WHY is 1984 a prophetic novel?

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 main 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.

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? WRITE IT DOWN IN YOUR NOTEBOOK.

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, don’t you think? 😉

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 music, the Eurythmics and Annie Lennox have created 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), an 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.

“Assimilate ubiquitously. DOUBLETHINK. 
To deliberately believe in lies, while knowing they’re false.
Examples of this in everyday life: “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. This is a marketing holocaust. Twenty-fours hours a day for the rest of our lives, the powers that be are hard at work dumbing us to death.
So 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.”


60 thoughts on “WHY is 1984 a prophetic novel?

  1. Apple decided to use this slogan for the spot of the new technology: the Macintosh.
    It is based on the novel “1984” of George Orwell, and there is an analogy between the Big Brother and the IBM (the international Business Machines Corporation).
    I think the message is that this new technology will revolutionise the world, not in a negative way, but in a positive way.
    It won’t be like in the book, an object to control people, but to help them in their daily lives.

  2. At first I didn’t understand the ad, it took me multiple times to get into it.
    Consciously I now can say that the ad criticizes “bad technologies”, and clearly Apple wants to raise its firm to the top in rankings (it sure happened by the end of 2015).
    The commercial isn’t easy to understand but with the right knowledge on Orwell and his book “1984” it can be definitely easier.
    Studying Orwell is a great way to discuss on contemporary society and the role of privacy, since it is the most dibated topic recently.
    I really loved discovering about this book and the movie, but the topic of the dystopic novel wasn’t involving per se. I surely will deepen the topic by my own to better absorb the futuristic world.

  3. I believe the prophetic advertisement of Apple’s Macintosh is that with the new device people can easily inform themselves through internet and through the new computer, so that in a world where there is such control on our lives through tv, radio and so forth, we could in an extremely easy way inform ourselves on what is true so that we could fight against who is above us with the use of knowledge, and ignorance won’t be their weapon anymore.
    I think the advertisement is not comprehensible for those who didn’t read the book “1984” because it is simple to understand the reference to an oppression of the liberty of people caused by the government, through some present elements, even if you don’t know the book or the meaning of totalitarianism, but at the same time it is hard to catch the connection between this and the new product.
    This is why I extremely enjoyed studying Orwell and discovering the hidden meanings of his works. I also loved the newness which characterizes his books because it made me open my eyes even more in front of what the reality of our nowadays society is.

  4. Of course it is not the world we wish, because nobody wants to be controlled, manipulated and to feel like in a cage.
    In my opinion the Apple’s advertisement intends to convince people that the world will not be like in Orwell’s work “1984”, where technology controls humanity. With the new Apple products, people will control technology, using it for reading real news, watching real videos or documentaries, writing and expressing their real opinions without being censored.
    So, to understand the meaning of that advertisement, it is necessary to read the novel or at least to know what it is about.

    • I agree with you Lorena, to understand the Apple’s advertisement we should have an idea of what “1984” talks about. Apple, his products and his spot are just trying to hide what the reality is. Even nowadays we are controlled by the police or by hackers, that know everything about us.

  5. I have never read “1984” in my life, but studying George Orwell made me want to read it, and especially to discover more about his works, also knowing his lifestyle. The novel made me reflect a lot about contemporary issues: in fact, these years technology has been sometimes used inappropriately, especially by young people (using social medias to bully others, for example); it looks like we are all put on trial by beauty standards broadcasted by advertisments. It’s pretty scary if we think about it but I have also another point of view: even though nowadays many people may consider technology a potential enemy for our future, I’m sure instead, that if we learn to use it well, we can create awesome things! Just imagine how wonderful Prezi Presentations are, and how much technology can unify people, in many cases.
    I personally consider “1984” a prophetic novel also because of the fact that nowadays we can see that there are still dictatorships in the world: in North Korea, for example, people are forced to live under strict and brutal laws, which do not permit freedom of thought – for example, people cannot practise christianity. (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/19/brutal-inhumane-laws-north-koreans-forced-live/)
    As regards the advertisment, the choice to show the “Two Minutes Hate” ritual, interrupted by this woman throwing a hammer at the screen is something really original: the purpose is to involve people using the new Macintosh, and I’m sure it worked, because it conveys the message that the introduction of this personal computer gives independence, unlike Orwell’s vision.
    I think that this ad is more understandable if you know what “1984” is about, but knowing the real success the book had during the years, most of the people knew what the plot was like.

