Oceania the Model


Stasiland author Anna Funder notes a creepy/funny fact about East Germany:

I'd long been fascinated by George Orwell's work, but I resisted reading 1984 until I finished the manuscript for Stasiland. After that, I devoured it, and I couldn't believe Orwell's prescience. When I went into [Stasi chief Erich] Mielke's office, I saw it had the number 101, which in 1984 is the number of the torture chamber. 1984 was banned in the G.D.R. but of course, Mielke and Honecker had access to banned material. The guide told me that Mielke wanted this number so much that even though his office was on the 2nd floor, he had the entire first floor renamed the Mezzanine so that he could call his room 101.

Bonus links: Reason's review of Stasiland. A searchable online edition of 1984. Thomas Pynchon's essay on 1984. The actual year 1984. The Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. Doublethink.