know what features and peculiarities characterize the reality and the society of the book.
Apple with this ad wants to underline the importance of knowledge, and therefore the dangerous power of ignorance, in fact with the new Macintosh everybody can finally use a computer, and easily reach informations. Free knowledges and infos promote critical thinking and the sharing of thoughts, that’s what I consider the base for a healthy society.
Macintosh can guarantee a different society from the one of 1894, because it provides a big amount of infos for everyone, but at the same time, with the advent of internet, it became more difficult to distinguish true knowledges from the false ones, as well as in 1984. In conclusion I personally see the computer as a double-edged sword.
Yes Giorgia the problem of “fake news” you highlighted is crucial today, especially for your generation and only the development of critical thinking can save you.
I completely agree with the conclusion Beatrice came to. In fact, I sincerely didn’t give so much weight to the fact that Apple wanted to give people a device with which they could have been finally free. (So thanks because you have made me open my eyes… Maybe I should have read the whole – in particular the figure of the girl – better but still…) I focused more on the “massification” inside the advertisement and the tendency to be too much absorbed by technology and technological devises in general. (every day a new one.)
In my opinion, the message, as it’s being said at the end of it, is to present “Macintosh” as a big step for the world since it represents a new innovative device never seen before and able to “make 1984 look like it is not actually 1984”. In other words, this advertisement wants people to be aware of the important development of technology in order to be able to participate in it by buying the new products, being up-to-date and eventually conforming to the mass and its trends so that the wide appeal of the company increases.
I personally think that this advertisement is effective above all, for those who have read 1984 or that have studied/heard something about it. In fact, those specific intrinsic meanings are more readable by those who know the main issue/theme with which 1984 deals.
On the other hand, I believe that if Apple decided to do such an advertisement, it knew its power and ability to provoke strong feelings and reactions deep down and its ability to attempt people and make them ask themselves questions. (And we know how good Apple is at doing this ;))
yes Francesca and nowadays Advertising is a Science (and a University Major) with a history and rules. This ad has made history. “There was certainly no mistaking the target of the 60-second commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, whose 1982 film Blade Runner had the dystopian tone the agency was looking for.”
Read more at https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/history-advertising-no-186-apples-1984-commercial/1426782#w11Dig3E07JuKZoR.99
1. As Iris P. said, I would like to start with the final sentence of the video: “And you’ll see how 1984 will not be like “1984” “. Surely, this sport is a clear “homage” to G. Orwell, more precisely to his novel 1984, where, contrary to what Apple wants to show, describes a dystopian future (or reality).
I share with Serena the fact that “this spot symbolizes the coming of the personal computer as the way to the exit from the conformism because people would have the power to express themselves freely. ”
2. I think that the ad is effective only for those who KNOW the novel, so yes, we need a certain amount of education:). As Valentina has already said, the gray colors make the idea of “bad technology”, that is compared to the Big Brother of G. Orwell (the comparison with this character, for those who are unfamiliar with the novel, it might be difficult to understand), which will be overcome from the new Apple computer.
1. Like my classmates say in the comments above, the advertisement wants to focus on the fact that the new computer of Apple is the latest revolution in technology, since it is easier to use and since it can make people more “independent”.
But I still think that the main goal of this advertisement is to…advertise.
What I mean is that, yes, there’s this young girl, who frees the people from a monotonous and grey life. But I have this sensation that the screen she breaks with the hammer represents also the computers of the competition. Maybe Apple took advantage of the fact it was the year 1984, so the people who knew about George Orwell’s novel would say: “Oh, that’s an erudite quotation! That’s a clever move!” And if an advertisement enters into your mind, you are more likely to go out and buy the product.
Today we see all the companies compete in order to make the most original advertisement. It always end in the ridiculous.
It’s a marketing holocaust, because there’s nowhere to hide from the advertisements. It’s annoying, because they want to shape you and make you conform to the rest of society.
“If you don’t have this, you are a loser.” they seem to say.
2. Just like Iris P. said, I believe that people can “guess” one aspect of the advertisement (the new Apple computer is the latest revolution in technology, it will change everything, ecc…), but they have more a general point of view of it. Only if you read the novel you can understand and appreciate the advertisement in all its hues.
