Who Controls the Present, Controls the Past, Who Controls the Past Controls the Future
The ghost of Stalin is alive and well in modern day Europe. The British Culture Secretary, James Purnell, is being criticized after it emerged that his image had been digitally inserted in a group photograph a short time after he had railed against news media for fauxtography.
James Purnell found himself in an embarrassing situation over the disclosure just two weeks after he warned broadcasters of the danger of losing the trust of viewers. The controversy centred on a photocall at Tameside general hospital, Greater Manchester, to mark the start of work on a new unit. Mr Purnell was among four local MPs invited to the event, but he arrived after the photograph been taken and the other MPs had left.
He was photographed in the same position and his image was added into the earlier shot. The picture was then distributed to the local press. The hospital said the minister had agreed to photographs being "merged", but he said it was an innocent "misunderstanding". In a statement to BBC North West, the hospital said: "As we would not be able to stage a repeat of this historic day for the hospital, we decided to take a photograph of Mr Purnell in the same spot very shortly after, and merge it with the earlier photograph, to which Mr Purnell kindly consented."
Media control and deception are a time-honored tradition of the Left. The Commissar Vanishes maintains a virtual museum of Bolshevik-era airbrushing. Nice to know that in a world of cheap change, some things remain the same. The Burmese socialist regime should know.
Here's the classic reference to the disappearing commissars.
An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between O’Brien’s fingers. For perhaps five seconds it was within the angle of Winston’s vision. It was a photograph, and there was no question of its identity. It was THE photograph. It was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed. For only an instant it was before his eyes, then it was out of sight again. But he had seen it, unquestionably he had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so much as a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he had even forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the photograph in his fingers again, or at least to see it.
‘It exists!’ he cried.
‘No,’ said O’Brien.
He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall. O’Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. O’Brien turned away from the wall.
‘Ashes,’ he said. ‘Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.’
‘But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.’
‘I do not remember it,’ said O’Brien. ...
‘We are the priests of power,’ he said. ‘God is power. But at present power is only a word so far as you are concerned. It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realize is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: “Freedom is Slavery”. Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone—free—the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he IS the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal. ...
‘Do you believe in God, Winston?’
‘Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?’
‘I don’t know. The spirit of Man.’
‘And do you consider yourself a man?’
‘If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are ALONE? You are outside history, you are non-existent.’ His manner changed and he said more harshly: ‘And you consider yourself morally superior to us, with our lies and our cruelty?’
‘Yes, I consider myself superior.’ ...
He seized one of Winston’s remaining front teeth between his powerful thumb and forefinger. A twinge of pain shot through Winston’s jaw. O’Brien had wrenched the loose tooth out by the roots. He tossed it across the cell.
‘You are rotting away,’ he said; ‘you are falling to pieces. What are you? A bag of filth. Now turn around and look into that mirror again. Do you see that thing facing you? That is the last man. If you are human, that is humanity. Now put your clothes on again.’ ...
Men have defied tyranny through history because defiance is sometimes the only way to remain a man in the face of oppression. Resistance provides the possibility of remaining a man even in death; a possibility that is to be preferred to the certainty of slavery. And if the idea of remaining a man even in death sounds crazy, it is no crazier than the Party's idea of immortality through power. To resist is to perform an act of faith and to believe that while a man may vanish, the spirit of something always remains.