Neels Blom Writer at large

The man said to be the most sued in English legal history, one Ian Hislop, writes in an essay ostensibly about language that he gets a sense of déjà vu from history’s cycle of farce and tragedy. This, for those who have read the book, Hislop gets from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, that fount-in-reserve for commentating hacks. Of course, Hislop’s editorship of the satirical Private Eye makes his grasping for analogy in a world in perpetual war a bit more palatable. But Nineteen Eighty-Four, too, is as much about language as it is a cautionary tale. It has given the world universally recognised concepts such as Newspeak (political correctness), Big Brother (panopticon) and the Thought Police (Facebook, perhaps), and the Ministry of Love’s torture chamber, Room 101.SA has similarly enriched the political lexicon. Consider how the word "apartheid" has become a byword for white supremacist racism so potently that any discussion about race-based prejudice is incomplete without it....

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now