Reflection on 1984 and “The True Cost of Oil”

“It’s the devil’s way now
There is no way out
You can scream and you can shout
It is too late now

Because you have not been
Payin’ attention”

I first read 1984 during my freshman year of high school after delving into the world of Radiohead and hearing their song “2+2=5.”  Although I haven’t spent much time with either work in recent years, reacquainting  myself with Orwell’s masterpiece brought back a flood of memories and feelings that were forgotten for a while.  The band’s disillusion stemmed from the escalation of the Iraq war which coincided with the song’s release in 2003, and that same disillusion is evident in the lyrics. “It is too late now because you have not been payin’ attention,” conveys a sense of hopelessness and seems to condemn the general public for its complacency and lack of action at that time.

The situation that Garth Lenz presented in his Ted Talk  strongly relates to themes present in both Orwell and Radiohead’s works.  Lenz’s talk on the systematic destruction of the Canadian Wilderness was the first time that I been forced to pay attention to the issue.  I initially felt frustrated with the companies and parties responsible for this tragedy, but immediately afterwards felt frustrated with myself for not truly being aware of it before.  I felt as if I had turned a blind eye to an issue that had always been haunting my peripherals and needed to be addressed.  This is this kind of behavior that Orwell prophesied and feared would become commonplace.  It’s tough to decide whether or not the average citizen can be held accountable for their ignorance, or if the media and how it channels information to the masses is the larger problem at hand.