Seeing is a kind of political fable: the night after the election, an unnamed European government finds that 77 percent of the population of the capital city has cast blank votes. Alarmed, they declare a mistake and organize a second election (complete with reconnaissance agents stationed casually in line at voting booths to intercept any information about the supposed blank-vote conspiracy), and everything seems perfectly normal except for the now 83 percent of capital-city voters who cast blank ballots into the box. The government interprets this action as an “attack on democracy” and reacts with a steady stream of increasingly restrictive measures, none of which seem to do a bit of good or extract a modicum of information. Beginning by declaring a state of emergency and suspending all constitutional rights in the city (a change none of the citizens seem to notice), they progress to sending intelligence agents into the populace (no one is interested in talking about the blank votes), and detaining a random sampling of citizens whom they hold indefinitely for interrogation (everyone refuses to say who they voted for). As the citizens’ dignified non-participation holds steady, the government gets more and more ruffled, eventually choosing to abscond absurdly in the dead of night with all its officials, police, paperwork, assistants, computers and assorted detritus and declaring a state of seige on the capital city, forbidding anyone to enter or leave before the government has received a tearful apology from the city at large.
This wonderful satire is just the thing for those people who believe that the standard of public life has gone down the gutter, that the world is ruled by fools and knaves, that choosing between political parties is like trying to tell the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, that our masters are platitudinous windbags who can’t be trusted or respected and are only intent on hanging on to power, forever watching their backs while telling the benighted populace a pack of lies in order to stay in office, and, moreover, for those who are able to tolerate long sentences (a little like this one) in paragraphs that snake over three, sometimes four or even five pages.
The Irish Free State (Irish: Saorstát Éireann Irish pronunciation: [sˠiːɾˠsˠˈt̪ˠaːt̪ˠ eːɾʲən̪ˠ]) (6 December 1922 – 1937) was the state established as a dominion under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand.On the day the Irish Free State was established, it comprised the entire island of Ireland, but Northern Ireland almost immediately exercised its right under the treaty to remove itself from the new state.
”MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, We, your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Senators and Commons of Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, having learnt of the passing of the Irish Free State Constitution Act, 1922, being the Act of Parliament for the ratification of the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, do, by this humble Address, pray your Majesty that the powers of the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State shall no longer extend to Northern Ireland.”
The Irish Free State effectively replaced both the self-proclaimed Irish Republic (founded 21 January 1919) and the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland. W. T. Cosgrave, the first President of the Irish Free State had led both of these “governments” since August 1922.
The Irish Free State came to an end in 1937, when the citizens voted by referendum to replace the 1922 constitution. It was succeeded by the sovereign, modern state of Ireland.
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before the Second World War. Orwell, a democratic socialist,was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, especially after his experiences with the NKVD and the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel “contre Stalin“.
The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, but the subtitle was dropped by U.S. publishers for its 1946 publication and subsequently all but one of the translations during Orwell’s lifetime omitted the addition. Other variations in the title include: A Satire and A Contemporary Satire.Orwell suggested the title Union des républiques socialistes animales for the French translation, which recalled the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques, and which abbreviates to URSA, the Latin for “bear”, a symbol of Russia.
Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005); it also places at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is also included in the Great Books of the Western World.
The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders but also how wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed and myopia corrupt the revolution. It portrays corrupt leadership as the flaw in revolution, rather than the act of revolution itself. It also shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved.
Some quotes from the film, ‘Being There’.
[Riding in a car for the first time]
Chance the Gardener: This is just like television, only you can see much further.
[upon walking out of an elevator]
Chance the Gardener: That was a very small room.
Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?
Chance the Gardener: I can’t write.
Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I’ll provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers…
Chance the Gardener: I can’t read.
Ron Steigler: Of course you can’t! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television…
Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV.
Ron Steigler: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!
[With other poor black seniors, watching Chance on TV]
Louise: It’s for sure a white man’s world in America. Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I’ll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between th’ ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jackass. Look at him now! Yes, sir, all you’ve gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want. Gobbledy-gook!
President “Bobby”: Life is a state of mind.