So, I’m really proud of having given you the opportunity to know 1984. yes Giorgia, as it’s an ad, it’s meant for “selling” its product but it’s also true that some ads are pieces of arte while others suck. This one has made history!
1. The advertisement begins with these words “Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology.” These words make me understand that in 22 January 1984 (the day of the ad), people were in front of an innovation. Furthermore it was a special day: the advertisement was shown and broadcasted during The Superbowl, so millions of people had watched it.
I think the message of this advertisement wants to highlight 2 fundamental aspects: first of all we know that it introduces the Apple Macintosh computer to the world by explicitly referring to Orwell’s novel. So first point, the video shows why 1984 won’t be like “1984”: In Orwell’s 1984 people are completely controlled by The Big Brother, and here I introduce the second aspect of the advertisement: in 1984 people can use technology (in this case the first macintosh) in a free and unconditional way, without The Big Brother’s control, while in “1984” they couldn’t speak, think, write, how and what they wanted and they were “watched” always and everywhere. I believe the second aspect of the message is a consequence of the first one.
Now I would like to spend some words about the excerpt from the movie “Detachment”. The teachers talks about 1984 and doublethink, asking his students what “assimilate ubiquitously” means. A student answers “always absorbing everything everywhere all the time”. So doublethink is “to deliberately believe in lies, while knowing they are false”. Evey day we have examples of it and the teacher mentions some of them and I love the definition he gives for our society: “a marketing holocaust”. I totally agree with his last words “To stimulate our own imagination, to cultivate our own consciousness, our own belief systems. We all need skills to defend, to preserve, our own minds.” Education and knowledge are fundamental to avoid the dangers of a totalitarian society and regime.
In “1984” there is a totalitarianism, where people were psychologically manipulated, like the teacher says:”Twenty-fours hours a day for the rest of our lives, the powers that be are hard at work dumbing us to death.” , talking about the current society.
2. From one side I agree with Iris, I don’t think the ad is totally effective for those who didn’t read the novel, but to the other side I agree with Serena and Alessandra, too. In my opinion people who don’t know the novel can’t assimilate completely the message because the video, like Iris said, places Apple (progress and innovation in technology) as the destroyer of a totalitarian regime, as an enemy of self-repression and oppression.
The advertisement opens with a dystopic, industrial setting with a blue and grey atmposphere; people are ambigous and strange, they look like someone paralyzed and hypnotized. They are in contrast to the red-shots of the woman who is running. “Dark people” symbolizes the “bad technology” and its effects on them, while the “light woman” is Apple’s innovation and its strenght to realize human’s wishes, by offering them an instrument through which they can be responsable and independent. I believe the end of the ad could be effective for those who didn’t read the novel, with these words: “And you’ll see how 1984 won’t be like “1984”; here people can notice implicitly how Orwell’s 1984 was: Apple wanted to make people self-responsable inventing the macintosh, while in “1984” the Big Brother through the telescreen, was responsable for people’s mind.
Furthermore there is an element which refers directly to “1984”: the face of the actor David Graham on the big screen. It reminds the Big Brother speaking and watching through the telescreen.
In the end I just want to talk about the power expressed by the woman and make a comparison with the teacher’s lesson in “Detachment”. He states “Our young men today are being told that women are whores, bitches, things to be screwed, beaten, shit on, and shamed”. In the past women had been always underrated and still today in some countries. The society often makes them inferior and with no power. The runner of the ad expresses the freedom and independence of people from the higher autorities and I believe launching this message through a woman is even more effective.
Brilliant comment Valentina and I totally agree with you. It’s not a coincidence that the revolutionary human is a woman.
I really like your comment Vale! 🙂 and above all the last part where you talked about the importance of the woman
Very nice comment Vale! You expressed point after point everything that should be said!
In my opinion Serena, Alessandra and Iris have written the same I was thinking of about Apple advertisement in which the company of Steve Jobs wanted to represent a different future from the one depicted by George Orwell. You can start your revolution with the new Macintosh, free your imagination and your own ideas !
