Teaching 1984 after the Fact

I’ve taught the book before.
I taught it before Edward Snowden. Before smartphones. And before biometrics–the technology that can identify you digitally just from your face.
In essence, I taught it before it came so close to reality.
It was in 1948 that George Orwell was imagining the world of Big Brother–the government entity who was always watching, all-knowing, and ever vicious. Technology then was a radio plugged into the wall, a telephone hanging on the wall, and newsreels and romance at the cinema.
Orwell wasn’t real; he was surreal.
Nineteen-eighty-four came. Apple made an ad buy during the Super Bowl that year to introduce Mac computers. The commercial assured us that the year 1984 was nothing like the book 1984. That year, the term “cyberspace” was coined.
We’d come a long way, Baby.
Thirty-four years later, we are not yet zombie drones in colorless clothing watching and worshiping Big Brother on a giant screen.
After all, our clothing is never colorless. And Big Brother is bigger than the government and more stealthy than Orwell’s symbol of oppression.
Google tracks our online purchases. Social media tracks our likes, our friends, our interests, and our issues. And we have yet to comprehend all the government knows about us. A multitude of Big Brothers is watching.
We are less uncomfortable about it than we dreamed we could be three-plus decades ago. And that is our folly.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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