Blairly 100

Jun. 25 - I think I caught a cold while running around in the rain on Sankt Hans, so no blogging today... just a quick briefing and I'm out of here.

Eric Arthur Blair was born one hundred years ago today, in the Indian village of Motihari near the Nepalese border. His British father was an agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service (from which department we derive the phrase "high officials"). The family returned to England in 1907 so that young Eric could struggle and fail out of school. By 1921 he had returned to the subcontinent and joined the police in Burma. He spent five years with the Burmese police before returning to England to quit and struggle. He stayed in England for a year, then went to France to be poor.

Finally he returned to England and wrote a book about being poor in Paris but no one wanted to publish it. He told his mother to burn the book (she did not), then wrote a new one about being a policeman in Burma. It too was rejected by several publishers. Meanwhile, however, his mother had been sneaking around with the book she hadn't burned and had found a publisher for her son.

Upon submitting the final manuscript to the publisher, Blair decided that a book about being poor in Paris written by a middle-class servant of the British Empire might not look good, so he decided to write under a pen-name. The name he chose was George Orwell.

Later he wrote a book about the political frivoloties of farm animals, and another one about a future that sucked (he later acknowledged that it would have been a cheerier book if he hadn't written it while dying of tuberculosis). Finally he became a Famous Author and even a Great Writer, but by then he was dead, whatever his name was.

You can read a short version of 1984 in my own book.

It's Independence Day in both Mozambique and Slovenia.

Today is also the birthday of Jimmie Walker (1949), June Lockhart (1925), and Sidney Lumet (1924).

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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