What makes a book a classic?

Nov 10, 2008
by: csloan
To me, a "classic" is a story that continues to find relevance long after the work has been composed.  For instance, there are always a lot of references to George Orwell's 1984 around any election time, but this year there seems to be even more references to the classic, and by people of all persuasions.  Just this week alone Republicans and Democrats alike have been cited as Orwellian.
Not surprisingly our outgoing president has identified as having Orwellian tendencies. 
President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others — few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball.

Editorial - So Little Time, So Much Damage - NYTimes.com


And it follows that another political figure associated with the Current Occupant's party is likewise labeled.  Here's a snippet about still-Governor Palin from an editorial from the Anchorage Times:

The following appeared as an editorial in the Anchorage Daily News. Sarah Palin's reaction to the Legislature's Troopergate report is an embarrassment to Alaskans and the nation. She claims the report "vindicates" her. She said that the investigation found "no unlawful or unethical activity on my part." Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.

Commentary: Palin should read troopergate report | Related Story Assets | Idaho Statesman


But it should be noted that even Barak Obama isn't above the fray. The agenda on his transitional website used to be full of information, now it's a bit sparse.  Luckily the original was saved by Google cache 

Currently, the Agenda section of the web site lists a brief, generalized statement of the plans of the President-elect. However, prior to the evening of Saturday, November 8, 2008, the Agenda section was quite rich in content, with numerous web pages on various subjects. It appears that thousands of interested parties disagreed with many of the policies listed, and they posted their concerns on the web site's commentary section, appropriately dubbed Of the People, By the People. Suddenly and without notice, the whole Agenda section disappeared. It was as if the agenda of the President-elect had been "rectified" by the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984.

Change.gov: A Bit Orwellian? - iReport.com


So, in the end, the original is available thanks to Google.  And even though Google itself is being scrutinized by Consumer Watchdog over its use of gathering of private facts, this is one example of how 'digital permanence' has served the public well.