Irregular Times Presents Ask Winston:

A Column of Helpful Advice from the Ministry of Truth

Winston Smith

Winston Smith has been a featured columnist from Oceania Press since 1984, operating from his restored position at the Ministry of Truth. In his spare time, Winston enjoys his daily two-minute hate and occasional singing jaunts with the Youth League.

Turn-ons: Physical Jerks and Joycamp.

Turn-offs: Duckspeak and Rats.

Entries for Third Year of the Plan, Second Quarter:

Dear Winston:

Ever since last Friday, I've been trying to avoid the subject of the American torture of Iraqi prisoners, and I sense that a lot of other people have too. Americans have been pulling away from the issue, minimizing it in spite of a report finding "systematic abuse" of Iraqi prisoners.

There are too many reports coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan now to think that this torture is just an isolated incident.

Though it makes me want to throw up just thinking about it, the torture is too important not to talk about. What do you think about this situation?

-- Haunted in Houston

Dear Haunted:

You are hereby on notice for duckspeak and counter-patriotism.

There are numerous differences in terminology that I urge you to adhere to hereafter. They all stem from the great patriotic principle: the proper terminology for a given act stems not from the nature of the act itself, but from the affiliation of the agent of the action. Specifically, it would behoove you to employ terms that carry a positive or at least neutral connotation when referring to actions performed by US, whereas acts by THEM should be referred to in terms that carry a negative connotation.

Not sure who US and THEM are? Watch your step! Do you really want to run the risk of US considering YOU one of THEM? The mainstream United States press has wisely decided to step in line with US, but you obviously did not get the memo. Consider this a warning.

Below are examples of analogous acts, matched to appropriate terminology according to affiliation in terms of US and THEM:

WE have "faith-based initiatives." THEY have "networks of religious extremists."

OUR attacks on THEM are "fighting the enemies of civilization." THEIR attacks on US are "barbaric."

When WE destroy large sections of urban areas and kill thousands of innocent people, it is called "collateral damage." When THEY do it, it is called "terrorism."

When WE forcefully abduct people without extending them legal rights, or in violation of the Geneva Convention, they are "detainees." When THEY do it, they are "hostages."

THEY act on the assumption that "the end justifies the means." WE "take appropriate measures."

Finally, and this has recently been emphasized by General Richard Myers of the Ministry of Peace, when WE subject prisoners to beating, sleep deprivation, death threats, attacks from dogs, sexual humiliation, sodomy, etc., it is "creating suitable physical and mental conditions for interrogation." When THEY do it, it is called "torture."

Remember, "you're with US or against US."

Winston Smith,
Ministry of Truth

Dear Winston:

Trying to follow your example, I printed out a poster with the words "You Are On Notice For Counter-Patriotism" and taped it to the refrigerator at work. Five minutes later somebody had thrown it in the trash! I don't understand what I have done wrong.

-- Confused in Colorado

Dear Confused:

My congratulations on the fine zeal and vigor of the comrades that tore down the counter-patriotism notice.

Your co-workers have torn it down for good reason. Submitting to propaganda is not only a patriotic duty, it is a mental game. People that are really good at the game understand at a deep level that one of the rules of the game is never to think about the rules of the game, much less write them out.

The fact that they are disturbed and angry that the rules of the game have been openly articulated just shows that they have internalized the patriotic guidelines so deeply that they have become second nature--a kind of "patriotism"-induced artificial "common-sense" (what we prefer to call "goodthink"). These are precisely the kind of fine people we at the Ministry of Truth are working so hard to cultivate. They have risen above the specious dictates of logic and reason. They are unsullied with data derived from the senses, or articulated through words or numbers. They know the Truth.

A nation full of these people will deliver power where it truly belongs-- unquestioned and concentrated in the hands of Our Grand Benevolent Premier.

Please convey my congratulations and admiration to these excellent comrades. I urge you to follow their example.

Winston Smith,
Ministry of Truth

Heard enough? Return to Magniloquence Against War and get active!

Riled up? Irregular Times require impertinent backtalk. So talk back to us!
Write us an Irregular Retort!
- or -
Submit an irregular article of your original writing to us
and we'll consider it for publication on Irregular Times.

Sign up for the Irregular Times News, with summaries of the latest irregular articles from this site delivered to your inbox.