George Orwell: A Literary Giant’s Quest for Democratic Socialism

George Orwell would have been 108 on June 25th 2011 had he somehow managed to kick tuberculosis in the yarbles and been one of the lucky few who live past 98.

George Orwell

Orwell (born Eric Arthur Blair) was a writer who, after many years struggling as a bookshop clerk, freelancer, BBC radio host and columnist, came to fame after the publication of his last novel 1984, an anti-utopian/dystopian tale of a totalitarian future. The book introduced the public at large to Orwell’s long-held political views of anti-totalitarianism:

As Orwell wrote in his essay Why I Write:

Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.

To mark the occasion, I’ve chosen my favorite quotes from his fiction and non-fiction novels (that I’ve read) to highlight his views as they matured over the course of his life and work.

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Happy Birthday Harry Nilsson and RIP!

Harry Nilsson would have been 70 today had it not been for heart failure in 1994.

Nilsson! (photographer unknown)

From Dangerous Minds:

If you’re under 45-years of age, you might have little idea of who the great singer/songwriter/hellraiser Harry Nilsson was, but surely almost everyone has heard his biggest hits “Everybody’s Talkin’” (from the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack), “Without You” (a Badfinger cover given its devastating emotional impact by Harry’s plaintiff three octave vocal range, later recorded by Mariah Carey) and “Coconut” which was used in dozens of movies (normally during a drinking scene) and in more than one 7UP advertising campaign.

Many will recognize Nilsson’s “Coconut” from the ending credits to Reservoir Dogs:

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Henry Rollins turns 50: A Brief Guide to Kicking Ass at Everything in Life

Henry Rollins has hit the point in every artist’s/icon’s career where his name becomes an adjective. His contributions to music, politics and entertainment are many and could fill up a multi-volume book. Considering this vast and intimidating mountain of work, I present below a (very) brief summary of his life for those who are just now getting acquainted and want to know what all the fuss is about.

Henry Rollins. Photo by Shawn Mortensen

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