Month: January 2014

Orwell’s bargain on Politics and Language

Orwell’s most famous Essay “Politics and the English Language” has been often celebrated for its directness and harshness, whereas many others have felt quite the opposite considering it similar to an attack on the English language. While Orwell’s passionate words do seem to qualify the essay as an attack, the validity of such claims still remains under debate. Orwell has accused writers of being unimaginative in the use of the English language, choosing to opt for metaphors which are widely known rather than creating new ones. Orwell simply describes this as lazy behavior on part of the writer.

Another complaint he has against the English language is the use of meaningless words. He calls for a return to simplicity. He rejects the use of verbose sentences and is particularly averse to the use of foreign words which have trickled into the English language. He also rejects the use of words which have lost all meaning and do not direct the reader to an idea. His six rules of writing have become the battle cry of many writers who agree with his suggestions. Others, however, are of the view that the entire essay reads like an angry tirade. While he does accuse the English language of becoming too comfortable with certain ideas with a shocking vehemence, he forgets where such behavior may actually be functional. As he rejects the use of verbosity and encourages using simpler words, he overlooks poetry which would be quite dead if stripped down to the use of functional terms.

Orwell may be one of the greatest writers to have lived and his writing preferences and style were quite definitely beyond par, but his writing, as beautiful as it may be, does not quite serve as a standard for all English language use. In fact, it may be observed in his works that he breaks the very rules he has so vehemently set in his essay. While he rejects the use of passive in lieu of active, he has done so in his texts on many occasions. In addition when he confronts the English language or its use of foreign terminology, he fails to see that not all words have exact English synonyms. While a word may retain a similar meaning it will lose its essence. The most egregious crime in his opinion however is that of political literature. He accuses politics of pulling English downwards as it descends itself and deems political pamphlets and documents to be particularly incriminating. As Orwell sets down these rules, he does not take the time to explain to the reader why these particular rules are set or how they will serve the English language in a better manner. No other reason for his disdain of the current common use of the English language has been provided. The last rule that he sets out in his essay, however, redeems him of any accusations that he has set forth.

“Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”

Here he states that there can’t be any rules applied to the English language rendering the above redundant. On this front, we cannot further oppose Orwell.


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Lavish Worlds, and the Headwear to Match

“She’s mad but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire.” A phenomenon in her own, Lady Gaga came out of nowhere in 2008 and took the world of entertainment by storm with her debut album, “The Fame.” At the Radio City Music Hall, the mega star urged her fans to take her picture, saying, ‘I want to be a star.’ To an addition to her talent in arts, the author improvises on ‘her fascination over dressing up’ considering it a sort of “freaky”. However, the message has been bluntly delivered with quotations in brackets which indeed has an implied meaning to the author’s behavior. “The Fame”, insists the audiences that Lady Gaga is personally engaged towards her reputation by using fashion as a tool.

“As the author claims, ‘She is (A star) a combination of well-planned outlandishness media exposure and catchy, stuttering choruses — “pa-pa-pa-pa-paparazzi,” “p-p-p-poker face” — has made Lady Gaga a multimillionaire selling, Grammy-nominated star in less than a year and a half since the release of her debut album.” She has a larger than life persona, with actual musical gift behind the glitz of her extravagant stage presence and dressing. With back to back hits, her much talked about stage antics, dressing, and charity offerings, she seemingly has the author under her mystic spell just like everybody else.

The author endeavors with a banging expression “larger than-life style”; an aspiration to parallel Lady Gaga to other great stars, ‘Madonna and David Bownie’. The comparison is an implication compelling the general audience to accept that she is a better performer in music and art. Affirmed, with excitement to finer musicians, the reference to a female Elton John puts forward the authenticity and talent of Lady Gaga, and the author’s familiarity on the subject. Regardless of those not involved in the specific genre, associating the above popular artists illuminates the content to be comprehended by a greater audience. “The Egyptian-deity golden armor”, “the exoskeleton like helmet” and “the red chauffeur’s hat” blurs the author making the connections “cryptic” between Lady Gaga’s performance of music and fashion after the comparison he had made with dedicated musicians and artists. Pareles ends with hesitancy to the fiction consideration of Lady Gaga to be “Tinker Bell”, now isn’t that desperation “needing applause to live”?