In George Orwell's classic cautionary novel "1984," citizens of a future totalitarian society are required to participate in a group exercise called the "Two Minutes Hate." They gather in an auditorium to stare at a large TV screen, as Emmanuel Goldstein, an alleged traitor to the Party, gives a speech critical of its doctrines. Seconds into the event, the pleasant, docile crowd morphs into an angry, volatile mob, screaming insults and throwing whatever objects they can lay their hands on at Goldstein's flickering image. Even Orwell's alienated protagonist, Winston Smith, cannot resist joining in. "A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic," Orwell writes [source: Orwell].
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