Bella Peacock

Finger Pointing with Orwell

The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power.

-GEORGE OWELL, 1932

We all know that guy - overeducated and underachieving. He clings to the notion that negativity is the refuge of the wise, while his superhuman ability to point out the world's flaws renders him a real life Captain Hindsight. We roll our eyes as he self-righteously chimes into any and every discussion to berate everyone in a 10 metre radius for their stupidity and lack of social awareness.

Yeah, we know that guy. Orwell knew that guy. Heaven forbid, perhaps you ARE that guy. But let's be honest- we've got bigger problems than our agro and hyper-critical friend here. Alas, these quarrelsome codgers are no longer confined to the upper echelons of the Left. The ailment of chipped shoulders seems to have circulated throughout society, travelled down the proverbial arm, and birthed an entire nation of finger pointers.

No one is safe from the accusative extremity!

The ailment of chipped shoulders seems to have circulated throughout society, travelled down the proverbial arm, and birthed an entire nation of finger pointers

These professional tongue-lashers have infiltrated the government, the media, the corporations, hell, they've even got into our nursing homes (or has this always been an affliction of old age?). While it is indeed true that a healthy bout of criticism is essential for any functioning democracy, I'm afraid that our obsession with pointing loaded finger-guns indicates something else entirely.

This is not accountability friends, it's a blame baton.

We don't have to look far to find some of the worst offenders; our humble nation's Capital houses an abundance. With a political agenda that consists of 99% condemnation and 0% bipartisan problem solving, it seems that by the time it gets down to policy-making the arguments get hazy and we once again refocus our sights on big bums and budgie smugglers.

Lets be honest though- who doesn't secretly get off on beating people with the baton of blame? It's a special skillset mastered with time; in fact we could probably learn a thing or two from older generations. For decades our seniors have been pointing their wrinkly, bitter old fingers at us young whippersnappers. The name calling catalogue is boundless, but classics include: lazy, navel-gazing, uncommunicative and entitled. Easy grandma, doesn't this sound at all familiar? Didn't your very own agitated elders say the same things about you? Will we too one day be muttering those textbook phrases to our children as they hop on their hoverboards and scoot off into the increasingly amoral world? Probably.

We can all sing the glory of a time when criticism was strictly appropriated to improve society. However I seriously doubt such a utopia ever existed outside romanticised recollections, so sweetly tinged by nostalgia and rose coloured glasses.

Orwell, that sneaky old chum, has managed to once again point his prophetic fingers from the grave. His uncomfortably accurate observations apparently becoming increasingly relevant in contemporary society- be afraid!

Orwell, that sneaky old chum, has managed to once again point his prophetic fingers from the grave

Or perhaps this is all we've ever done. Pointed our fingers willy-nilly until we progress toward a less bad solution. Sure, we all like to think ourselves capable of devising masterful solutions, just not right this second. Truth is, for so many things in the world there ARE NO solutions. We have nothing to say. We're caught with our pants down, desperately trying to disguise our own embarrassment by laughing at someone else's exposure.

We're all on edge, just waiting for the next verbal crusade. It's like a bloody spaghetti western in here. A loaded finger-gun standoff, ready to explode into wordy warfare at any second. Ah, the relentless carousel of finger-pointing. We're smart enough to see there's something wrong, but feeling too marginalised, over-worked and under-appreciated (etc), to do anything about it. So for now we'll just keep aiming our lanky limbs and hope that someone, somewhere comes up with a solution that's a little less crap- so then we can scrutinise something else for a while.


by Bella Peacock