Big Brother is watching you

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Big Brother is watching you

Mircea Pricăjan

Publicat Duminică, 4 Februarie 2007, ora 16:35

      For a few months now the reality show phenomenon manifested itself in the Romanian media as well. A slightly modified version could be followed last year in the form of a summer show. But now, thanks to a television taking its only breath from this business, we ca all watch the real Big Brother. Yippee!
      When I first heard about this new form of entertainment my mind immediately jumped to George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. For those still profane in this matter, here is the plot, summed-up to its bare essential: Winston is a worker for the Party whose lieder is The Big Brother himself; his job is to manipulate the past so that it serves the present needs of the Party. Like in Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, he comes to the realization that everything the Party does is against the people’s interest—and he starts a subversive activity, undermining the Party from within. Of course, he doesn’t succeed in his endeavor and is finally reduced to silence; he is brainwashed and returns to his job mind and soul.
      What is interesting about this book, apart from being a “sublime” dystophia about the communist regime, is that it was written in 1949, not long after Stalin had gathered under his “protective” gaze half of the world. The power of foreseeness is, thus, immense.
      Coming back to Big Brother-the game, what’s to be said? For those who didn’t experience the oppressive communist regime at first had it can really be the source of lots of fun. But for the others… Well, I was skeptic about its success on the Romanian media market, thinking it inappropriate. But I should have known better.
      Judging from the past experiences, Romanians seem to adapt very quickly to new stimuli. My friends, for instance, can hardly wait the evening to sit in front of the TV-set and watch what else the autochthonous Guinea Pigs [sic!] have been doing through the day. They think it exciting when “The Big Brother calls Mr. X into the Room of Secrets” or when the same omniscient voice of Big Brother gives them new tasks. And it really is funny when you come to think about it. It’s also interesting, in a sadistic kind of way.
      There’s an old Romanian saying that goes like this: “Let the neighbor’s goat die!” I think this would have been a better title for this show, as it expresses better the reason for which I think Romanians watch it. It stands for the morbid inclination of entering your friends’ lives without their consent, the curiosity of knowing what happens in their apartment when the door is locked. It also signifies the proverbial Romanian envy. It could easily stand near another saying: “It could have been worse.” Because it easies your mind when you know that others lied a life of poorer comfort than you do.
      My opinion is that the reason for which Romanians have so easily forgotten what Big Brother really is is because this show stimulates that atavistic part of their selves—the morbid curiosity.
      As long as they will have something that feeds this curiosity, they’ll never know or care that Big Brother is still watching them.

© Copyright Mircea Pricăjan
Sursa :   Imagikon

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