There are times when someone finds a nail, has a big hammer and just drives the sucker a good one. Cheryl, who is one of the regular readers of the blog, posts comments from time to time. She found the 10 inch rafter spike and was packing a 20-pound sledge, Cheryl hit it so hard, I can’t find that nail anywhere in our known dimensions. Here’s the quote:
"We no longer think for ourselves and just watch the tube to do our thinkking for us. 1984 Orwell is upon us…."
By way of disclosure, I have no idea who Cheryl is, except she lives in Houston, is involved in the mental health industry and is a pretty good photographer. Check her comments on some of my ramblings and you can get to her site.
1984, George Orwell’s seminal 1948 work of fiction painted a hideous future of DoubleThink, continuous warfare and constant monitoring of all aspects of life by the authorities. Her comment got me to thinking, which is not always a good thing, but it got me thinking nonetheless.
DoubleThink: America is the Shining Beacon of Liberty to the World: Our People are Free. Homeland Security is protecting us. Kidnapping and torture are illegal, unless you are the CIA. We’re so free that we’re holding people in cages without charge or warrant for extended periods of time in Camp Delta and Camp X-Ray. The War in Iraq was to liberate the Iraqi people from the yoke of Saddam Hussein and help them become a model of Democracy in the Middle East. Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The Five Minute Hate: We don’t have to meet in a public hall to express our hatred of Goldstein. We have FOXNews doing it for us. For a while it was Osama Bin Laden, then Saddam Hussein, now Iran, with a side of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Il or Democrats in general. This week it is Hilary Clinton, last week, Don Imus, next week it will be those with mental illnesses and guns. There is always the fallback position of the "Unidentified Black Male" to scare us silly.
Surveillance: A rich area here. The Patriot Act, Echelon, DCS-1000 and The Department of Homeland Security don’t require warrants or judicial oversight. Britain has 4.2 million known Closed Circuit TV cameras run by the police watching your every move, in case you are a terrorist, or a litter bug. Britain has just under 61 million people. That would be one camera per fifteen citizens in round numbers.
China might well be just as bad, but nobody can talk about it. However, we do have historical exhibits, like the Terror Haza in Budapest, or the Stasi Museum in Berlin. Everyone was being monitored, around the clock, in the fun days of the Soviet Union. We simply call ours Homeland Security or Public Safety.
Food: Melamine in pet food, E.Coli in salads and hamburger, Fire retardant in mother’s milk. PTFE in just about everything else. Tomatoes that don’t taste like tomatoes, but ship really well. Oranges with a half-life and trans-fat in toothpaste are probably next. Taste, quality, safety and nutrition doesn’t matter. We have industrialized everything we eat because someone can make a profit on it. Evian Water is $6.40 per US Gallon. Gasoline is $3.05 per US Gallon.
Sex: Well, we still do that. Except we videotape it and post it on the web as "Girls Gone Wild" or "Latina Black DP Vol. 4" Erotica is dead, replaced with an unimaginative, poorly shot, poorly edited, visual documentation of mechanical actions. Doesn’t anyone have fun while fucking anymore? Obviously not.
Social Stratification: We have poor folks. We have rich folks. The middle class is on the Endangered Species list and one paycheque away from being on the street. Sympathy consists of "It’s their own damn fault!" The social safety net is one strand of dental floss and you had better apply now to get the instructions as to where to find it.
NewSpeak: The undocumented, The Economically Disadvantaged, Rendition, Non-succumbing insurgents, air sanitization, and the rest of our nanny-society politically-correctspeak. We have huge legal warning labels on step ladders, computer keyboards and take-out coffee, but none on handguns or rifles?
Perhaps the most indicative piece of NewSpeak is "If it can save just one (state name of group, species or thing) then we’ve succeeded in this difficult job."
I call that setting very low standards. Why not "We’re going to make sure that every citizen has good, effective, free healthcare." Or, "We’re going to stop treating the planet like our personal toilet to save all of us, including the spotted owls, whales and humans"
Room 101: Not yet, unless you count waterboarding, rendition flights, CIA interrogation safe houses, Guantanamo Bay and the Amnesty International list. The Number One country for the state execution of children under the age of 18 is: Iran with 22.
The Number Two? The United States of America, with 19.
Deviation from the norm is suspicious. You must wear your smile, but not your turban, or hijab, unless you’re also wearing a crucifix, as that’s ok.
Put another magnetic ribbon on your SUV.
Be a team player, especially when the employer relocates your job to Mexico, to "realign the global supply chain."
Be sure to cry if the TV cameras focus on you at a disaster scene. Then sell your cellphone photos or video of the carnage to a media outlet and post it to the web.
Conversely, wear a rainbow fright wig, paint your face in team colours, while screaming We’re Number One! and not wearing a shirt. Well, 49% of the population can do that. Drunken Man Tits are OK at a sporting event. Janet Jackson’s covered nipple for less than 10 frames is a scandal of global proportions.
Learn these sound bites: "He was just a quiet neighbour who kept to himself until the shooting started" and "If it saves one (state name of thing or group) then we’ve succeeded in this difficult job." Plus "Why isn’t the government doing something about (issue)?"
Cheryl is right in many ways. 1984 is here and has been for a while.