1984 In Today's World

Examples in the USA

Examples Outside the USA
1.)[[#|Internet Censorship]] in [[#|Schools]]
1.) Dividing North Korea citizens into castes
2.) Banned Books by Authorities
2.)Controlling Flow in [[#|Information]] in North Korea
3.) Standardized Testing
3.)Russia's "Mind Control"
4.) Macy's Evading Privacy in Dressing Rooms
4.)China's Internet Use
5.) Who Can Listen in on Your Phone Calls?
5.)China's Gao Kao Exam
6.) Surveillance Cameras on Private Property
6.)The Pope
7.) Hidden Cameras in Starbucks
7.)Holocaust Denial by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
8.) The Pledge of Allegiance
8.)Cuba's Travel Restrictions
9.) Surveillance Through Social Media
9.)No Divorce in Vatican City
10.) Hateful/Depessing Newscasts
10.) Kim Jong-il Being Referred to as "Dear Leader"


1.) On all computers in US [[#|schools]], the possible search words are limited. A [[#|student]] is banned from certain sites, searches using certain [[#|keywords]], images, etc. Any [[#|gaming site]], message board, or social media-related sites are blocked. [[#|Keywords]] like like "Nazi" and "KKK" (popular school report subjects) are censored, and no image sites can be pulled up. In 1984, Oceania's citizens were only allowed to hear certain things- [[#|information]] broadcasted by the Inner Party. Individuals couldn't "search" for [[#|information]], look up old phots, etc, in much the same way that we can't look up [[#|information]] in US schools.

2.) Banned [[#|Books]] by Authorities
Today's US government challenged many books, requesting that words be editted out, content be changed, or that the book be taken off all the shelves. The government imposes on the freedom to read/do what you want; they control some of the information/vocabulary you'd see and hear in classic novels. In Oceania, the authorities controlled the radio stations, the [[#|news]], the books, the language, everything! In much the same way as today, people in 1984 didn't have control over what they could and could not read.

List of Commonly Challenged/Banned Books: (http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/censorship/bannedbooksthatshapedamerica)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, 1884
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley, 1965 (Grove Press)
Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1987
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown, 1970
The Call of the Wild, Jack London, 1903
Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, 1940
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, 1939
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
Howl, Allen Ginsberg, 1956
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1966
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, 1906
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1855
Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851
Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940
Our Bodies, Ourselves, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 1971
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, 1895
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred C. Kinsey, 1948
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams, 1947
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937
[[#|To Kill a Mockingbird]], Harper Lee, 1960
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963
The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002

3.) Standardized Testing
In Oceania, if you wanted to be a member of the Inner or Outer Party, you had to take a test. Depending on how you did, you'd become a member of one of the parties. In today's society, we call this "standardized testing." Any student with the desire to attend a 4-year university must take either the ACT or SAT. The results of those tests more or less determine what colleges you'll be accepted into (which can impact your career, personal life, and rest of your life).

4.) Macy's Evading Privacy in Dressing Rooms
In Oceania, there is always a Telescreen watching. There is no such thing as "privacy." The telescreens hear everything you say and see everything you do - ANYWHERE. In Macy's department stores across the country, the privacy of customers in the fitting rooms are being infringed upon. Macy's manages its loss-prevention by installing their privacy doors backward. That means that any employee - or customer - standing up against the door can see inside. But the person getting changed cannot see out.

5.) Who Can Listen in on Your Phone Calls?
Your own PERSONAL [[#|phone]] calls are private...or so you think. The US government can at any time listen in on your phone calls, read your text, read your emails, etc. Companies like Apple even have apps that allow people to spy on other people's phone conversations, undetected! In the book 1984, telescreens are in every room. Every sound you make is detected and listened to by a government/party member. There are hidden microphones everywhere, too. You cannot talk to a person in private in Oceania, and the US has proved that we no longer have this right either.

6.) Surveillance Cameras on Private Property
Under the right circumstances, surveillance cameras can be installed by the police/government on private property WITHOUT a warrant. Private Property means you own the rights to the property: you choose who enters, what's on it, etc. However, now these cameras can be placed on your private property, invading your privacy, without a warrant. This is much like Big Brother. Every home, street, shop, restuarant, work place, and everywhere in between had a telescreen watching everyone at all times. Privacy was nonexistent, and we can see that that is sort of the case here in the US.

7.) Hidden Cameras in Starbucks
A 5-year old girl found a hidden camera pointed at the toilet while using a Starbucks Coffee restroom. In response, Starbucks released this statement:

"We take our obligation to provide a safe environment for our customers and partners (employees) very seriously. Our store partners took swift action as soon as they became aware of the issue -- immediately alerting the police department and assisting in the investigation. We continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement on this matter; however, because there is pending litigation, we cannot comment on the specifics of this case. However, we can tell you that as a part of regular store operations, we monitor the seating areas and rest rooms in our stores on a regular basis to identify potential safety or security concerns."

So even though cameras pointed directly at a toilet isn't the chain's doing, they still monitor all restrooms. A bathroom is one of the most private rooms a person uses on a daily basis. Being in public and using a public restroom means you will be watched while inside the restroom- your privacy is barely in existence. This is once again just like Oceania. Telescreens and microphones were everywhere and on all the time. You couln't enter a restroom in 1984 without being watched either!

