Huxley vs. Orwell: The Webcomic

Stuart McMillen’s webcomic adapts (and updates) Postman’s famous book-length essay, Amusing Ourselves to Death, which argues that Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future in Brave New World was ultimately more accurate than the one proposed by George Orwell in 1984. (Via).

99 thoughts on “Huxley vs. Orwell: The Webcomic”

  1. Very insightful.
    I think both have elements of truth to them without a doubt.

    Huxley may have been more on the head in terms of todays culture. But culture doesn’t pervade for long before something new comes along.

    We are definitely a world of dsitractees – but then, people don’t want to read about why the government wants to spy on our internet activity. They want safe and soft, win tickets to the big weekend, Footballer’s wife loses 1lb – from here nose!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Orwell was right about those who are in power or seeking power and Huxley was right about the culture that allows them to get and remain in power.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would like to add Fahrenheit 451 to the conversation about which work US is becoming most like. An amalgam, with the observation by Stalin that a capitalist will sell you his grandmother for a buck and will commit suicide for two $.


  3. I’d say both were right

    We are addicted ad what we love kind of ruin us in a way?

    We see censorship increasing. Look going to a library to read books kind of have a limited range, while with internet the range is bigger, so why access to book online have been getting harder since internet could be the biggest library of actuality? What about mass media and govern censorship of information?

    What about the war of information and misinformation?


  4. Thought-provoking.

    In the western world, Huxley’s view has held up (e.g. the US). In dictatorial/autocratic societies, Orwell’s (e.g. North Korea). In religiously-dominated societies a separate vision is appropriate. Has anyone written a Brave New World/1984 dystopian view of a world dominated by religion?

    I guess there’s always 2012, the classic album by Rush – where art and culture and has been banned by a monastic government until a young man or boy with a ludicrously high-pitched voice (Geddy Lee) finds a guitar which miraculously he tunes and works out how to play…


    1. Completely agree with your first two propositions. Reading Postman in the East Bloc in the ’90s, that became abundantly clear.


    2. Based on Anthem? Fuck, I loved that book. You should read it ’cause it perfectly fits with what you’re describing.


  5. Bit of a misrepresentation. The aim of 1984 was the depiction of and a study into a perfect totalitarian regime, not necessarily the depiction of the legitimate future of world politics, and least of all, the lifestyles of people in a capitalist society. The very order of the names in the title should speak of a hefty authorial bias toward one man.


  6. As a future high school English teacher, I’m very interested in incorporating this webcomic into a lesson plan. Opening the debate to my students would be an excellent opportunity for them. I would love to have this as a poster to hang in my classroom. Do you have such a product available anywhere or are you interested in making such a product available?


  7. […] Totally. Or, like, not even talk about the issues, if you know what I’m saying. And right there, criticizing Upworthy’s vanilla headline policy risks being conflated with criticizing the causes they inexplicitly promote. When do we cross over from avoiding negativity around contentious issues to simply “amusing ourselves to death”? […]


  8. […] The mainstream media, recognising the consumers’ desire for an easy-to-understand worldview, has adapted – simplifying complex issues, sensationalising popular issues and ignoring the issues that may lead to unwanted mental effort by the consumer. Combined with undue influences by those in power (i.e. the media owners), this propensity for shortcuts is taking us further and further down the road to a trivialised culture, as portrayed in Stuart McMillen’s comic “Huxley vs Orwell”. […]


  9. All is true in every aspect as they both connot the current situation and our society that we live in its just realisation with a bit more “intellectual depiction on modern society both where right on every aspwct ” we are all slaves to our own desires we all want to fit in…


  10. Deserves a “why not both?” meme. As the great divide between my mother and father and their reasons for switching off shows (never mind my own reasons for doing so), the world is too complicated for one or the other to be wholly correct.