    • I totally agree with you Veronica and your comment is really lucid and to the point. Thanks for your optimistic insight on technology, if used wisely

    • I completely agree with all you said Veronica.
      In particular, I think it’s important to highlight the fact that an inappropriate use of technology can lead to negative consequences. As an example, people who work with social media should be really careful and above all aware of the risks connected to them: jobs like blogger or influencer, that are really popular nowadays, show that it is not so rare to receive unpleasant comments. So it’s essential to not be too much involved and always keep in mind that the internet is not the real world.
      Anyway, I believe that with a correct use, technology can be really useful, so we must be able to take advantage from it.

  6. In our society this book doesn’t feel so for from our days. Everything is controlled by somone but the little difference is that in “1984” , it is known that you are spied by big brother, in our society, we are controlled by somone, but we don’t know wo, why and where. In this way this “wo” is watching us and we are living with this fear, for something that even we don’t know, that’s why we won’t live a life being not ourselves.

    • Maybe I got what you want to mean.
      I think in our society we are not controlled by someone in specific, but through social media, spots and programmes TV our brain is influenced and we end up thinking and acting as society considers comfortable. We do this to be accepted by others but in this way we lose our identity. The difference between “1984” and the world today is that in the first one people were force to act in a specific way, instead now we are free to decide.

  7. Technology is a means of communication that has the power to connect people from everywhere in the world.
    The message of Apple’s advertisement is that technology frees people’s minds and stimulates their critical thinking because it allows them to be informed.
    This also represent the contrast with Orwell’s novel, in which knowledge is controlled by who’s got the power.
    For this reason, the idea that “ignorance is strength” is turned up side down by Apple.
    I think that only the people who know the novel “1984” can really understand the meaning of the advertisement, otherwise the connection with it would be hard, or maybe people could have their personal interpretation of it.

    • I agree with you Sara, but in my opinion, as Federico said, images have a great role in the spot and for this reason everybody can understand the meaning. Furthermore it easy to understand for most of the people, because apple has to sell million copies.

  8.  “Apple is always one step beyond the others”.. I totally agree with what you said teacher, because I believe that nowadays, tecnology is an integral part of our life. Currently, there is an unstoppable competition between brands that offer a similar “content” to each other( for example ios and android,ecc.), because they want to be better than the others. Therefore this ad made by Apple is effective for those who doesn’t know the novel because the innovation that It brings with his advertisement it’s a different method to promote his products,
    Using a content that is better than the common advertisment used by the others.

  9. I love George Orwell’s books, especially “1984” which is one of my favorites. For this reason I really appreciated all the videos and I found it really interesting and useful. I didn’t know the spot and in my opinion, it is totally brilliant. It is easy to understand even if you did’t read the novel. With the arrive of “Macintosh” we will be free to do what we want and to think what we want, not submissive like in “1984”. Apple decided to publish this spot during the Super Bowl to bring this message to all kinds of people, graduates, lawyers or farmers, with few and clear images that everybody could understand. With this publicity stunt apple sold milions of “Machintosh”, a totally stellar marketing campaingn.

  10. I found the ad brilliant, although I didn’t completely understand it at first. I feel like it’s necessary to watch it a couple times to really get its powerful meaning. What they wanted to convey is that with the introduction of the new Macintosh, the distopic future imagined in “1984” will be prevented. It won’t happen because with the launch of a personal computer, which is user friendly, everyone could have one and use it however and whenever they wanted to. Hence, there was a significant variation of the power dynamic: people will not be controlled by computers, computers will be controlled by people instead and this is a considerable innovation. What I’m asking myself now is: in which position are we 35 years later? Are we in control or is our smartphone in charge? Technology is surely playing a dominant role in our current lives, and perhaps we see it only as an useful implement, but the fact that we feel stressed over our phone’s battery being low, or the fact that most of us coulnd’t go a day without consulting it, are clear signs of our dependence.

    • I couldn’t agree more on the fact that technology can cause addiction and, when discussing the theme of personal freedom, it surely is necessary to contextualise by talking about the current situation.
      While most people can agree on the fact that technology is useful to a point, it’s also true that the line between useful tool and absolutely necessary tool is thin and blurry. Progress, sadly, doesn’t always hold the positive connotation we normally assign to it: as with any other thing, depending on who controls it or how the people who benefit from it behave, it can also represent a great danger. According to me, the issue with the strong attachment to technology that today’s society is experiencing is that, although smartphones, tablets and PCs can make our life easier in many incredible ways, we’ve become so used to them that it has made us unable to interact socially and to be independent in real life. We’re numbed by the illusion that technology is always going to be there, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The means of research and communication that are available in our modern world are amazing, but I would argue that real freedom is the one we give to ourselves, not only the one made accessible by external resources. If without our phone we aren’t able to make conscious choices, then it’s definitely a problem.
      We can safely assume that George Orwell couldn’t have imagined precisely all the the events and technological revolutions that have defined our age. Despite this, I’m fairly sure that, if he was alive today, he’d be very vocal about this them, given his social advocacy background. If he wrote a book about our addiction to technology I would guess it would be sort of similar to a Black Mirror episode (I’m sure Orwell would love it!).
      What do you think? Would Orwell write about a world without any technology but full of incapable people or a world where technology begins to control our emotions and feelings as well?
      I don’t know which of these options would represent a worse nightmare for us, but I can personally see both options happening.

