Booksellers are having trouble keeping George Orwell’s “1984” in stock after one of President Donald Trump’s spokespeople used the term “alternative facts” to describe a White House colleague’s falsehood.
Kellyanne Conway was being interviewed by Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when she used the phrase. Todd was questioning Conway about White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s lie regarding the size of the crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.
On Saturday, Spicer claimed incorrectly that Trump’s swearing-in ceremony was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Conway responded that Spicer did not lie, he just used “alternative facts.”
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,” Conway said. Todd responded: “Alternative facts aren’t facts, they are falsehoods.”
The plot of Orwell’s dark, dystopian novel centers around an omnipotent government that forces citizens to hand over complete control of their lives to the government, including independent thought. Citizens are taught to “double think” away any negative or critical thinking that may lead them to question The Party.
After Conway coined “alternative facts”, people began pointing to parallels between the political administration she represents and Orwell’s fictional nightmare, especially in regards to the following quotes:
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command…”
Currently “1984” is the best-selling book on Amazon, a spot it has held for several days.
Publishers such as Penguin Books have put in larger than usual orders for reprints of the classic, as demand does not seem to be slowing down. The acclaimed book also saw a spike in sales in 2013, when leaked NSA documents revealed how widespread and comprehensive government spying on citizens has become.
Orwell is also famous for inventing the character “Big Brother”, which became a widely used term for government surveillance.
[CNN] [Washington Post] [Good Reads] [Christian Science Monitor] [Photo courtesy Adam Berry/Getty Images via CBC]