It is true that Orwell was a socialist, but that seems to be about all Ball knows about him or his works.
CJ Ciaramella says that Ball has “the reading skills of a potato,” at which I spewed some coffee. He writes:
This is such a willfully stupid misreading that it doesn’t warrant much comment. However, for those who haven’t read Animal Farm since high school, as seems to be the case with Ball: The book is a satire of Soviet Russia specifically and a parable about totalitarianism in general. Every major event in the book mirrors an event in Soviet history, from the Bolshevik Revolution to Trotsky fleeing the country to Stalin’s cult of personality.
At the end of the book the once-egalitarian farm has devolved into a dictatorship where the animals toil harder, longer, and for less food than they did under the yoke of human masters before the revolution.
So Animal Farm might be the worst analogy for the problems of late capitalism. A better example might be that our system has produced someone with the critical reading skills of a potato, and then allowed her to rise to the position of a national TV news host, mostly by virtue of her membership in the entrenched political class.
What is most impressive, though, is that MSNBC couldn’t locate an appropriate reference to inequality in the works of a lifelong socialist. It’s not as if one has to search hard to find Orwell railing against class divisions.
To make Ball’s Animal Farm gaffe even more mockable, it was actually part of some sneering commentary about the ‘ostensibly economically literate’ Wall Street Journal.
All I can say is bless her heart. But Orwell said it better. In 1984 he wrote of a female employee at the Ministry of Truth:
“She was an attractive woman of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended.”
(if you haven’t read both these books, you should: Animal Farm and 1984)