  11. In the video, you can see a group of people sat in a room, who are hypnotized by the big screen that seems to control the entire mass. Then arrives a woman, who breaks the screen with a hammer, and in this way she frees people from the dark life and she brings back freedom. The ad uses the image of this female figure to represent the coming on the market of the Apple Macintosh personal computer (of which we can see the image on the T-shirt of the protagonist); this can be regarded as a means of saving humanity from the conformism system described in Orwell’s book.
    Moreover, I think that only if you’ve read the novel you can understand and appreciate the ad, in fact you have to know which features characterize the reality and the society of the book because everything is based on these aspects; I have never read the book and I can say that only after having followed and understood the lessons and insights, I can understand a little more this ad. 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 personal computer, and, doing so, easily reach information; all this leads to critical thinking and the sharing of ideas and opinions between each other, that can be considered as the base for a good society.
    A particular point that I would like to figure out is that at the end of the video is shown a slogan, that says “and you will see why 1984 won’t be like “1984”!”: in the “1984”, described by Orwell, people are slaves of The Big Brother (so they couldn’t speak or think in their own way and they were always controlled), instead in the 1984, of the ad, technology will not control people.

    • I agree with you when you say that Apple wants to underline the importance of knowledge, and therefore the dangerous power of ignorance. Thanks to this new computer every person can inform and learn new things compared to what happens in ”1984″ where every person didn’ t have the faculty of acculturate himself and in this way they didn’t grow mentally. Thanks to the arrives of the new computer this could happen

  12. In general I always though that apple was ahead in comparison to the other companies. I didn’t know this ad but it made a great impact on me, above all because in the choice of scenes, music, light, and framing there is a great attention to detail. Certainly this made it a great advertisement, moreover there is the brilliant connection with the society of “1984” by George Orwell.
    I think that in those who had read the book the ad made its “complete” effect but i believe that the message didn’t pass necessarily through the link to the 1984’s society.
    I am convinced that the main message is: Macintosh would revolutionise computing and the future of technology would bring freedom rather than control.
    This is very important because perhaps for the society of the years 80, the technology could represent something too distant and unknown, therefore dangerous.
    But in reality that’s truly a revolution! The Macintosh computer was the first to include a graphical-user interface and it allow even the most inexpert computer user to easily operate the machine with its mouse.
    As you explained to us Prof, we are born with technology and in some cases we can’t imagine a world without that… but thanks to this ad and to the discussion we had in class I could reflect and at the end I understand that I really liked to be there when the first computers were invented… just to feel the emotion for something big was coming.

    • Giulia, you would have like to be there when the first computers were invented … how cute of you to think so. I was there and wasn’t aware of that at the time as much as you aren’t aware now of so many other incredible and revolutionary innovations. Think about it: online music (Spotify…), iPads, interactive boards at school, apps to make videos, readers like Kindle …. you continue the list 🙂

    • I agree with you Giulia! I share your point of view about the fact that you have wrote at the end, that is completely right: it’s so significant how, nowadays, technology affects our lives, in fact every single day we do a lot of different things with technology, but at the same time it becomes something we cannot live without; so it may seem to make us feel more free, but in reality it makes us slaves of it.

  13. I believe that, if a person doesn’t know the novel it is difficult to understand what the video wants to communicate because the person doesn’t have the ability to understand the message.
    In this spot we can see a society that is seated and is hearing what the Big Brother is saying, he is the dictator of the totalitarian state;while they are there, a woman is running with a hammer and when she arrives, she throws it at the television. The woman wants to lead to a breakthrough compared to the situation that was happening in ”1984”,where the society should be subject to the dictator. She wanted to put an end to this tyranny and she wants to create a society more free.
    This spot made by Apple was created to transmit that the new computer that was created was different from those earlier one.
    There is a comparison between the woman that wants freedom and she wants to live in a society different from the previous one, in the same way this spot wants to communicate that this new computer is different from other.
    The spot wants to show us that thanks to the new computer the society will be different from the society of ”1984”,where all people could have their own personality and they could act and behave how they want and when they want.

