Early in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith watched his fellow citizens react to an announcement that the government was “raising” their chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. Winston remembered the announcement from the previous day, however: the government was reducing the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. He marveled as everyone all celebrated what was actually bad news, which they should have all remembered was bad news.
Winston thought: “Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?”
With respect to that great achievement long ago of cheap, reliable electricity, how many of us in the new normal will even allow ourselves to remember it?