02 February 2010
George Orwell was such a prophet. Wikipedia reminds us, "Big Brother is a fictional character in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, a totalitarian state taken to its utmost logical consequence - where the ruling elite ('the Party') wield total power for its own sake over the inhabitants.
In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you", which is the core "truth" of the propaganda system in this state."
So today I found this regime in my television. It was so weird. I had a technical question for the Foxtel people. So I rang the 1.300 number. All good. Told the mechanical voice on the other end that my problem was not related to ordering Vancouver Olympics. Sorry Buble. Sorry JZ. I had other issues. Then the "your call is important to us" voice, mechanical Tom, said, "please state in a few words what your issue is." OK, so that done, now we can deal with recording remote via the computer. Um, that's not the department I went to. Instead I was sent to 'technical' problems. I guess that will work.
First 'technical' tells me that there are troubles in several suburbs, none of which is mine. OK, I think, I'm getting closer to a real help person.
"If you are in one of those suburbs, you may hang up now." Wow, that's a little unhelpful, Foxy.
So now ...and here's Big Brother at work... once I got to 'technical' and I was in a suitable suburb, the computer told me that my Foxtel box would be rebooted, and that should fix the technical problem. If it didn't, then I could ring back and get to a customer service person. Before I could say, "B-B" (see ** below), my television went dark; my Foxtel was in fact off.
From wherever this 'conversation' took place, maybe Philippines, maybe India, maybe in Sydney... someone or more likely, some computer knocked my television to 'off.'
Buckle your seat belt, watch over your shoulder, the prophet Orwell was right. I am being forced to type this....no, it's not right, there is no Big....no Big B....STOP, you cannot type this... We are watching...[off]
** "a deep, slow, rhythmic chant of 'B-B! .... B-B! .... B-B!'—over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first 'B' and the second—a heavy murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamps of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise" (Orwell, 1984)