  14. Speaking with my parents about the spot (better say COMMERCIAL) that Apple used to present, in 1984 during the Super Bowl, the new Macintosh, they told me how this ad has changed the world of advertising.
    My father, as a wild-eyed fanatic of American football, was watching the Super Bowl and he was impressed by this advertisement because he didn’t realize the real meaning seeing as how he was interested in the game.
    He didn’t realize that the girl represents the arrival on the market of the new Macintosh, stylised on the t-shirt of the protagonist, or that with the new computer the world will never be the same.
    Personally, I see the greatness of this spot, even if I considered it as aggressive because of the consideration of the no-Apple users, seen as stupid because I supposed that they are the people who marched in unison.
    I didn’t know about this spot and the novel before this in-depth analysis of George Orwell, but now, while reading the book, I realize how much technology controls us in every aspect of life and if we don’t take into account the risks we will deal with an eternal dependence, who will suppress us for real.

    • I’m very pleased that you spoke with your dad about the commercial and that he’s an American Football lover (like my husband and myself). I also believe that, by developing your critical skills and independent thought, you’ll never become addicted to technology, nor subjected to it.

  15. In order to have a major impact on people the advertisement uses Orwell’s novel “1984” to introduce to the world the new Apple Macintosh computer.
    It’s not easily comprehensible, especially if you haven’t read the book, but it has a great effect. No doubt that it became so known that even nowadays is still remembered.
    Through this representation, the advertisment wants to show us the revolution that this computer will bring in our society. It won’t be like the one in “1984”, there won’t be anybody that controls us and everything we do. With the new Macintosh people can use technology in a free and unlimited way, without the control of someone.
    The revolution is represented in this ad by the girl, which is completely different from all the other men and breaks their routine leaving them shocked.
    The main message that this ad wants to convey us, is that people wouldn’t be “puppets” anymore, they wouldn’t live all the same life but they would become person. Everyone will have his own ideas, opinions and preferences, they would be able to differentiate themselves from the others. Anyway, I believe that with technology our lives started to become submitted to it. We use it almost everyday and we somehow depend on it: few people can actually stay for more than a day without using any kind of technological devices. Obviously the ad needs to show the best image of future in order to catch the bigger amount of buyers, but at the same time I believe that it also made people dream a life that would never be possible. We will never be completely free from superior’s control.

    • I found your comment really brilliant especially where you talk about the main message of the ad. I think it is the right interpretation of the ad. Also when you express that technology submits us, I think you are right because nowadays we are more and more slaves of technology and we don’t manage to live without it. Moreover I completely agree with you and your last lines because the life represented in the ad is a sort of utopia; no one could be really free after the advent of technology because we could be controlled by it all over the world.

  16. This ad wants to convey the message that technology, and in this case Macintosh,will set us free and won’t be what make us slaves of the governament like what happens in the book “1984”.
    I don’t think that this ad is effective only on people who know “1984” because also images play an important role, in fact we can see that before people see the light on the screen, they seem to have a monotonous life that is the same for every one, as we can understand from their facial expression and the uniform they all wear. Instead when they see the light they have a completely new expression of surprise. Here also colors have an important role: the athlete who throws the tool and brings the light wear lively colors that make a big contrast with the white and black of the entire scene. Another important thing is that Macintosh is asociated with light which in my opinion gives it almost a spiritual importance. I also found very interesting that this ad was transmitted during the super bowl commercial that in my opinion is the closest thing to the propaganda in “
    “1984” because super bowl is watched all over the world and by most of the people in USA.

    • You paid a lot of attention to the details!
      I liked your comparison of the Macintosh to the light, as if it were God. So, now I think that they exaggerated a little. 😉
      But I can’t agree with you that even if you didn’t read the novel, you can understand the ad. Like I said in my comment, you are supposed to know at least the plot and to have an idea of the “1984”‘s world.

    • It is so curious how many interpretations of the same advertisement can exist. Your comment got my attention because you concentrated on details I almost didn’t notice like light, colours, facial expressions but I probably should contemplate to understand more deeply the meaning. Thank you for opening my eyes in relation to these hidden features.

