Everything is now a sign which means culture has completed its work. William Gass was the first to point this out and of course he got the idea from Orwell but I’ll give him two points. Orwell got the idea from the Spanish trenches where Stalinism and Hitlerism were rhetorically deployed like eulogies over corpses.
Of course what is culture says Pilate? Continental aestheticism which colonized the American academy in the last quarter of the 20th century (and still resides there in protean costumes) holds the view that there are no facts at all. No empiricism.
“More than any one thing, the ‘Continental’ school repudiates the empiricist view of the a priori: the notion that non-theoretical facts are simply there, awaiting discovery. Of course, no English philosopher really held such an opinion; the work of Berkeley and Hume is more concerned with deciding upon what is factual and what is not, and with the procedures for determining this.”
(Excerpt From: Christopher Hitchens. “Why Orwell Matters.”)
Of the sinister one must say despondency, the very idea that there are no more facts but only ideas about them—ideological ideas—means we get our daily pittance of spoon fed signage. There are cultural constructions on the menu but no hard tack facts.
Orwell, our true stepfather saw it. He didn’t sketch maggots in a notebook as Hemingway did. He wrote “Animal Farm.”
Which is the name I’ve given Donald Trump’s daily press briefings. They are the Animal Farm. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”