Instead I would to dwell on the second video speaking about doublethink.
I’ve already seen this video years ago on facebook and I’ve been fascinated by the words of Adrien Brody. At that time I didn’t know anything about Orwell, 1984 or philosophical messages. Now, having studied philosophy of the second half of ‘800, this video immediately reminds me of Nitzsche. I thought about “models” in Nitzsche, models that society imposed to us every day, like the ones mentioned in the speech of the teacher : Oh, I need to be pretty to be happy. I need surgery to be pretty. I need to be thin, famous, fashionable. Our young men today are being told that women are whores, bitches, things to be screwed, beaten, shit on, and shamed.” We live every day in doublethink without realizing it and I completely agree with the end of the speech : ”to defend ourselves, and fight against assimilating this dullness into our thought processes, we must learn to read. To stimulate our own imagination, to cultivate our own consciousness, our own belief systems. We all need skills to defend, to preserve, our own minds.”
We are every day overwhelmed by technological devices , into a fake world, like in a bubble so we have lost our skill to create our own ideas, our “models” , scared that our “projective image” could be mocked, because goes against the big popular mass.
Well why not use the technological devices to express your own ideas in a creative way? That’s what they are meant for 😉
I found the video as much inspiring as you. Plus, the association to Nietzsche was inevitable, you rocked mentioning him, I would have done it too. Do you agree with me that the outcome is the research of the famous “io-sorgivo”? That it doesn’t necessarily means being different by the others (because we are just so similar in our attempt to feel distinguished by the others) …
During the video the moment that strikes you most is with no doubt when the girl throws the hammer to the screen.
Does it have any meaning? Of course it has. That screen symbolises mental imprisonment, the brainwashing people were subjected to and the total deprivation of freedom of thought, speech and expression.
What kind of message does Apple want to communicate?
Well, the 1984 of the book paints the world described above: no freedom, no love, no joy.
Quite the contrary, the 1984 portrayed by the Apple’s ad shows how the world really might look like in that year, which is exactly the opposite of that totalitarian regime.
Thanks to the Macintosh Computer they offer a “technological freedom” which couldn’t but influence the real personal one.
This is the reason why the Apple compares the 1984 of the book, with its totalitarianism, and the 1984 of a more developed era.
Moreover, I believe Apple conceived a very effective spot, which seems to be understandable also by those who do not know Orwell’s novel, like Serena said.
It is clear that people who read it or studied it might get more shades, but more or less the message is pretty simple to understand.
You see lonely people sat all in the same room, enchanted by the screen they are staring at. Then a woman, symbol of the development Apple might entail, breaks the monitor, which means she brings back freedom.
Actually, to end with what I personally think, I do not believe we are totally free thanks to technology. I mean, we can do millions of things, such as researches, online games and other forms of entertainment, but at the same time it becomes something we strongly depend on and we cannot live without.
When we wake up in the morning, the first thing we do is check the phone, which is also the last thing we do before falling asleep.
During the day we go to school or to work, we go out with friends, we have lunch, dinner, you name it, always with our mobile phones or laptops with us.
Therefore, in conclusion, we can see the development of technology as something which makes us feel free, but that simultaneously ties us down.
And you know what is the worst part? That we believe in its almost total benefits powers, “while knowing they’re false”.
* And do you know what is the worst part?
I agre with you as regards the addiction to technology and feel guilty: even your teacher asks you to write digital comments! LOL It’s always up to you my dear, finding the right balance between freedom & slavery 🙂
I really share your point of view and I think that what you grasped was exactly the message Apple wanted to give. Also, I find at the same time dreary and so true the fact that checking the phone is the first thing we do when we wake up and the last when go to bed. In the past people used to think of somebody or something to do the day after.
Don’t you find it ironic when, while we’re all saying that the connection between the novel and the ad doesn’t exist (because the message that the ad clearly brings is of “freedom” and “free self-expression”), we pretend to feel free by technological devices ? It’s paradoxical because we are submitted to these new technologies just as the citizen of Airstrip One are to Big Brother. And what is even more funny, is that at least we know we’re living oppressed by technology but we keep acting like this !!!
