Are we imitating art?

While certainly an age-old question, the concept of life and art mimicking each other seems to be becoming even more evident in modern times. Whether a matter of politics, entertainment, or simply our day to day lives, it would seem many things and activities we use and do today are taken directly --or at least in part inspired by– creative works.


Media such as films or television programs are large contributors to this phenomena, and with the advent of multimedia giants such as YouTube, Twitter, and the now defunct Vine, the effect would seem to increase exponentially. This isn’t simply a new occurrence, either. It’s widely speculated that devices such as cellular devices and PDAs were derived as concepts from popular television shows such as Star Trek in the 1960s.


Perhaps the most evident Science Fiction trope that has seeped into the real world is Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, VR, AR, or whatever you choose to call it, has been a Sci-Fi staple for generations. Now, in the 21st century, it has begun to truly gain its computer-based legs. In recent years, companies such as tech giants HTC, Sony, and Valve, Inc. have made impressive, great strides to make Virtual Reality a...reality. Unfortunately, video games and cell phones aren’t the only transfer from Art to the Real World.


Nineteen Eighty-Fourby George Orwell paints a picture of a nation that has been overcome by what is essentially a dictator state. Constant surveillance of the populace, as well as a universal police program that ensures you don’t so much as think of something that goes against, “The Party.” “The Party,” tells you what to think, what to say, and what to feel about anything and everything, and creativity and love are most certainly outlawed. Orwell wrote the novel soon after World War II, detailing life under Stalinization and Communism, as well as a totalitarian state. Recently, many people have begun drawing parallels from Orwell’s novel to the modern day.


In Orwell’s novel, the Ministry of Truth is constantly rewriting history and news to suit the present and its circumstances, to ensure the Party’s power. Jean Seaton of the BBC connected this to modern social and mass media, which collects your data such as purchasing history, browser activity, products you’ve searched, and uses it to tailor your browser experience to advertise these items more often. It’s also speculated that this data that our computers, cell phones, and browsers collect is being used in political campaigns, and, “distorting Democracy.”


Nineteen Eighty-Four may not have been directly predicting or prophesizing 2019, but the themes and actions it portrays are certainly making some disturbingly common and similar appearances in the United States, and the world, today. If you’d like reassurance; I’d recommend reading George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four for yourself, it’s a great novel—if a bit unsettling.


Zach Delfs is a senior at Grundy Center High School and a spring intern at the Grundy Register who will be attending the University of Northern Iowa to study History and Journalism in the fall. He will be contributing both traditional reporting and opinion pieces this semester.