These days, however, people don’t want to read anything depressing. They want good news. They want happy endings. They want to escape.
And that is precisely the problem.
We all have our individual tastes in fiction, and that’s fine. Just the same, we must take a closer look at the social complacency current trends reflect. More specifically, we must ask if these trends reveal simply a population looking for mindless entertainment, or if they might instead be an indication of something much more nefarious and telling.
The 1984 Effect is the connection I see between social complacency and trends in literature, most notably, the virtual death of dystopia and similar genres. I argue that we as a society have been brainwashed into believing escapism is the key to a healthy, happy life, and with that we have sacrificed free, progressive thought and intellectual stimulation. Like the characters in Orwell’s 1984, society has been taught to go with the flow, do what it is told, and question issues just long enough perhaps to see the political backlash and fall back quickly into line. Occupy Wall Street is the perfect example. Many of us want change, but lack the initiative, the tools, or the backbone to manifest it. Moreover, our minds are in the wrong place.
This is not the time for escapism, as tempting the bait may be. This is the time for assessment, reflection, and problem solving. This is the time to be reading the literature about the times. It is time we reject complacency and once again begin looking toward the future.
I challenge you, the modern reader, to embrace the dystopia and all that it stands for. Read for fun, but also read for progressivism and intellectual discourse. Consider the depth of the profound ending (rather than the happy one) and all it might do to effect the change we’re all so desperate for. Let’s make a difference in this world, you and I, one book at a time. After all, without taking a long, hard look at what needs to change, we will never make it happen.
Start your reading revolution with World-Mart, the dystopia of our time. Available through amazon in both paperback and electronic formats.
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