  17. I believe that,if a person doesn’t know the novel it is difficult to understand what the video wants to communicate because the person doesn’t have the ability to understand the message.
    In this spot we can see a society that is seated and is hearing what the Big Brother is saying,he is the dictator of the totalitarian state;while they are there,a woman is running with a hammer and when she arrives,she throws it at the television.
    The woman wants to lead to a breakthrough compared to the situation that was happening in ”1984”,where the society should be subject to the dictator.
    She wants to put an end to this tyranny and she wants to create a society more free.
    This spot made by Apple was created to transmit that the new computer,that was created,was different from those earlier ones.
    There is a comparison between the woman that wants freedom and she wants to live in a society different from the previous one,in the same way this spot wants to communicate that this new computer is different from other.
    The spot wants to show us that thanks to the new computer the society will be different from the society of ”1984”,where all people are equal and they seem built as mechanical machines,it would be a society more free and all people could have their own personality and they could act and behave how they want and when they want.

  18. At impact, a person who has never read the book might wonder about the meaning of the ad and why they used those images. In my point of view, the spot, with the presence of the woman who runs away from the police and throws the sledgehammer against the TV where people are watching it, want to make us understand that maybe Apple wants to eliminate the rival of that era, by promoting and attracting the buyer towards their product.
    In my opinion what Apple wants to say to the clients with the slogan “Why 1984 Won’t Be Like 1984″ is that the Apple’s technology would be used for freedom, and not for control. Every purchaser is free to use their product whenever they want. We have to say that most of the predictions made by Orwell are taking place. For example, now we live in a world where technology has achieved an important role in the society. Most of the thing that people used to do in the past with their hands, are now replaced by computers. At this point, technology has affected all the people around the world, and it’ll be difficult to remove it from the society.

    • I totally agree with your interpretation of the ad, I also believe that it’s a message to encourage ourselves to freely express our opinions and thoughts.
      As you said, with the introduction of new computers communications and interactions became easier and technology is now a part of our everyday lives. We can keep in touch with everyone and share our ideas but I also believe that instead of completely avoid the control of someone, technology has enlarged it. As lots of people already said, internet is aware of everything we do and social media too. When we surf the net we are monitored by other people and also posting photos on social networks is a way of making us known to everyone. In order to get completely free from a “Big Brother”’s control we need to use technology in a good and safe way, knowing every risks that it could bring.

  19. I found all the videos really interesting and stimulating, above all the advertisment linked to Orwell’s vision of world in 1984. I think that Apple’s advertisment is revolutionary because it radically changes the way consumers have conceived computers until then. Before the invention of Macintosh, PCs were only technological or bureaucratic objects with auniquely professional utility. With the introduction of a real personal computer that can be used for leisure and entertainment this object assumes a value completely different from the past. Users can use their own computers to do what they actually want and step outside the box; it is no coincidence that Apple’s slogan has Always been “Think different”

    • I totally agree with you, Emma! Sometimes I wonder how life must have been without computers, without believing that you can have any type of content immediately and everywhere: people used to amuse themselves with activities that required more patience, research or thinking, right? Not that these do not exist nowadays, but are they lower in today’s society? After all, though, PCs and technology in general can be used in so many ways, that they really become “personal”, and I also believe that the way people behave towards technology/social media tells a lot about their personality and manners.

  20. I found Apple’s advertisement a brilliant marketing strategy which challenges the costumers with a prophetic provocation. To be understood it requires at least the knowledge of the plot and the main meaning of the novel but at the same time it is also able to intrigue less educated people because of the challenging tone which encourages them to inform about the meaning. I’m firmly convinced that when you inform yourself on topics which are unknown by you, you rarely forget what you have learnt.
    The provocation, which can seem a sort of terrorism, underlines how important is being able to use technology in a proper way because only in this case we can be free to choose for ourselves: our ideas, passions, dreams, knowledge and how it is said in the movie “ Detachment” we can preserve our mind. Apple, with the new Macintosh Computer offered people all the means to use technology correctly because it was easy to use for the time.
    What impress me the most was the torture of Winston Smith in the Ministry of Love with his greatest phobia, mice. What you have told us, prof, about being prudent with giving too much personal informations on our social networks made me reflect a lot and I’ll surely think two times before posting a photo on Instagram and before writing its caption. Thank you for all the materials you have given us in order to comprehend the deeply and difficult meaning on the novel and how it can be also contemporary (as the case of social networks).

    • The first writer we read who warned us about the wrong use of science was Mary Shelley.And now we’re dealing with dystopic novels, revolutionary ads and movies that should make you think about the importance of Critical Thinking and privacy. I like your personal comment very much Paola.

