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Friday, July 01, 2005

The Ministry of Truth

In the latest move by the
Ministry of Truth, an 8 minute video that is shown to visitors at the Lincoln Memorial is being re-edited to reflect a more "fair and balanced" viewpoint. As reported in this AP story:

Park Service documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show officials purchased video of President Bush, pro-gun advocates and pro-Iraq war rallies and also considered removing images of Democratic former President Clinton at the memorial.

Apparently some Conservative groups are upset because:

"The video gave the impression that Lincoln would have supported abortion and homosexuality," said the Web site of Rev. Louis Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition. It cited footage showing events at the memorial staged by abortion and gay rights supporters and war opponents but no similar footage from Christian and conservative interests.

Of course the focus of the video (which, in it's still un-edited form, can be viewed in it's entirety here), and by implication the legacy of Lincoln, is the struggle for civil rights. So even though the insertion of footage representing "traditional values" doesn't really make sense to me, I'm not adamantly opposed to their inclusion. After all, intolerance, war mongering and violence have made America what it is today and for a more honest representation of what the country is, perhaps they should be included.

The thing, well 2 things actually, that really scares me is the proposal of removing Clinton from the video. The first is that this is the kind of photographic trickery that was employed in Stalinist Russia where re-writing history was a State endorsed activity. The second thing, and this is strikes me as really scary, is that the censorship is not even State directed. The Parks Department (which administers the monument) felt it necessary to consider removing Clinton on their own. The agency said no one from the White House ever contacted the Park Service or Interior Department about the video. In the end, the Clinton footage will stay in... removing him would have required a massive re-edit. But the fact that it was even considered, and that the censorship was self-initiated, indicates, to me at least, that Newspeak has really started to work it's way in.

To mix metaphors (and literary reference)... it really is a brave, new world.

And oh yeah, Happy 4th of July. Long may freedom wave.