It’s hardly ever a pleasure to read Orwell, or Christopher Hitchens, for that matter, but after you do, you’re annoyed at how worthwhile you find it. (Unless, of course, you’re a huge Henry Kissinger fan. Or Henry Kissinger.) To wit, Hitchens’ writing on Orwell in the LA Weekly. Having just barely finished cleaning up the piles and bills and invites and life that accumulated during the editing of Souvenir, this excerpt from Orwell’s “Confessions of a Book Reviewer,” pulled me right in (just find and replace “cigarettes::red vines” and “tea::diet coke”):
In a cold but stuffy bed-sitting room littered with cigarette ends and half-empty cups of tea, a man in a moth-eaten dressing gown sits at a rickety table, trying to find room for his typewriter among the piles of dusty papers that surround it. He cannot throw the papers away because the wastepaper basket is already overflowing, and besides, somewhere among the unanswered letters and unpaid bills it is possible that there is a cheque for two guineas which he is nearly certain he forgot to pay into the bank. There are also letters with addresses which ought to be entered into his address book. He has lost his address book, and the thought of looking for it, or indeed of looking for anything, afflicts him with acute suicidal impulses.
(Oh, and find and replace “acute suicidal impulses::self-doubt and recurrent calculations of the income I’m forgoing by not working for The Man.)