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Beginning with a marathon reading of George Orwell’s 1984 in front of Farinon College Center and continuing with a three-day film festival, next week’s Examining the Media events seek to encourage people to question the role of media in society.

Part of the National Council of Teachers of English and Rhetoricians For Peace’s 1984+20 Project, the marathon will present Orwell’s entire novel as students, faculty, and staff take turns reading excerpts for 10-15 minutes. They will begin 9:30 a.m. Monday and continue until 10 p.m. that night with “victory coffee” and cookies served as refreshments.

Interested students may sign up for times to read in the marathon at the English department’s office in Pardee Hall room 316 or wait for an available opening at the event.

Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend all events. William Carpenter, assistant professor of English, says the marathon reading and films will draw attention to the relevance of Orwell’s novel to current political and social trends.

“The reading is meant to spark conversation about the relationships among language, politics, and power,” he says. “While there is certainly physical violence in 1984, the greater threat to freedom comes from the Party’s ability to manipulate reality by manipulating language. The novel encourages discussion on the current role of the media in reporting and analyzing the words and actions of our politicians.”

Organized through Carpenter’s Language and Power course and First Year Seminar on Election Rhetoric, the film festival focuses on questions concerning the power media have over the interpretation of events and who controls how events are reported.

The screenings will take place at 7 p.m. in the Limburg Theater. On Tuesday, Orwell Rolls in His Grave takes a look at media coverage from the 2000 presidential election and the Iraqi war. Outfoxed, a study of Fox News, will be shown Wednesday. Network, about a low-rated news network exploiting its anchor’s mental problems, will be screened Thursday.

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