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George Orwell just got the dates wrong

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George Orwell's vision of the future in 1984 is getting ever closer. Now we can rewrite recent events by overwriting electronic files and follow people around the globe with ease, but with the release of a new Hollywood film, U571, things have taken a great step forward (or back, depending how you look at it). U571 tells the story of how a group of American sailors manage to capture a German U-boat during the Second World War, and in so doing recovered the first Enigma encryption machine - a legendary machine that foxed the Allies for years and allowed the Germans to communicate without fear of interception. So what? Nothing except that the capture of the first Enigma was an entirely British mission. Not a Yank in sight, which isn't surprising when you consider this was in 1941 and the US hadn't even entered the war. Oh, and the U-boat was actually U110 - posing the big fat question: why is the film call U571? So how does Hollywood justify rewriting history? Simple: economics. The film cost $75 million to make and since the US movie market is the main source of income for any film, it was felt it would have to revolve around good ole American boys. And so a fake new memory for the world was created. Just wait for the Oscars. Also, you can bet that next time the familiar "you Brits ought to be proud we are taking over the high street with McDonalds/reducing cultural heritage to a few hip phrases/focussing the media on the lowest common denominator" (delete as appropriate), your words of protest will be met with the exalted: "Well, what about U571, boy? We saved your ass* that time." ® *Nb. "Ass" refers to "arse", not a donkey.

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