    • Paola, I found really important the fact that you mentioned privacy! I feel like in our current society and with our frequent use of social media, it is fundamental to talk about it, to set some boundaries and have some laws to protect it. I’ve recently watched a TEDTalk about this topic, I’ll link it below. The topic of the video is extremely interesting and scary at the same time: it portrays a close future that won’t be too different from the dystopian society described in 1984. In my opinion the scariest part of that society is that the government can read and control your thoughts, so they have access to the most intimate and personal part of a human being. And the most alarming thing is that with the development of technology, which will eventually be able to read our minds, the monitoring and manipulation of our own thoughts will happen sooner than we think.
      However, on a slight lighter note, I just wanted to emphasize the importance of protecting our privacy, so we will not need a law that will protect our freedom of thought!
      Here’s the video if anyone is interested 🙂 https://youtu.be/AHV_BxlNzmM

    • Hi Paola, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your comment. Indeed, now we live in a society where technology has taken over our lives, and often without realizing it, we wrongly put too much information into social media, because the same information that we make public can be a risk or even used against us. So, I am so with you when you say that we must think more than once before sharing a personal thing with the whole world. Technology has its own benefits but sometimes it can became our first enemy.

  21. The apple ad is the famous George Orwell’s ‘1984’ inspired spot, in which a young athlete, smashes with a hammer a big screen in which a man, who represent the Big Brother speaks to his subjects.
    The audience clearly stand for the manipulated and deceived inhabitant of a dystopia world, instead the athlete portray the coming of the Macintosh as an instrument to free the world from conformism. I think that the ad didn’t want to just promote the Macintosh computer but it was a hymn of free of thought and of expression. Explicitly It’s a call of courage and to fight against every kind of ideology forced from an authority. Technology It’s almost everywhere and in everything that is involved in our daily life. It allows us to access information, communicate, and express ourselves and above all it set us free.
    In my view the ad has a clear message, that can be understood by anyone who didn’t read the novel. Like any ad it has its own message that can lead to the whole point of the spot without being compared to Orwell’s 1984.

  22. “1984” is a television commercial that introduced to the world the first Apple Macintosh personal computer. Over thirty years later people remember this advertisement, which is still considered the turning point for Apple advertising and technology in general.
    Doing some research, we learn that the spot is not only a clear reference to George Orwell’s novel “1984”, but it’s a satire directed at IBM, a multinational information technology company, that in the early 80s was imposing its own Personal Computer on the population. It appeared IBM wanted it all, and Apple perceived this spot as the only opportunity to give this leading company in the market a run for its money.
    But what was the big difference between these computers? And what message does the woman throwing a hammer at the telescreen convey?
    This heroine represents the destruction of conformity and uniformity that the IBM computer forced upon people. Folks at that time were really afraid that the corporate, scary and impersonal computer was going to take over the world and that America would eventually turn into an Orwellian nightmare. What the Macintosh was supposed to show was that this computer would revolutionise and free technology from the Big Brother’s supervision. And 35 years later we can confirm this really happened. After the first Macintosh came out, IBM was forced to transform its computer into a Mac, not the other way around. The Macintosh was, as a matter of fact, the first computer as we know it these days, that is with a mouse and the graphical user interface complete with an icon system. The previous computers, instead, displayed computer graphics in text mode. Text mode applications communicated with the user with command-line interfaces and text user interfaces, making it almost impossible for technology illiterates to use a computer. With the advent of the first Macintosh, everything changed and computers became user-friendly, making it always easier for people to have access to the Internet and to computers in general.
    Having a Macintosh, which didn’t obligate people to learn a series of codes and commands, would free users from conformity and give them the freedom to express themselves and finally set them free.
    I don’t think this ad has the same effect on people who don’t know the novel as it could do on people who have read it. But at the same time, the heroine throwing a hammer at the telescreen shows how the first Macintosh will let people rule over technology and not the other way around.
    What may sound difficult to understand for people who don’t know the novel though is the sentence at the end, that is “1984 won’t be like “1984””. If you don’t know the novel you won’t understand that the telescreen showing the Big Brother talking is a clear reference to totalitarian regimes from the 20th century, but their presence still symbolises the fear of technology taking over the world, making it easier for those who don’t know George Orwell’s novel to understand the message conveyed.
    In my opinion understanding the message wasn’t that difficult, also because I know the novel, but the last sentence needed a little background on the history of computing since I’ve never used a computer without a graphical user interface complete with an icon system.

    • I really like your comment Jessica! It’s so interesting the link that you found between Apple and IBM and also the fact that the Macintosh computer was the first to include a graphical-user interface complete with an icon system, I didn’t know about that!

