"Some of Salvador Dali's pictures would tend to
poison the imagination like a pornographic postcard....
You have direct, unmistakable assault on sanity and decency
- and even on life itself."
ORWELL NOT SEXUALLY LIBERAL
"In Dali's outlook, in his character,
the bedrock decency of a human being does not exist....
Clearly, such people are undesirable, and
a society in which they can flourish
has something wrong with it."
~ George Orwell
To Orwell Today,
I always imagined that, as a man of the left, (and the man who coined the term "Anti-Sex League") that he would be 'sexually liberal'. Yet, there is clear anti-abortion sentiment expressed in KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING. HOMAGE TO CATALONIA and BURMESE DAYS contain clearly homophobic remarks.
The way he develops the "Anti-Sex" element of totalitarianism, especially through the character of Julia would appear to indicate that he liberalised just prior to death. Is this a fair judgement or was he guilty of DOUBLETHINK himself? What is your opinion? I have found discussion of this sexual element of his political thinking very hard to find. PLEASE HELP!
You're correct that Orwell wasn't "sexually liberal" (meaning pro-abortion, pro-pornography, pro-homosexuality etc) and no, he didn't ever change his attitude. See ORWELL AGAINST ABORTION.
In "1984", written at the end of his life, he described sexual perversion as a tool of totalitarian government (the Party, Big Brother) to destroy individuals, families and ultimately society:
30.Love Instinct & Family (...The Party was trying to kill sexual attraction, or, if it could not be killed, then to distort it and dirty it. The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act. Not love so much as eroticism was the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it....Tacitly the Party was even inclined to encourage prostitution, as an outlet for instincts which could not be altogether suppressed. Mere debauchery did not matter very much, so long as it was furtive and joyless and only involved the women of the submerged and despised class...The only recognized purpose of marriage was to get children for the service of the Party. For Party members all children were to be begotten by artificial insemination (artsem, it was called in Newspeak) and brought up in public institutions..."Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their parents at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an animal formality like the renewal of a ration card."...)
25.Prolefeed (...In the Ministry of Truth there was even a whole sub-section - Pornosec, it was called in Newspeak - engaged in producing the lowest kind of pornography....At school they had sex talks once a month for the over-sixteen and rubbed it into youth for years....)
35.The Brotherhood (...Members of the Brotherhood are prepared to...corrupt the minds of children; distribute habit-forming drugs; encourage prostitution; disseminate venereal diseases; do anything which is likely to cause demoralization of society...)
The point Orwell was trying to make in his description of the sexual relationship between Winston and Julia was that it was "normal" and by being so, it was against the law of Big Brother and was punishable by imprisonment, torture and death. The only kind of sex allowed under Big Brother was that based on "debauchery" and without committment, love or responsibility, and only with people of inferior status, ie members of the Inner Party with those of the Outer Party, and those of the Outer Party with those of the Masses - one-night-stands with prostitutes for example.
That is what Orwell meant by "Anti-Sex" and that is why members of the "Anti-Sex League" were allowed to engage in promiscuous sex (ie Julia had had sex many times) but were not allowed to engage in sex in the context of a long-lasting relationship. Children were ultimately to be conceived through artificial insemination and raised in institutions by Big Brother, not by natural parents in a family environment. Orwell got much of his ideas for this horrific scenario from HUXLEY'S BRAVE NEW WORLD.
Orwell's description of the normal sexual relationship between Winston and Julia - and the bond it formed - was symbolic of their defiance against the government, the Party, Big Brother and its "anti-sex" policies:
26.Rebellion (...Julia was twenty-six years old. She lived in a hostel with thirty other girls. She had no memories of anything before the early 'sixties, and the only person she had ever known who talked frequently of the days before the Revolution was a grandfather who had disappeared when she was eight. She had been a troop leader in the Spies and branch Secretary in the Youth League before joining the Anti-Sex League....Not merely the love of one person but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire; that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces. He pressed her down upon the grass, among the fallen bluebells. Presently the rising and falling of their breasts slowed to normal speed, and in a sort of pleasant helplessness they fell apart. The sun seemed to have grown hotter. They were both sleepy. Almost immediately they fell asleep and slept for about half an hour. Winston woke first. You could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act...)
