I found this nodeshell, and I thought, okay, I know this one! It's from George Orwell's 1984.

"In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston's arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building." -Nineteen Eighty-Four, pgs 34-35


In Orwell's dystopian novel, written in 1948, the past is continually re-written to match the current policies of the state. Of course in 1948, a much larger percent of the information available to the public existed on paper, which is notoriously flammable. All inconsistencies were eliminated; with no record of the past, how could people be sure anything had happened the way they remembered?



It turns out since Orwell coined the term, others have taken it up. You can find memory hole on Urban Dictionary, where it is defined as "an alteration or outright disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts, or other records." I find this significant in that Orwell created a term that has made its way into contemporary slang, virtually unchanged.

Memory Hole is a 2021 Quibi series with Will Arnett that highlights pop culture fails from the 80s and 90s, which may or may not be a ripoff of a 2014 YouTube show ALSO called Memory Hole which grew out of a 2007 YouTube remix of 80s and 90s VHS and DVD footage known as Everything is Terrible.

Memory Hole 1 is a 2004 studio album produced by Kevin Moore; it documents in three parts spoken-word samples from shows broadcast by Radio for Peace International, coupled with original music by Moore. 

Memory Hole is also a computer term; somebody else who understands it better is going to have to node about that.

Also of note, Memory Hole (and now Memory Hole 2) is a website run by Arizona blogger Russ Kick. Kick has been called "an information archaeologist" by the New York Times and been named one of the "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" by Utne Reader. He has edited the bestselling anthologies You Are Being Lied To and Everyone You Know is Wrong. Kick posts on his website documents, photos, and footage that might otherwise not come to light. According to his website,The Memory Hole 2 "achieves its mission in several ways:

  • Discovering what documents the US government has pulled offline, recovering them, and reposting them here. In this way, The Memory Hole 2 is the reverse of its namesake in George Orwell's 1984, in which official documents that were no longer convenient for the powers-that-be were sent to a furnace through a hole in the wall.
  • Digitizing and posting important documents that previously existed only on paper.
  • Filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documents across the federal government (including Cabinet-level departments, regulatory agencies, intelligence agencies, and the military), then posting the results. I also sometimes file at the state and local levels, as well as with governments outside the US."


Rachel Madow video about Russ Kick and his website, the Memory Hole

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