November 25, 2002
POOR GEORGE:A Pig Returns to the Farm, Thumbing His Snout at Orwell (DINITIA SMITH, November 25, 2002, NY Times)
What if Snowball had his chance? An American novelist has written a parody of "Animal Farm," George Orwell's 1945 allegory about the evils of communism, in which the exiled pig, Snowball, returns to the farm and sets up a capitalist state, leading to misery for all the animals. The book, "Snowball's Chance" by John Reed, is being published this month by Roof Books, a small independent press in New York. And the estate of George Orwell is not happy about it. [...]
In Orwell's allegory, the animals go hungry and are worked to death for the benefit of their communist pig masters. In the final scene the animals gaze into the window of the farmhouse watching the pigs cavorting with their human oppressors and can no longer tell the two apart.
Mr. Reed decided to turn Orwell's classic back on itself. In his parody Napoleon, the Stalinist pig dictator of "Animal Farm," dies, and his old rival, Snowball, returns transformed into a corporate capitalist dressed in cuff links and a blazer. "Tonight, I present an animalage of such erudition that all the wisdom of the village is now ours," Snowball says, announcing a new, decidedly free-market credo for the farm: "All animals are born equal - what they become is their own affair."
The farm initially expands under capitalism. The animals get hot water and air-conditioning, start wearing clothes and begin walking on their hind legs. The farm encroaches on the territory of the neighboring woodland animals. The pigs bomb the beaver dams and disrupt the free flow of water - make that oil - in the forest. Eventually the farm's ecology is destroyed by overdevelopment, and it is turned into one giant Disney theme park, complete with confessional sideshows.
The woodland creatures, led by the beavers - read Islamic fundamentalists - incensed at the destruction of their environment, attack the twin windmills, which power the farm and are a stand-in for the towers of the World Trade Center. The book ends with the farm animals crying out for revenge against the fundamentalists: "`Kill the beavers! Kill the beavers! Kill! Kill!"'
His stature is amply demonstrated by the way all of us desperately want to believe that Orwell would be on our side. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2002 10:47 PM