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Becoming Big Brother

James Kent

True Confessions of a Media Junky, Parasite, and Whore

SEX AND DEATH, AND MORE SEX and more death, and maybe more sex on top of that. That's all you want. If you're not peering into bedrooms and lingering over hideous accidents you're digging up rotten corpses, watching bombs drop, and dodging bullets. You're addicted to the tabloid media every hair-pulling, car-chasing, political sex-scandal hip-hop murder incident that comes along and boy are they hot to pump it to you. Any trash, conflict, or controversy they can get their hands on they feed to you.

They do it for money, that's for sure. But the really creepy thing is that they also do it for fun. They are the eyes and ears of the masses hungry for outrage, and I am one of them. I am a sleazy journalist, and the majority of the people I associate with are sleaze. Nothing is sacred to them. If Mother Theresa's corpse were dug up and sexually molested by Satanic cultists, my cohorts would be high-fiving themselves over the photos of the desecrated grave on the PNI feed and drooling over the great numbers (ratings) to come.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the media got so out of control, but somewhere along the road a line was crossed and the tabloid machinery began to take on a chaotic mind of its own. George Orwell's vision of Big Brother may have been paranoid and overblown, but here we are in post-1984 and it seems Orwell was right, Big Brother lives, no doubt about it. Big Brother breathes and we built him. Did we even know what we were doing?

When the first telegraph lines were stretched coast to coast in the mid 1800s, did we understand that we we're laying the groundwork for a massive global network which would one day be commonly known as 'The Beast'? Did we know that telecommunications bandwidth would become so fat and cheap that we could one day transfer entire encyclopedias of information around the world in seconds? Did we know that this superfast, megalithic information infrastructure would ultimately become the world's greatest clearing house for trash, gossip, rumor, innuendo, porn, infighting, bickering, dirty laundry, and just plain brain-dead adult edutainment?

Yes, Big Brother has been around for a while, but he's sometimes hard to see behind all the drama. Big Brother has been around for so long it's almost as if he's a product of our own genetic matrix — a hardwired social overmind set to bloom when our culture's population and technology reached a critical mass. Perhaps Big Brother has been lurking throughout our history in more scattered forms in the past. Where did the Ten Commandments come from? Was that you, Big Bro? Did your message get tucked into the stone tablets, illuminated manuscripts, and great temples which acted as global network for The Man back in the day?

Yes, Big Brother's web existed in days of old just as it does today, and some of his most ancient commandments still rule. His message is short but eerily consistently throughout the years: I'm Watching You. The only thing that's changed is the medium he uses — or should I say, the medium that we choose. Because if you haven't figured it out by now, Big Brother is not a person, a government agency, a corporation, a quasi-military global conspiracy, a nebulous cyberspace entity, a god, the pope, or even Bill Gates. No, though amusing to consider, these answers are all too easy and just not true. Painting Big Brother as an anonymous powerful "them" is exactly what keeps the Big Brother paranoia alive. There is no Them. I've been around for a while and I've never met a Them. There's only us, and there's a lot of us, and we're not going anywhere so get used to it.

Consider with me now the possibility that Big Brother is not a Them, but that Big Brother is actually Us, and it is we who are watching each other. This puts a whole new spin on the whole story, doesn't it? If so, then Orwell was basically right, Big Brother is watching, but as we love to say around here, "Who's watching who?" The reality is that there are a damn lot of people in the world — too many for any one group or government to watch — so we all just instinctively watch each other. Can't you feel us watching you right now? You know we do. Does that make you uncomfortable?

The truth is that these days anyone with a story to tell and an ear to hear it is suddenly Big Brother. Pick up the phone and pass some gossip. We, the media, will eventual pick it up and feed it back to you. It'll be on Jerry Springer. All the wirefeeds will carry it. You'll see it in the papers. It will be fulfilling. You'll love it. You'll become one of us.

Just make sure no one's watching.

Tags : psychedelic
Rating : Teen - Drugs
Posted on: 2001-05-01 00:00:00