With the fervor of its political and theological themes, the irrepressible energy of War Music helps the modern reader understand Homer’s epic not as a corpse to be autopsied under the cold lights of the seminar room, but a national mythos suitable for the church, the (movie) theater, the bar, and the Rose Garden, all at once.
“I got an 11-day PhD in Washington scumbaggery. I have a better idea of how these people operate now, and what they’re really all about, and how they really don’t give a shit about the American people.”
On September 17, the House of Representatives voted on “Resolution 908: Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19….” The resolution was a purely symbolic statement against racism.
164 Republicans voted no.
It seems conceivable that within a generation, a significant percentage—if not an outright majority—of American students will not attend a four-year, on-campus university. The average American student might settle for a combination of classes at their local community college to supplement their main course of study, a smattering of online certificates from Harvard, Google, and other big-name schools and corporations. The rich universities will get richer; the poor will close.
America is an aberration in the history of the world, an unnatural community that dared to defy conventional wisdom and aim for something greater. Those who want to drag the country into a mythical past where America was white and utopian would return the United States to the league of ordinary nations.
But the rhetoric of “law and order” is often a ploy to win votes by punishing the poor––especially communities of color––while letting the powerful get away with far more serious crimes.
From Marilyn Monroe serenading a youthful, ebullient President Kennedy to George Lucas offering A New Hope in the midst of the Cold War, Hollywood has captured the political and cultural zeitgeist of each successive generation of Americans… The story of Hollywood is the story of America, and its decline forebodes a narrower, more sterile future for all of us.
Orwell’s essay has become at once a document of both historical non-fiction and prophecy: we are watching the processes which Orwell described play out in the 21st century crisis of democracy.