8.) The Pledge of Allegiance
Every American knows the Pledge of Allegiance by heart. We state it to the American flag second-naturely. We pledge our allegiance to th flag, the country, and to one another- all under God. This is much the same way the the Oceania people restate Big Brother's sayings "Ignorance is Strength," "Freedom is Slavery," and "War is Peace." The people of Oceania restate and live by Big Brother's ideals.

9.)Surveillance Through Social Media
Anything a person in the US posts on any social media site, can be seen (whether it's private or not) by the government. Messages sent through Facebook, tweets, anything can be seen- and IS seen- by government forces, school boards/teachers, employers, etc. What you say online is no longer private (and it never really was). With the new technological knowledge and programs to get around blocks and privacy setting, anything can be seen. This is much like Winston and his diary. he had it secured in a private spot where he thought only he could see/read it, but the Inner Party got ahold of what he was writing, and kidnapped/imprisoned him.

10.) Hateful/Depressing Newscasts
In 1984, every day there was a "Two Minute Hate" session that criticized Eurasia and Eastasia and anything that didnt have to do with Big Brother. Every day people in America watch the news. If you look at what kind of stories play on the news, they all deal with crime, death, terror, broken families, abducted children...We criticize other nations and listen to government officials boast about how much better the US is than any other country out there.

Example of Depressing Daily [[#|News]]:


1.) Dividing North Korea citizens into castes
Oceania's society is divided into three parts: Inner Party, Outer Party, and Proles. In North Korea, the "Songbun" system determines your rank. This is a socio-political rank over which the individual exercises no control but which determines all aspects of his or her life. The rank determines privileges, punishments, and/or surveillance. So the lower you are (proles), the heavier you're watched and controlled.

2.) Controlling Flow in Information in North Korea
Oceania does not allow it's citizens to ommunicate with the outside world (Eastasia or Eurasia). All information about the war is given through the Telescreens, which are controlled by the government. In North Korea, citizens are not allowed to have contact outside the country. All information on the outside world is conveyed through the government; no outside media is allowed. The government controlls everything.
"Use of the "Big Lie." In North Korea, all "news" is positive. According to the country's rigidly controlled media, North Korea has never suffered famine or poverty, and citizens would willingly sacrifice themselves for their leader. The official Korean Central News Agency said that deceased leader Kim Jong Il is so beloved that after a deadly munitions train explosion in a populated area, people ran into buildings to save the ubiquitous portraits of the "Dear Leader" before they rescued their own family members." (http://cpj.org/reports/2006/05/10-most-censored-countries.php)

3.) Russia's "Mind Control"
The development of weaponry based on new physics principles – direct-energy weapons, geophysical weapons, wave-energy weapons, genetic weapons, psychotronic weapons, and so on – is part of the state arms procurement program until 2020,” Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov reported to President-in-waiting Vladimir Putin during their latest meeting.
Russia may or may not have a weapon that can affect the human brain, and have some sort of affect on it's function and what it conveys to the human body to do. This is similar to the device O'Brien uses on Winston that wipes out Winston's memory for a few moments. Filling him with a bright ligh of nothingness.

4.) China's Internet Use
China has some of the world’s most far-reaching online restrictions. Last year, the government blocked more than a million Web sites, many of them pornographic, but also Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Evite. Recent regulations make it difficult for individuals unaffiliated with a company to create personal Web sites. This is similar to 1984 because the citizens of Oceania were only allowed to read certain books, magazines, and newspapers, watch one channel on the telescreen, and listen to certain radio stations. The government is blobking any sort of unwanted information from the outside world.


5.) China's Gao Kao Exam
In order to become a working member in the Inner or Outer Party, you must take an exam. Depending on how you do on the exam, your social status will be established. The Gao Kao is the Chinese college entry exam which determines if you get accepted to any of the Chinese universities or not. This past year there were 9 million HS graduates, and only 7 million university slots.

6.) The Pope
The Pope serves as a figure-head for the Catholic faith. He is seen as a God-send with all the answers. People follow him with no questions asks, just like the people of Oceania follow Big Brother with no questions asked.

7.) Holocaust Denial by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


In the same way that the Arab world denies the Holocaust, the Inner Party of Oceania (and the entire population for the most part) deny that Big Brother has ever been wrong or ever leads Oceania astray. They also deny people's existence, much in the same way some Arabs deny many of the Jews killed in the Holocaust existence.

8.) Cuba's Travel Restrictions
In Oceania, travel outside of the country was not allowed and relatively unheard of. Even when Winston traveled to the forest where he first met up with Julia, he was questioned and studied about where he was going and why. Any sort of travel was frowned upon. Cuba recently took off the ban on Cubans traveling outside the country. However, there are still a lot of accomodations, paperwork, etc required, expiration periods to be aware of, etc.


9.) No Divorce in Vatican City
Winston is married to Katherine in the book 1984, but they no longer lived together or had any sort of relationship. However, they could not be granted a divorce because Big Brother and the Inner Party do not allow divorces. The one purpose of marriage in the book was to reproduce, but Winston and Katherine never even managed to do that. The only two countries left in the world with no divorce are the Philippines and the Vatican City. The Pope resides in the Vatican City, and the Bible/Catholicism does not grant divorce. They believe that God unites the two people, and those people will forever be together. Divorce is NOT granted.

10.) Kim Jong-il Being Referred to as "Dear Leader"

The government figure-head of Oceania is referred to as "Big Brother." Although he has now passed away, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, requested that everyone in North Korea address him as "Dear Leader" instead of an official title or his birth name.