Of course I agree with the comments of my schoolmates Serena and Alessandra. I think they’ve pointed out some great messages that Apple wanted to express.
The main one is given by the writing «And you’ll see how 1984 won’t be like “1984”», meaning that the year 1984 won’t be any similar to the book of the same name thanks to the innovation and new technology that Apple invented and brought to every human. Apple wants to make everyone capable and in charge of their own life. People don’t want to be submitted to someone else, don’t want to feel incapable, useless, ignorant and always depending on someone to do simple things. Apple is granting their wishes, is accomplishing their life, is offering them an instrument through which they can take action and be responsible for them. Apple is giving them power and at the same time it’s empowering itself! (Very smart)
But in spite of what has been written before me, I don’t think the ad is effective for those who didn’t read the novel. I mean of course you can gather that Apple is newness in a outdated environment, it brings light and colour to the grayness of life. Still, people who don’t know the novel cannot really absorb the intrinsic meaning of the ad, which places Apple (progress in technology) as the destroyer of totalitarianism and tyranny, as the solution to self-repression and oppression too.
In the end, I just wanted to say that I really feel the “marketing holocaust” to which we’re subdued. It’s clearly up to us to free ourselves from the subjugation of society.
I totally agree with what you have wrote at the end of your comment. It’s so impressive how, nowadays, technology influence our life. It makes us believe that we are freer,instead it is just enslaving us and making dependent on it.
Outstanding comment Iris. And your reference to the “Marketing Holocaust” of Doublethink I think is getting worse and worse for your generation but for mine too. Thats why I strongly believe that the main goal of education is giving you the MEANS to think in an independent & CRITICAL way. Sometimes, when I read some of your comments, I fell I’ve somehow accomplished my role, some other times I feel like I’ve failed. 😉
What you wrote is extremely enlightening, clear and direct. I especially agree when you say that you do not find the ad effective for those who didn’t read the novel. It’s easy to understand that the introduction of Macintosh in 1984 means something more positive than the subject of the novel “1984” of George Orwell, but trying to find a connection between the two without even knowing what the novel is about, it’s quite impossible. It’s like cooking pasta without boiled water…
Great comment by the way!!!!
1- I totally agree with Alessandra when she says that Apple want to “reassure people that 1984’s Macintosh will be different from Orwell’s 1984 system because the roles will be flipped”.
In my opinion, 1984’s Macintosh is the perfect reference to the idea of Steve Jobs: making Apple an innovative technology and contrasting the “bad” technologies represented in the video by the image of the Big Brother. This spot symbolizes the coming of the personal computer as the way to exit from the conformism because people would have the power to express themselves freely.
2-Yes, it is. Even if people didn’t read the novel “1984” they can understand the message in the video. It is quite clear the difference between the mass (dark colour, inexpressive faces) that represent the bad technologies and the woman (the light in the darkness, the power to overcoming) who symbolized Apple.
I’m not that sure that computers haven’t created a new kind of Conformism. Can’t wait for the presentation of The Circle by Francesca!
1) I guess Apple first wanted to banish the “collective stereotype” of technology as something you have to use very carefully and with a particular amount of knowledge, and second to reassure people that 1984’s Macintosh will be different from Orwell’s 1984 system because the roles will be flipped:
The computer won’t be ruling on humans, instead people will seize the power to express freely. There won’t be brainwashing nor any control on human’s soul, barriers will definitely break down to let the revolution begin.
2) Yes the ad is powerful and it allows the message to be heard efficiently. Of course knowing the plot of the novel allows you to capture the message more quickly thanks to a series of clues (Big Brother on screen, equal people, lack of colours, etc.).
But in any case, the message of technological revolution and the abolition of 1984 system are immediately visible.
Do you think computers now aren’t somehow ruling over “some” humans? is the total freedom of self-expression on social networks always worth?
It is quite entangling trying to understand to who you are particularly referring with “some” humans” hahahahahah just kidding prof 🙂
Actually I found extremely interesting the second question: I think it would have many pros as many cons…