A visual trope that depends on intertextuality
The telescreen is central to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, and it appears in the Macintosh commercial, left, and in the movie 1984, released that same year.
- Orwell writes in his first chapter, “The hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio’d, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again …”
- The telescreen became the visual trope — one that relied on intertextuality — representing group think, indoctrination and oppression by the powerful, in Apple’s case, IBM and Microsoft.