OK, So I know I’m not my own Grandpa, but could I be my own Big Brother?

Flickr photo by Max-B

Anyone who knows me well will be quick to tell you that I am notorious for leaving my cell phone at home when I leave for a busy day of work, school, shopping, or any activity that will render me unreachable without the use of mobile technology. While most people in our society feel lost without their cell phone, I find it strangely liberating. After all, in this age of ubiquitous technology and nearly instantaneously available contact, it is sort of nice to be “off the grid” every once in a while. However, I think that I might literally be one in a million, considering the fact that most of my friends say they feel “naked” without their omnipresent cell.

The title of this blog came from a combination of Orwellian inspiration and the below video tuned to the vocal stylings of Willie Nelson poking fun at the intermarriage stereotype commonly attributed to my fellow Southerners.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXU-ZdmzNmo

On a more serious note, I started thinking about this blog topic after reading about a hotly debated upcoming Supreme Court case regarding the arrest and conviction of a suspected cocaine dealer based on a GPS tracker attached to his vehicle without a warrant. At the intersection of Constitutionality and technology, more and more scholars, memes, and regular folks are comparing today’s culture to a modified 1984, in which everyone is under constant surveillance and nothing is private. Some say that with perpetual war, pervasive government, and alleged “mind control,” the US government has take on Orwellian characteristics. Others discuss this in terms of the Patriot Act, omnipresent security cameras, etc., but I have to wonder – in reality, have we become our own “Big Brothers?”

One of the things that strikes me the most is our willingness to trade privacy for convenience (and trust me, I’m guilty of it too). After all, most of us can’t function without the GPS in our cell phones, which of course, simultaneously allows us to be tracked and our every move to be recorded on some obscure server.

flickr photo by vincos

And Facebook is fun. We like to post our whereabouts, activities, likes, dislikes, photos, and personal information so that we can see what we have in common with our friends and show others what we have been up to. However, as we all know, one rogue wall post or photo can be disastrous to careers, reputations, and relationships, yet we keep on posting away! And isn’t it a little creepy that the random guy who sat next to us in math class freshman year in high school knows what we ate for lunch simply by virtue of the fact that we are “Facebook friends?”

flickr photo by Etienne Ljoni Poisson

The other thing that I think is amazing in Orwellian terms is the influx of “Newspeak” that we all engage in on a daily basis. 1dr wht I mean? Well, in 1984, Newspeak refers to a form of English that is drastically oversimplified and reduced to prevent citizens from being able to articulate what they really thing and to remove dichotomies and intricacies of language. So what about the text/SMS language that we all use today? I know, I know, it’s EZ to use shrt wrds (and once again, I am guilty too) but it makes one wonder if we are “dumbing down” ourselves in the interest of efficiency. After all, it’s much easier to text “WUD 2night” than to pick up the phone and ask if a friend wants to hang out, right? Either way, it doesn’t look like it’s the government that is our Big Brother. If 1984 is really happening, for the most part w’r doin it 2 rselvs.

Anne Bennett Cook Smithson

Anne-Bennett is a former CCT Graduate Student.