The pathway under the railway bridge is illuminated by gentle lights. As I pass out from underneath the dark grey bricks, I see the row of houses on the right.
Further down the street, the darkness is fighting with the warmth leaking out from street lamps. The light coming from the houses is an eerie blue. As I begin to walk past these people’s homes, I’m always intrigued.
Firstly, why do so many have the curtains open and allow anyone walking by a complete snapshot into their private lives? Secondly, what is the blue-ish glow coming from each of the front rooms? House after house, this glow radiates onto the faces of the families perched corpse-like on their sofas.
In 1984, Orwell’s haunting tale of Winston Smith and life under a totalitarian state, we learn about telescreens. These are how the government of Oceania both monitor the activity of the upper and middle classes and bombard them with propaganda.
Orwell describes in the first chapter, how the telescreen is usually placed in a central position, where it can “command the whole room.”
Large TVs are cheap. Some people position them in the corner. Some people have them on a cabinet backed against a wall. Some have them mounted on the wall. But the common theme is that they are usually the main focus of the living room.
In regards to those that are mounted, a 42-inch TV, fixed in the centre of the wall, truly dominates.
Orwell’s tale wasn’t a prediction of the future. It was the product of a shift in society that he saw occurring and decided to extend to it’s most absolute and absurd limits.
But he was right about one thing.
We all ended up with big screens that spew propaganda mounted on our walls.