This book is far from new, it was published in 1945, but it was new to me up until a month ago. I'd heard the reference to it, but didn't realize for a long time it was referring to a book. I thought it was a reference to a setting with lots of creatures, like, you know, maybe a farm, with lots of animals.
So for those like me who somehow missed this classic in high school, it is a satire on the Russian Revolution. The story is about a farm where the animals are tired of being mistreated by the farmer, revolt, and take over running the farm. The pigs, being the smartest, take charge. They lay out the Seven Commandments, learn to read and teach (mostly unsuccessfully) the other animals how to read, direct the work, and otherwise rule the newly re-named Animal Farm. All is fine until someone wants more than others and the Commandments get ... bent. I won't spoil the details - I recommend read the book, or listen to the audio book read by Richard Brown. I went through my library's online service (they use hoopla) and listened on my phone.
There's all kinds of remarks and political opinions on this book I won't get into, but I did think of this story when I was listening to the news the other day. At certain points in debates, one animal gets the sheep to drown everyone else out with a chant that, effectively, stops the debate altogether. It reminded me of the town hall meetings where people with real questions wanting a real dialogue are getting drowned out by protesters yelling and chanting until they shut down the meeting. I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything, but who is teaching those sheep?
Okay, to end on a happy note, the sun is now up and I'm going to check the fruit in the dehydrator, get another cup of coffee, and figure out how to tune my mower.