The president tweets, and America either cheers with delight or recoils in horror. There is no middle ground. As the Irish poet Willie Yeats wrote in “The Second Coming,” “Things fall apart: the center cannot hold/... The best lack all conviction, while the worst/are full of passionate intensity.”
We currently have more passionate intensity than you can shake the proverbial stick at. Our current civil divisions may not turn out as well for us as we hoped with all the momentum frothing up on the fringes of society.
On a similar but less lofty version of Yeats’ point, recall the immortal advice from Johnny Mercer: “You’ve got to accentuate the positive/eliminate the negative/ and latch on to the affirmative/don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.”
Taking a hint from Mercer, I tried to find something positive in President Trump’s recent comments about the press writing things he doesn’t like. The president branded the mainstream media as the “Enemy of the People.” He has tweeted, “With all the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license? Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake, that licenses must be challenged, and if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to the public!” He finished up by saying, on TV, “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it.” George Orwell has already looked into it.
Pondering the president’s statement about how disgusting it is that the press is able to write whatever they want to write got me thinking about how the president might get the press to write stuff that he likes. Fortunately, our old buddy George Orwell spelled out the solution in his laugh-a-minute book, “1984.” With the savings from gutting the subsidies to pay for health insurance, the EPA and the State Department, the president can create a new department: The Ministry of Truth as described by Mr. Orwell. The Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) is just what the president needs to combat Fake News, which is any news he doesn’t like.
Imagine what Trump’s Minitrue might look like using Orwell’s Newspeak from “1984.” Orwell was kind enough to include a Newspeak dictionary in “1984” which defines the Minitrue as “the department of government in charge of all record keeping, history re-writing and trashy entertainment and spurious news, which the Party handed out to the masses. This includes written literature, movies, music and other forms of propaganda handed out to the proles.” News or history that doesn’t meet the approval of the Minitrue goes down the old memory hole into the furnace in the basement.
The new U.S. Ministry of Truth will be in charge of granting prior approval for any news reported by TV, newspapers, social media or individuals. Let’s walk down Orwell Lane and review his Newspeak concepts.
Censorship by any other name would smell as sweet. The goal of the Minitrue is to prevent thoughtcrime, which consists of even considering any thought not in line with official standards. Thoughtcrime will be enforced by the Thought Police, who will monitor all statements, facecrime (facial expression reacting adversely to news supported by the State), and activities of citizens. The goal of controlling the news is to create bellyfeel, which is blind, enthusiastic acceptance of a concept.
The goal is to create citizens with blackwhite, which is “the ability to accept whatever truth the party puts out – no matter how absurd it may be. It means the ability to believe that black is white and forget that one has ever believed to the contrary.”
A double-plus good citizen must have the ability to doublethink, which is “the power to hold two completely contradictory belief’s in one’s mind simultaneously and accept both of them.”
Good citizens will participate in a daily Two Minute Hate Session where all televisions and smartphones will show pictures of enemies of the State like Anderson Cooper or Rachel Maddow for the viewers to boo, hiss at and curse. Orwell provided the blueprint for the Ministry of Truth. All that is needed to stop the disgusting news media from reporting double-plus ungood facts offensive to the president is a little old Constitutional Convention to abolish the First Amendment or indifferent citizens. The first Secretary of the Ministry of Truth ready to enforce rightthink is already on the national scene.
May I introduce the Secretary of Minitrue, the Honorable Steve Bannon. Behind his tiny hands, Big Brother is watching you.