Earlier this week , author Douglas Preston—from his quaint-but-internet-connected summer shack on the coast of Maine—posted a letter imploring his readers to write Amazon's chief executive Jeff Bezos and demand that he stop taking books as hostages in its on-going negotiations with Hachette Book Group. Some 900 other authors, including the likes of Stephen King and Donna Tartt, have joined him in his call to action. Together they call themselves Authors United, and they've taken out a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times to get their message out.
What one blogger could give both Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan a massive, unrepentant for former support of the Bush administration hard-on? No, not Wil Wheaton—George Orwell! Orwell's son and some other guy are going to reprint Orwell's diaries, on the internet. In daily installments. Like a blog. Starting tomorrow. OMG! "The first entry, from Aug. 9, 1938, will appear online Saturday, exactly 70 years after Orwell wrote it." Wow. Can we leave comments? "First! (English socialist to have misgivings about Stalin!)" (See what we did there?) Finally America will learn Orwell's top ten all-time most awesome rules for effective English writing ever! (Never use one superlative where three will do.) [NPR]
The New York Public Library held a day-long event called "Orwell Comes to America" yesterday, a series of discussions to"diagnose the symptoms of propaganda and misinformation" in media—especially when it comes to politics and the shaping of public thought. I visited the one about the science of manipulation, moderated by Nick Lemann, the dean of Columbia's J-School who also sometimes writes for The New Yorker, though without distinction. Have you heard? War is the new Peace!
This is a must-see. Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan, and others, discussing Orwell. And discussing Orwell is a synonym for...