  11. […] con mayor frecuencia recordamos aquel webcómic que, allá por el año 2009, con el título de Amusing ourselves to death, publicó Stuart McMillen, confrontando la distopía de Aldous Huxley Un mundo feliz (Brave New […]


  12. Both Orwell and Huxley are completely accurate in their predictions of the future. We live in a world full of drones, cameras, screens that provide endless monitoring of us, secret prisons and Big Brother “keeping us safe” from folks who may not even exist. We also live in a world awash in powerful mood altering drugs that are handed out like candy, a world full of mind numbing distractions and a world where people only care about fulfilling their base urges.

    One thing about 1984 most people forget is that it wasn’t ALL boot-on-the-face. While still under the boot, the Proles were largely ignored because they were too distracted with their pitiful lives and were kept too stupid to pose a threat even if they wanted to. Party Members (Inner & Outer) like Winston Smith were the most watched & most severely punished because they were smart enough to ask questions, seek the truth, or pose a threat. Fear also worked better on them because they were capable of understanding the risks involved with having “bad” thoughts. This is mirrored in life today. Ask too many questions, expose the truth, pose a threat to the established order, and you’ll be targeted for a trip to Room 101. (Just ask Winston SmithBradley Manning or Emmanuel Goldstein Edward Snowden)


  13. Both wrote books warning us about possible dystopian futures, but only one impacted us enough to help us avoid that future. Orwell accomplished his end.


  14. Reblogged this on WHAT THE HELL and commented:
    I was just passing a little time before resuming the chaos when I discovered this terrific comparison of the culture-fears of Orwell vs Huxley. As much as we love to hate Big Brother, it looks like Huxley was more prescient, and it was “Big Brother” the TV show that won…


  15. The truth is a combination of both. Censorship (of the wholesome) while pushing everything not conducive to a civil society. The ruination of a nation by pain and pleasure. Brave new 1984.


  16. There are three major dystopias that are alarmingly close to becoming a reality in America in my opinion.

    Brave New World is ultimately what I believe a couple more centuries of Neoliberalism is going to look like. And it’s the dystopia most likely to come true in my opinion.

    Nineteen Eighty-Four is what the end result of the triumph of the Far Left in America. While I think people like AOC are ultimately more naive than malicious, that doesn’t mean the people behind and beside them are. Even the most well intentioned revolutions often lead to Robespierre/Stalin types gaining control in the end.

    The Handmaid’s Tale is what will be the ultimate end result of the triumph of the Far Right in America. And I’m not even talking about Trump here. I’m talking about the so-called ‘Trad’ types. There’s a whole, massive youth movement that eschews the modern and embraces outright medieval (and VERY sexist) cultural norms and calls for the disenfranchisement of women. And, get this, there are many WOMEN who go along with it!


  17. […] In questo numero vogliamo proporvi due capisaldi della letteratura distopica. Pagine che fanno del mondo una tela grigia in cui il cittadino è anestetizzato in modo speculare: lì dove appare carente di senso civico plasmato da un modello edonistico di società incentrata sul consumo e l’eliminazione del dolore, si contrappone uno fondato sulla continua creazione di dolore attraverso una perpetua violenza distruttiva e il controllo di massa. Dall’unione dei due, nasce uno spaccato sulla nostra società a forma di fumetti. Leggi il webcomic […]


  18. […] He said: “In the UK … is the system of regulation where anything goes. They collect everything that might be interesting. It’s up to the government to justify why it needs this. It’s not up to you to justify why it doesn’t … This is where the danger is, when we think about … evidence being gathered against us but we don’t have the opportunity to challenge that in courts. It undermines the entire system of justice.” He also said he thought that the lack of coverage by the UK papers of the story, or the hostile coverage of it, other than by the Guardian, “did a disservice to the public”. Hero or Villain? Guy Fawkes – Manchester Historian. He wasn’t an anarchist. He didn’t manage to blow up parliament. He wasn’t even the mastermind behind the Gunpowder plot. Why then do we remember Guy Fawkes in the way we do? Why has his very image become synonymous with resistance to authority and promotion of anarchy? Guido Fawkes was born Guy Fawkes on the 13th April 1570 in York. Huxley vs. Orwell: The Webcomic. […]


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