  23. I think what the ad wants to convey is that in a hypothetical world where everyone seems to have conformed to everyone else and is under the government’s control, what society needs is for someone to break through and rise up and that’s probably what the Macintosh is supposed to be: Apple wants their product to represent freedom, originality, the possibility for everyone to express themselves, gain new knowledge so that they can grow as people, become a version of themselves that is unique and doesn’t conform to society and does not have to feel subjected to the government’s power to a point where they don’t even have the freedom to think however they want. Then again, maybe the people in the ad were supposed to represent the competition, while the athlete was Apple, who was able to distinguish themselves with their original product that can change the way people view the world. This has to be the ad’s biggest fault: it can be easily misinterpreted, if not totally cryptic for those who have never heard of Orwell’s novel. Sure, the cinematography gives the idea, but the slogan can be pretty confusing to some and, although very catchy, doesn’t really get the point across with every member of the audience. Other than that, this commercial is very clever and well made and really makes you think about the way technology is viewed under a different light today, since now that it’s starting to take over many people are starting to see it as more of a threat than a useful tool.

    • Yes you got it right.Still, as the ad was made then same year as 1984 I do not think it might have been easily misinterpreted. It may happen more easily now, to contemporary VIEWERS who ignore the literary and social (what the new Mackintosh meant) background, I believe.

    • I totally agree with you Gaia!
      How can we even gain our originality and above all our own identity in a world without freedom? Following the crowd is easy and being the same as the people in the crowd it doesn’t take any effort, but would you live in a world without diversity? My parents who are my biggest inspiration, they always taught me not to follow the crowd and they constantly remind my siblings and i a quotation: ‘ A man who walks alone, is likely to go further than the crowd and achieve originality and big goals in life’. This quote led me to improve myself everyday and it made me realize that my diversity have increase my creativity, new perspective on old ideas and it led me to experience that i wouldn’t have otherwise even tried. I believe that diversity makes the world a more interesting place to live.

  24. Apple is known for always having the most clever ideas regarding advertising their products. This peculiar commercial from 1984 made an explicit reference to George Orwell’s homonymous novel. The main message of the commercial is that technology won’t enslave us, but it will set us free. How? Well, first off, computers specifically allow us to surf the web, where literally everything can be found, seen, written. We are free to express ourselves, look for the knowledge we want to acquire, but also be entertained. Nothing is impossible on the internet, which makes our technology way more different than “1984„’s, because there people were even obliged to learn Newspeak, a particular surrogate of the English language that restricted the number of words existent, in order to limit people’s minds.
    Another feature that came (and is coming) with the increasing use of technology is the amount of free time. I’m talking about the time that men don’t have to spend doing all the tasks that machines have replaced, and this amount of spare time necessarily needs to be reinvented into new jobs, since many of the traditional ones are bound to disappear. Technology will free us from the world we have always known, and will make society evolve into something new.
    I believe the add is very effective even for those who don’t really know the novel, but have heard of it. Probably people who have never read it nor know the story don’t really get the whole point, but the commercial itself has an independent message that works even without being related to Orwell’s novel.

    • I found your remark on free time very interesting Margherita. In fact it’s been proven that most of the jobs you’ll be offered when finishing university, do not exist yet.

    • What you said about technology freeing us really made me think. In topics like this words really weigh a lot: while technology has really made our lives easier, would its complete dominance over our lives really “free” us? That’s debatable. The internet and machines are something we have unlearned to live without and that has taken away a part of our independence as individuals. Of course as an internet enthusiast I am a strong supporter of technology and it can be an extremely useful tool, but (and with this I recognize my own problem) it can also enslave us in a way and that is what we should try to avoid.

    • I agree with you Margherita when you claim that technology has changed everything around us, making everything go faster and allowing us to increase our spare time. But at the same time, I believe that even if the aim of technology is always to speed processes and make our lives easier, we are never satisfied and we tend to always want more.
      This feeling of never accomplishing enough is also something that we experience on a daily basis, also at school, where teaching methods have started to change and adapt themselves to the existence of technology. Like never before, especially when we study languages, we can practice and get better even at home, something that has never been possible when our parents went to school.

  25. This ad is an allegory of the predictions of the novel 1984 written by George Orwell. 1984 should not be like 1984 because Apple introduces the new Macintosh, which isn’t a fiction like “1984”, but it’s reality. This introduction would free men and after it the possibility of totalitarianism would become a utopia. However nowadays it seems to be the opposite because some descriptions made by Orwell about the future are taking place in our world. In fact now we are slaves of technology and we are always spied by institutions, which control us and know all our information. Even if the ad was for educated people, I don’t think that without a background of the novel people can understand perfectly the ad because it’s a bit difficult to be understood.