31.Love Nest (...One never saw a double bed nowadays, except in the homes of the proles. Winston had occasionally slept in one in his boyhood: Julia had never been in one before, so far as she could remember. Presently they fell asleep for a little while. He did not stir, because Julia was sleeping with her head in the crook of his arm. He wondered vaguely whether in the abolished past it had been a normal experience to lie in bed like this, in the cool of a summer evening, a man and a woman with no clothes on, making love when they chose, talking of what they chose, not feeling any compulsion to get up, simply lying there and listening to peaceful sounds outside. Surely there could never have been a time when that seemed ordinary? Julia woke up, rubbed her eyes, and raised herself on her elbow to look at the oilstove. She suddenly twisted herself over in the bed, seized a shoe from the flooor, and sent it hurtling into the corner....
37.We Are The Dead (...He held Julia's supple waist easily encircled by his arm. From the hip to the knee her flank was against his. Out of their bodies no child would ever come. That was the one thing they could never do. Only by word of mouth, from mind to mind, could they pass on the secret. "Do you remember," he said, "the thrush that sang to us, that first day, at the edge of the wood?"....The birds sang, the proles sang, the Party did not sing. All round the world, In London and New York, in Africa and Brazil, and in the mysterious, forbidden lands beyond the frontiers, in the streets of Paris and Berlin, in the villages of the endless Russian plain, the bazaars of China and Japan - everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable figure, made monstrous by work and childbearing, toiling from birth to death and still singing. Out of those mighty loins a race of conscious beings must one day come. You were the dead; theirs was the future. But you could share in the future if you kept alive the mind as they kept alive the body, and passed on the secret doctrine that two plus two make four....)
There is no "doublethink" about sexuality in Orwell's life or his writing, as evidenced by the excerpts above. It is the government (ie the Party, Big Brother) which practices "doublethink":
22.Doublethink (...The official ideology abounds with contradictions....The Party systematically undermines the solidarity of the family all the while appealing to the sentiment of family...)
I hope that overview of Orwell's (and Winston's) attitude toward sex clears up any misconceptions you had about Orwell being "sexually liberal" in "1984". He wasn't "sexually liberal" nor was he sexually inhibited. He was "just right" on the subject.
Articles in this week's newspaper describe how Orwellianly far along the road to sexual depravity our government (Big Brother) - working with the mainstream media (the Ministry of Truth) - has taken us:
Looking for porn? Just turn on your TV (violent murderous sex - rape, bondage, mutilation - inundate network hits) & Telus cellphones to offer porn (users spent US$400-million last year downloading porn on mobiles) & Redneck Calgary wants gay tourists (worth US$65-billion in USA & billions in Canada). Canada.com, Jan 28, 2007
See those new articles compiled in TV PORN NOW MAINSTREAM under which I've listed several old articles - some by Orwell - describing how the ongoing sexual revolution is a means of corrupting minds and destroying society.
All the best,
PS - The quotes at the top of the page are from Orwell's 1944 review of Salvador Dali's book "The Secret Life", linked below:
SOME NOTES ON SALVADOR DALI (...His autobiography is simply a strip-tease act conducted in pink limelight....But as a record of fantasy, of the perversion of instinct that has been made possible by the machine age, it has great value....Pictures of his Surrealist period have titles like "The Great Masturbator", "Sodomy of a Skull with a Grand Piano", etc. There are reproductions of these all the way through the book. Many of Dali's drawings are simply representational and have a characteristic to be noted later. But from his Surrealist paintings and photographs the two things that stand out are sexual perversity and necrophilia. Sexual objects and symbols — some of them well known, like our old friend the high-heeled slipper, others, like the crutch and the cup of warm milk, patented by Dali himself — recur over and over again, and there is a fairly well-marked excretory motif as well. In his painting, Le Jeu Lugubre, he says, 'the drawers bespattered with excrement were painted with such minute and realistic complacency that the whole little Surrealist group was anguished by the question: Is he coprophagic or not?'....Even when he recounts the experience of watching a woman urinate standing up, he has to add the detail that she misses her aim and dirties her shoes. It is not given to any one person to have all the vices, and Dali also boasts that he is not homosexual, but otherwise he seems to have as good an outfit of perversions as anyone could wish for....And finally there is the picture — apparently some kind of faked photograph — of 'Mannequin rotting in a taxicab'. Over the already somewhat bloated face and breast of the apparently dead girl, huge snails were crawling. In the caption below the picture Dali notes that these are Burgundy snails — that is, the edible kind...)
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