June meeting

Next meeting: July 9th.

Today, we finished chapter 14 of “Reading Lolita in Tehran”, and started reading chapter 15, up to the middle of p. 50 “Look at Salman Rushdie‘s case.” Thank you to all of you who attended and contributed to the discussion. The fact that we did not get very far in the novel is because of all the interesting side-tracks we went down!

Some references that came up today:

  • “To thine own self be true” (said by Polonius to Hamlet in the Shakespeare play of that name). This is a famous quotation, and many people know it, even if they are not sure where it came from. The concept is a key part of Western culture.
  • The Age of Innocence“, a painting by British 18th-century artist Joshua Reynolds.
  • “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, a dystopian novel by George Orwell, considered perhaps the most accurate portrayal of authoritarian and totalitarian thinking, tactics and strategies to control a population: I quote from Wikipedia:

    Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, Telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered everyday use since its publication in 1949. Moreover, Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a totalitarian or authoritarian state.