    • Hi Martina, I would like to add something to your comment.
      I agree with you when you say that we are slaves of technology, in particular I think that us young people are addicted to social media. In fact we really like to use instagram because we can watch other’s people life and in particular of those who has suceed in it like models, influencers, actresses… But in reality we don’t know at all these people and we admire them only for their appearance and beauty. The problem is that if we use too much them, social media could make reality and fiction difficult to separate. The worst thing is that some girls would be like famous people (would have the same body, face, hair, clothes, everything) and the desire to be like someone else create in many cases a lot of hate and insecurities. We can read very easily the millions of criticisms and judgments written by people under the photos of whatever famous figures and sometimes they are very very bad. And at the same time these tipe of comments make feel the person in object wrong and unsuitable. For this reason in the last few years there are many cases of anorexia among young girl.
      All this is very sad, but currently this is the situation. So.. in conclusion in my opinion the best thing is use internet and social media but with judgment, only in this way we could control technology and not the opposite.

  26. Unlike many ads that we see airing on TV these days, which in my opinion are a bit dumbed-down in order to get everyone over-excited about new products without leaving room to question the actual value of the thing that is being advertised, I appreciate the thought-provoking nature of this Apple ad. The message isn’t simply “our product is great”, but instead the whole advertisement feels like a big disclaimer that says “our product IS great when used right”.
    I’m fond of the fact that Apple, even before a time as the current one, which largely capitalizes from our interactions and habits through technology, was able to give a message that has almost been prophetic: information must be used to gain freedom, not to be controlled.
    I do, however, think that the message was a bit cryptical and not accessible to everyone, as you definitely do need to know the story to understand and appreciate the message and nature of the ad fully. That being said, it might actually be useful to use a concept that isn’t known to everyone, because it makes people curious and gets attention. That’s good, not only because it might get people to do a bit of research and even read the book, but because it’s impressive such a powerful brand would risk being misunderstood (therefore possibly losing revenue) to get a point across.
    I’m happy that I was introduced to this ad, and I honestly applaud Apple’s bravery.

    • Thanks Giulia for your interesting comment. I’m with you when you say that the present time capitalises ON our technological habits. Still, keep also in mind that Apple’s target, in terms of customers, was “pretty educated” people, who could understand the hidden message. That being said my question is still unanswered. WHY, with the advent of the new Mac, “1984 wouldn’t have been like 1984?”

      • Sorry, I’ll elaborate on what I meant 🙂
        As I mentioned, technology as portrayed in 1984 was used solely to control, manipulate and deceive people. What the Apple ad wants to convey is that, with their kind of technology people are able to get informed and be free instead. Knowledge is undoubtedly the most important tool we can use to step towards self-awareness, independence and freedom, and this advertisement wanted to convey just that: with technology you need to make a choice. You can either buy into whatever is presented to you (e.g. fake news), or you can make a conscious choice and use it to your advantage.
        This surely plays on “ignorance=strength” slogan of The Party, and it is particularly relevant, as you mentioned in your previous post on this topic, in the current political climate, where information isn’t valued as it should be.

        • I’m glad that you mentioned that there is a large difference between buying every source of information you may find and distinguish from what instead is true.
          I think this is equally important, if not more, of having a device that permits you to learn new things, because it is clear that in the great world of the internet you can find so many of them (fake news/false statements) that the new computer would became source of more ignorance if not used correctly.

    • Thanks to you Giulia I could finally understand the meaning of the ad, as I didn’t get the precious part where you mention that it isn’t just a great product, but is great when used right.
      I definitely agree with you when you say that ads nowadays are a little bit “dumbed-down”, but not everyone can easily come up with a good idea that can actually involve the deeper imagination and curiosity of the viewer.
      Though, I want you to reflect on how much ads have improved and changed.
      Watch this video of the famous yeast Bertolini and think of how much things have changed (there still is that background story that has nothing to do with the actual product, lol) https://youtu.be/dbm0qiyq_lI

  27. I just would like to say that I really enjoyed every link that you mentioned between the book written by Orwell and the several contemporary works of our days.

      • What I really found interesting about this author was the ability of his thoughts to be incredibly current and adaptable to every reality we can be living on. And that’s probably why it can be linked to numerous works of our days. But the use that Apple made of it was able to make it had somenthing ‘more’ that the other ads do not have. We can perceive their effort not to fall into the banal ( as much as their product) introducing to the big masses something more researched.
        I totally agree with their decision to broadcast to the public a message of a higher level, but it’s also true that creating this kind of advertising Apple’s purpose was to reach in some way a selected range of receivers.
        However, despite of the possibility of a misunderstanding in the communication of the deepest meaning, it certainly induced people to think about it and about the reason why this new release would have allowed it to be the ‘new’ 1984.

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