I was talking to a friend about Orwell’s 1984 the other day. The appendix is a fascinating deep dive, explaining how to control minds by controlling speech. Oddly, Orwell doesn’t comment on the morality of control. He just explains how to do it.
And I thought to myself, is this a warning… or a manual?
If it’s just a warning, it sure reads like a manual.
As VC often states, much of what we see in media is not for us, it’s for the initiated. If you wrote a book called “How to Oppress and Control People,” it would probably be reviled. It’s too obvious. But if you wrote a book with some pathos about a man who was mind controlled and couldn’t evade it, you would win awards, and the initiated would be educated without ruffling any feathers. They say the best lessons are told with stories.
This reminded me of the Labyrinth and Coraline articles that VC posted a while back. Both involve the conditioning of a young girl, both ostensibly end with the young girl winning the fight. You could argue that these movies help young women to know how the abuse process works, so they can spot it and fight it. But plainly, they can also be a handbook for predators.
When you start thinking about it, you could add nefarious handbook subtitles to all kinds of things:
Breaking Bad: The complete idiot’s guide to making and distributing meth
The Walking Dead: How to use brutality to survive an apocalypse
Brave New World: Goals for the new world order
Star Wars: Practical magic for the occult soldier
Ok that last one is pretty debatable, couldn’t resist.
The average person can’t see how a wonderful story of courage, strength, and survival could be intended for an evildoer. But the VC reader is not average, and I’d love to hear what you guys come up with.