Comics / Spotlight / Progressive Panels

Ted Rall's 2024: It's Coming True

By Andy Frisk
August 14, 2012 - 21:47

"Wherever he went, wherever he looked, advertising told Winston what to wear, where to go and who to love. And it had worked out: he'd never been hungry or cold, nor had anyone he'd met. All that was asked for-not asked, but implied-was apathy. And conformity meant popularity. And that was fun! Humanity had arrived at the highest stage of development: anarcho-capitalism and subsidiary government. History had ended in 1991, so there was nothing better to do thatn have a good time before one croaked."

-Ted Rall

Ted Rall's 2024, a reimagining of George Orwell's 1984 (which was published over a decade ago) is proving to be much more relevant to the current state of affairs in the the 1st World than Orwell's book could ever, and now will never, be. Loosely following the plot of 1984, but changing out Big Brother and his totalitarian government for much more real, and therefore much more frightening, totalitarian multinational corporations and their own version of Big Brother: advertising and ignorance, 2024 is looking more and more like the world outside the windows of the high rise every day.

Everything in 2024, from the desire to entice apathy, to what to think of other people, other nations, the future, and especially the past are controlled by the constant mind-numbing and always-on advertising and the brainwashing effect of the soundbite. History is constantly being rewritten, but in 2024 it is all rewritten in order to boost a profit or manipulate the apathetic and ignorant populace into spending their money on the latest fashion or gadget that "needs" to be consumed. To quote Tyler Durden, "advertising has (them) chasing cars and clothes, working jobs (they) hate so (they) can buy shit (they) don't need." Tyler's quote might seem relevant to our current predicament here in 2012, but in the world of Rall's 2024 such thought isn't something that Winston can even comprehend. He is so engrained into the advertising and corporitized system that it is his Matrix, and he lives in ignorant bliss. Like the Winston of 1984 though, the Winston of 2024, on a deep psychological level, realizes there is something wrong, but his rebellion against the machine falls short too...

2024 is a cautionary tale who's terrors can be picked out of the world around us much more easily than those of 1984 ever could have been, because 2024's terrors exist right here in the US, not in some fictional land like Oceania. The way to total control is through money, not the mastering of the dichotomy of guns vs. butter, and money and its pursuit, as a means to power, is everywhere around us. In 2024, Rall states that history ended in 1991. From the point of view of the organic music industry, this is arguably true. The "new rock revolution" of the late 1980s and the early 1990s will most likely never happen again. Every aspect of anything creative musically or organic is now controlled, massively dumbed down, and massively marketed by music corporations. Yes, some bastions of organic music and artists still exist in various pockets of the world wide web, but for how long? Corporate personhood has been upheld, and even given the right to donate money directly to their candidate of choice in order to buy them, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. The ruling specifically equates free speech with money. So those with the most money, i.e. corporations and entities like the Koch Brothers, can buy (or at least attempt to buy) their candidates into office. Bought and paid for "news" entities like Fox News serve as mouthpieces for the oligarchy. News organizations such as this peddle falsehoods and attempt to rewrite history. They also make it easier to exert control over what people believe to be true by appealing to the most base of emotions, namely by stirring up fear and bigotry. All of these things happen in Ted Rall's 2024 in the extreme. Will it be too long before they happen in the extreme in the real world? Or are they already happening? Ignorance is on the rise, and a blind adherence to flawed logic and an abborence of compromise in the political process, the foundation upon which any open and democratic society is built upon, are rampant.

It is the ignorance that Winston and his compatriotic corporate clones display that is the most frightening though. When Winston's lover Julia asks him, "Do you think something important has really been lost?" he replies, "No. Yes. Whatever." He is completely ignorant of what has come before, since history has become an electronic text in the year 2024. It has been deleted and rewritten so many times that it cannot be understood, let alone properly recalled. The pursuit of mindless entertainment, shopping, and video games keeps the populace from bothering...even learn, think, or question. Why do these things? Surely not because they are the noble pursuits of humanity? No. These things require work and serious thought. Why bother to understand why Fox News is full of garbage? It's easier to have our opinions formed for us.

The problem is that these are opinions, not facts. They are the opinions of the absolute-power craving oligarchs. Ted Rall gives us a picture of our near future that is horrifyingly all too real. By 2024 Ted Rall's 2024 will most likely have been deleted, unless society gets its head out of its rear and starts to think on its own. Yes it takes work, but as Emerson said, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." Wake up. Read up. Think up. Ted Rall's 2024 wouldn't be a bad place to start.

Rating: 10 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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