Little Big Brothers

L. R. Laverde-Hansen By L. R. Laverde-Hansen, 1st Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3upuysv8/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

In George Orwell's 1984, the Ominous figure of Big Brother represents the intrusive power of a totalitarian state. Today we don't need to someone to spy on us. We spy on ourselves.

Little Big Brothers

Recently I went out to a bar with a dancing space to celebrate a friend's birthday. And indeed we friends danced, drank and toasted our principal guest's happy occasion.

We also took pictures--lots and lots of pictures. My sister had her digital camera, my friend had his iPhone with its camera application, and several others had their phones with cameras. As a result, everyone who got down and boogied--myself included--was not merely photographed, but several times from several angles. Within a day these photos were all over the social networking sites, especially Facebook. Even though I didn't object to these photos, I felt a bit unnerved.

Welcome to Little Big Brothers. Instead of a single Big Brother: one gigantic entity monitoring your every move; now it seems that everyone with a recording device can follow you everywhere and tell everyone else about it.

I realize that technology has helped to make each one of us into mini-celebrities. While it is great for reaching out and networking, I am thinking of the downside of losing one's privacy. What provoked this?

First of all, it seems like a change in the mores. Because Generation Yers (those born on or after 1980) and younger have grown up with the Internet and social networking (the way we "geezers" grew up with TV), they are less self-conscious about losing a private identity--they've never had one. It's another symptom of our celebrity culture; since being famous has become such a desired position, it matters more that one is famous than how one is well known.

Of course notoriety itself is nothing new. Back in 1927 Charles Lindbergh had been the first person to cross the Atlantic alone and nonstop in an airplane. Humorist Will Rogers couldn't help but poke fun at the celebrity culture of that day. Rogers quipped, "Lindbergh's great feat demonstrated...that a person could still get the entire front pages without murdering anybody." Anyone who has seen the musical Chicago or the O. J. Simpson trial gets this joke.

But there is another cause. Even before September 11th, people have signed away their privacy due to security concerns. That's why most people have gone along with the "nudie show" examinations, or the full body pat downs in airports with barely a squawk (Maybe most people are closet exhibitionists, but I'll leave that alone.). It seems that getting felt up, by an airport security guard or by a nighclub bouncer has become part and parcel of contemporary life. That is, unless you are going somewhere no one wants to go. In which case, you might as well stay home.

That's about the only place that cameras are not trained on you. So far anyway.

Originally Published on Yahoo Voices
New York December 1, 2010
Latest Revision New York
August 5, 2014


Tags

Privacy, Social Media, Surveillance, Surveillance State

Meet the author

author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
Poet, playwright, commentator. I write wherever I can. Currently I reside in the City of New York.

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Comments

author avatar Joyce Singha
5th Aug 2014 (#)

Good post.
People have indeed forgotten to have fun without recording their every move; in fact they are recording so much that they have forgotten to help, participate, talk, etc plus there is big brother as well.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
6th Aug 2014 (#)

I love this comment! Thank you so much.

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author avatar Retired
5th Aug 2014 (#)

I loved this article. You really do give me and hopefully others who read this something to ponder. I am of the t.v. generation so I am more self-conscious about my privacy and needing to keep some things that I do to myself. Not everything needs to hit the internet or the social networks.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
6th Aug 2014 (#)

So glad you appreciate this piece. I had to write what I observed. Glad you enjoyed it!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Joyce makes a good point. Every time my son has a performance, someone in my family can't make it and asks me to record it. But then I can't enjoy the show! When I was in school, the media specialist recorded every performance and gave or sold recordings to any parent who requested them/brought in a VHS tape. Those films are precious. Today's recordings just do not compare, despite our improved technology.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Agreed. But let's not forget the constant intrusions on our collective privacy.

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