Everyone knows George Orwell as the author of 1984 and Animal Farm, two outstandingly brilliant, fictional novels.
Yet, looking at Orwell from his journalism it is clear that this man was a man of talents.
His ability to see things in their context and as an individual has given rise to people referring to themselves as Orwellians.
As stated, he is predominately known for writing fiction, yet there is something about the leftist writer that really impacted on journalism.
Humour was a great tool and he knew how to use it.
In one of his articles, he discusses the impact of turn-up trouser ends. I couldn’t help but laugh and smile at this article, it truly is a work of pure genius.
‘If we are really fighting for turned-up trouser ends, I should be inclined to be pro-Axis. Turn-ups have no function except to collect dust and no virtue except that when you clean them out you occasionally find a sixpence there.’
‘The sooner we are able to stop food rationing the better I shall be pleased but I would like to see clothes’ rationing continue till the moths have devoured the last dinner jacket and even the undertakes have shed their top hats.’
Aren’t you all smiling at this right now? He knew how to captivate and hold his readers and it seems modern-day journalists are lacking in this.
Whether this is because of the times and people are not patient enough to sit and read an article, but where has the creativity gone?
There are so many rules and requirements journalists must adhere to but it is limiting the room for imagination.
With Arts desks constantly being reduced in numbers, there is really no way to express opinions, albeit outside the blogosphere.
Orwell knew the importance of his audience and his range of subject matters was truly an inspiration.
In his 1938 account of the Spanish Civil War, titled Homage to Catalonia, Orwell shows his journalistic knowledge.
In the introduction he writes:
‘In the Lenin barracks in Barcelona, the day before I joined the militia, I saw an Italian militiaman standing in front of the officers’ table.’
For anyone who doesn’t know anything about journalism, the bog-standard introduction uses the Who, What, Where, When, Why, How structure.
Orwell’s introduction to Homage to Catalonia uses this and covers all aspects of journalism introductions and can be applicable to any writing.
Homage to Catalonia and his other non-fiction works (including Down and Out in Paris and London and the countless essays he wrote) show his talents and abilities as a writer and every journalist should really consider Orwell as an idol.
I most certainly do!
If I ever have a career like Orwell’s I will be one happy journalist.
What a brilliant guy.