If you wish to overthrow the liberty of a nation, you must begin by subduing freedom of speech. You must also manipulate history, so that only what you wish to be remembered is available.
George Orwell put this best when he described the “Memory Hole” in his dystopian classic 1984. Here he describes the office Winston Smith is working in.
“In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.”
Nowadays we have staff who can do this for us. Firms line up to excise the internet of the unflattering, or the damaging snippits of fact that might trip you up in your onward carear. They can reorder history to place you in the most flattering of lights. Now to my mind it’s bad enough when Politicians try to bend the actuality (we sort of expect that) but for my two cents it is appalling, and beyond the pall when educational institutions get involved.
The picture above is of Officer John Pike, pepper spraying some young students who are sitting peacefully on the ground. They do not represent any threat to Officer Pike, or indeed anyone else. We might also suggest that Officer Pike is rather enjoying his task especially as most of the students are girls. We might ask if he would have been so brave had they been men?
The campus is UC Davis in California and this all took place in 2011. I blogged about it then here Every demonstrator a Director and here John Pike the Internet meme The chancellor Linda P B Katehi, “Chemical Katehi” to her friends came in for a fair amount of criticism over the incident. Chemical Katehi earns $424,360 as Chancellor and has a number of outside corporate posts that pay nicely too.
Katehi has clearly read Orwell’s 1984 and decided that she too fancied a convenient “memory hole” down which to dump any and all internet references to the incident above, and whilst they were at it any rude comments that might have been directed to herself in the course of this debacle. So she gets the University to cough up $15,000 a month to a firm to abolish any references to the past.
Shame is that she has been caught at this and I suspect there will be even more unflattering references to the way she does business then were ever there before.
Which only proves that if we value free speech, and liberty we must simply must keep our eyes open at all times and call out the rich and powerful when they seek to abolish history.
Copyright David Macadam 2016