I recently started Homage to Catalonia by Orwell, which somehow I had never read. It’s quite good so far and I just read this very amusing passage:
One of the dreariest effects of this war has been to teach me that the Left-wing press is every bit as spurious and dishonest as that of the Right. I do earnestly feel that on our side — the Government side — this war was different from ordinary, imperialistic wars; but from the nature of the war-propaganda you would never have guessed it. The fighting had barely started when the newspapers of the Right and Left dived simultaneously into the same cesspool of abuse. We all remember the Daily Mail’s poster: ‘REDS CRUCIFY NUNS’, while to the Daily Worker Franco’s Foreign Legion was ‘composed of murderers, white- slavers, dope-fiends, and the offal of every European country’. As late as October 1937 the New Statesman was treating us to tales of Fascist barricades made of the bodies of living children (a most unhandy thing to make barricades with), and Mr Arthur Bryant was declaring that ‘the sawing-off of a Conservative tradesman’s legs’ was ‘a commonplace’ in Loyalist Spain. The people who write that kind of stuff never fight; possibly they believe that to write it is a substitute for fighting. It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propaganda-tours. Sometimes it is a comfort to me to think that the aeroplane is altering the conditions of war. Perhaps when the next great war comes we may see that sight unprecedented in all history, a jingo with a bullet-hole in him.
When it comes to propaganda about war, I guess we have made a lot of progress since then, for it’s now completely one-sided… Speaking of that, I haven’t forgotten I still owe you a follow-up to my post on the chemical attack in Syria, which I will post as soon as possible. I actually wrote 7,000 words a month ago, but after that I have been really busy, so I didn’t have time to finish it. I think it will probably be around 10,000 words by the time it’s done, which is just a few hours of work since I already know what I want to say, but I’m really short on time these days. In the meantime, I will post something about the reason why the cost of health care is so high in the US later this week, since I have already written it a while ago and was just waiting for the right time to post it.