George Orwell New Mexico exhibit bares ‘doublespeak’ legacy

US-Travel-George-Orwell-New-Mexico, 2nd Writethru

code:7

Update:Adds dropped word in 4th to last paragraph. With AP Photos.

See Photos RPRC100-621—2019—185151, RPRC103-114—2019—181807, RPRC108-114—2019—181802, RPRC106-1022—2019—040559, RPRC109-1024—2019—030124, RPRC102-1024—2019—030300, RPRC105-1024—2019—030012, RPRC107-1024—2019—030107, RPRC101-1024—2019—025933, RPRC104-1024—2019—025949

INDEX: Lifestyle, Travel

HL:George Orwell New Mexico exhibit bares ‘doublespeak’ legacy

By Russell Contreras

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Those were the slogans of the Party in George Orwell’s 1949 novel “1984” that allowed the superstate of Oceania to keep its population under control. The Thought Police thwarted dissent. The Ministry of Truth promoted lies. The Ministry of Love tortured lovers.

Those dystopian warnings about the fake becoming the gospel have shaped the minds of generations since they appeared in print more than a half-century ago. And now a new exhibit on Orwell at the University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library in Albuquerque, New Mexico seeks to remind people about the author’s premonitions amid a new — yet very familiar — era.

“George Orwell: His Enduring Legacy” which runs to April, features posters and material related to “1984” and his 1945 allegorical novella, “Animal Farm.” It also contains rare Orwell books in different languages to highlight his reach and evolution as a writer.

The British-born Orwell, who died in 1950, was known for “Animal Farm” and “1984,” both of which tackled totalitarianism. Orwell’s “1984” has become a bestseller in the U.S. again during the Trump administration.

The exhibit was sparked after a longtime advocate and employee of the University of New Mexico University Libraries donated his collection of rare Orwell books. For years, Russ Davidson, a University of New Mexico professor and curator emeritus, amassed rare Orwell books from around the world.

Those rare works included first editions of “Animal Farm” and “1984” in Icelandic, Ukrainian, Swahili, French, Urdu, German, Hungarian and Spanish. He also obtained first, early and other scarce editions of many of Orwell’s other books, essays, and reportage.

Such unique books are on display in the exhibit.

Yet, the most captivating aspect of the small but powerful exhibit is the art and objects connected to themes and Orwell’s life. Artifacts and posters from the Spanish Civil War are shown to illustrate how the conflict played a role in Orwell’s intellectually formation. Orwell fought against a right-wing military coup in Spain but fled after he was shot in the throat and officials sought his arrest.

The campy book cover art also is seductive, offering commentaries about the eras the editions were produced rather than the work inside. In one edition of “1984,” for example, the cover features characters for the Sen. Joseph McCarthy Era 1950s with the words “forbidden love…fear…betrayal.” It’s almost as if novel was merely a pulp fiction soap opera found at Route 66 gas stations, except it’s not.

Then, there are the portrayals of Napoleon, the authoritarian pig in Animal Farm. Red posters show Napoleon in military gear of communist Eastern Europe. Other images show his celebrating his abundance at the sake of others, since, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Journalists, academics and political observers of every succeeding generation since Orwell’s untimely death have argued that Orwell remains relevant in their time. And, yes, the same could be said of today.

Orwell’s concepts of doublespeak (deliberately euphemistic, ambiguous, or obscure language), newspeak (doublespeak for political propaganda) and thoughtcrimes (thoughts deemed illegal by a mob or a government) continued to be cited in response to current events.

President Donald Trump’s practice of blurting falsehoods — like saying, “The Kurds are much safer right now” after Turkey invaded Kurdish strongholds — have been called Orwellian.

The same has been noted for some Democrats. California Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed in August that the “vast majority” of San Francisco’s homeless people came from Texas. (A 2019 report found 70 per cent had previously lived in the city).

Even in New Mexico, the most Hispanic state in the U.S. that sits along the U.S.-Mexico border, Orwellian concepts in practice have emerged.

In 2016, for example, a left-leaning immigrant rights group denounced then-Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and her attempts to revamp a state law that allowed immigrants in the country illegally to obtain driver’s licenses. The group called a potential compromise to create a “two-tier” system to issue two types of licenses — one compliment with the federal REAL ID Act — nothing but a “scarlet letter.”

After New Mexico Democrats said it would support the compromise and the bill passed, the group changed course and publicly and proudly claimed Martinez lost.

But she won.

———

If You Go…

University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library Frank Waters Room

1900 Roma Ave NE, Albuquerque, N.M.

Ten-minute walk from Historic Route 66 (Central Ave) and Cornell Dr. NE

Admission is free during normal library hours

———

Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press’ race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/russcontreras

George Orwell

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read