A very good article about Orwell by Keith Gessen. He writes about how Orwell could completely contradict himself yet:-
What is particularly frustrating about these contradictions is that at each successive moment Orwell presents them in his great style, his wonderful sharp-edged plain-spoken style, which makes you feel that there is no way on earth you could possibly disagree with him, unless you’re part of the pansy left, or a sandal-wearer and fruit-juice drinker, or maybe just a crank.
I have a tiny cavil about one point:-
He was more insightful about the distant dangers of communist thought-control, in the Soviet Union, than the more pressing thought-control of western consumerism.
The difference between a system run by state violence and one run by appeals to greed and snobbery is the difference between rape and seduction, which is all the difference in the world.
But that’s my only complaint about a fine assessment of Orwell. Gessen sees him as the great exemplar for all writers, including the humblest blogger:-
When you return to his essays of the 1940s, the mystery evaporates. You would probably not be able to write this way now, even if you learned the craft: the voice would seem put-on, after Orwell. But there is nothing put-on about it here, and it seems to speak, despite the specificity of the issues discussed, directly to the present. In Orwell’s clear, strong voice we hear a warning. Because we, too, live in a time when truth is disappearing from the world, and doing so in just the way Orwell worried it would: through language. We move through the world by naming things in it, and we explain the world through sentences and stories. The lesson of these essays is clear: Look around you.
Describe what you see as an ordinary observer – for you are one, you know – would see them. Take things seriously.
And tell the truth. Tell the truth.