With news of gag orders for a variety of crucial government organizations, press conferences flagrantly misinforming and scolding the press, and Kellyanne Conway’s usage of the phrase “alternative facts” to create, in the minds of Trump’s followers, a second objective reality, the Trump administration is rapidly becoming a regime of doublespeak. Now, 1984, the 1949 book imagining a totalitarian regime in England, and focusing so heavily on a form of linguistic oppression called “Newspeak,” is now seeing its sales skyrocket. As the Guardian notes, “Newspeak” is, in the book, also an enabler of “doublethink,” which George Orwell writes “means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” The author elaborates in his novel:
The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of DOUBLETHINK he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated.
In the book most known for making for a month of stimulating high school English, Orwell envisions a government subdivided into ministries whose very names incite “doublethink,” meaning the exact opposite of their name. The “Ministry of Truth” carries out a “day-to-day falsification of the past.”
Orwell’s novel — which, counter to any all-encompassing ideas of contemporary #relevancy, was actually written with an eye towards Stalinism, as opposed to fascism — rose to no.1 on Amazon’s bestseller list, nearly 70 years after its publication.
CNN’s (also known in Trumpian doublespeak as “fake news”) Reliable Sources has quoted a Penguin spokesperson who claimed the publishing house put in a 75,000 copy reprint this week following the sudden surge. The book apparently became no. 1 yesterday evening, after having become no. 6 by Monday, following an inaugural weekend of anxiety-inducing authoritarian vibes.