Monday, January 19, 2009

Cult of Personality, Obama, Animal Farm, George Orwell, Napolean

The cult of personality that has emerged around Barack Obama can be better understood with reference to the events depicted in George Orwell's classic work, Animal Farm. Animal Farm tells the story of a farm in which the animals seize power and attempt to establish a utopia for themselves without human control. After the animals kick out the humans, the leading pig, Napolean, establishes control for himself over the other animals. The story is a thinly disguised depiction of events in Soviet Russia from the time of the Bolshevik revolution through World War II. Napolean is a thinly disguised caricature of Stalin.

Animal Farm

The following passage takes place shortly after Napolean's seizure of power:
It had become usual to give Napolean the credit for every succesful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to another, "Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napolean, I have laid five eggs in six days"; or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim, "Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napolean, how excellent this water tastes!"
[page 90, Signet paperback edition]

It has been almost 20 years since I read this book, but I think of this passage as I hear the "news" personalities gush over Obama.

Labels: , , ,

  • People's Pottage - permalink
  • Economics in One Lesson - permalink
  • Why Johnny Can't Read- permalink
  • Locations of visitors to this page