Some cool 1984 Teaching Resources

We have a week left in our semester, and I'm already planning for next year.

I will teach two honors English 11 classes, and as things would happen, two interesting resources on our summer reading, George Orwell's classic, 1984, have come to light.

I will begin with a lighter note:'s list, "These Parody Book Covers will make any True Literary Nerd Laugh out Loud." That headline is like crack. "True literary nerd" you say? Sign me up.

The list is genuinely hilarious, none more so than this parody book cover

2017. Get it? Ha ha.

Yet in 2017, dark things are afoot. Facebook founders are coming clean and stating that social media "[destroys] how society works" or hijacking our morality. Google pops up on my phone with messages like, "I see you're at X restaurant. Care to tell us about the place?"

Maybe not.

The BBC Features Surveillance in China

In the past six months, I have added BBC World Service's Global News Podcast to my morning routine. After the alarming news of last year's U.S. Election and the general disinterest in Truth in American culture, I turn more and more to foreign news sources like the BBC and The Economist.

This morning's podcast ("Trump Harassment Accusers Demand Inquiry" 12 Dec 2017, begins at 19:13) featured a story by reporter John Sudworth on the rapid rise in the use of CCTV and Artificial Intelligence to identify people around the city. China currently has 170 million CCTV cameras in place for monitoring citizens, and it is estimated that another 400 million cameras will come online in the next three years.

Sudworth's story adds a little James Bond-esque element to his description of the surveillance system. After getting his picture taken and his face scanned into the system, Sudworth goes out into the city to see how long he can avoid surveillance. Soon the police are on him, asking for his ID. It's pretty intense stuff for a radio podcast.

BBC News adds video to Sudworth's radio story.

When I was reading 1984 in the 1980s, only a few years after the fateful date, I remembered thinking that it was logical that a government would track its citizens to such a great extent. What I found unbelievable at the time, was that anyone could afford to have a screen in every room and public place. I had grown up with two black & white TV sets in the house. A third or a fourth was, to me, unthinkable.

Now I carry a screen in my pocket. I have 25 screens on in my classroom. The most unbelievable aspects of 1984 to me then are reality today.

I'll update this post from time to time as new resources emerge.

Update 1/4/2018

I saw this photo on Chive from a Thai police car. (Yes I am aware of the alternative meaning of "THOT," but I can still connect it to 1984, can't I?