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Big Brother Lifestyles

Most Reverend Antonio Hernández, O.M.D., U.B.

A television commercial recently captivated me, as I was trying to enjoy my cappuccino. The words blared their way into my consciousness: "NOT AN OPTION". What's not an option, I asked myself absently? I thought it was a local water-boiling order or something. Then I realized, it was some kind of damned commercial. Where the devil was that remote and the mute button when I needed it most? Why had my cappuccino lost all its taste?!
Suddenly a chilling thought shivered my timbers: I had been having breakfast at Hardee's not long ago, and I noted the adverts on the walls and my placemat. "Introducing longer lines and longer waits", one of the adverts stated ominously. Underneath it stated, "It takes time to prepare good food", or some such drivel. A table-top advertisement stated, "No more cheap burgers.", and beneath it, "High quality meat costs more. Lower quality meat doesn't."

I then asked, "Do you know who Big Brother is?" She stared at me blankly. Slowly, she shook her head.

This obvious self-injurious slam for the sake of advertising is no great compliment to the campaign designer. It offers the customer negative after negative, including ominous warnings and an unprofessional self-criticism. Paradoxically, this type of language choice is so typically fascist that I wondered whether it had been launched as a joke, aimed at teens - much like the disastrously idiotic campaign attempted by McDonald's in the early 1990s.

I called over a friendly Hardee's waitress who knows me, and I asked her what the employees thought about this new advertising campaign. Having explained the Whorf Hypothesis as plainly as possible, and describing the work Dr. Benjamin Whorf did for industrial efficiency, I then asked, "Do you know who Big Brother is?" She stared at me blankly. Slowly, she shook her head. That blank stare and slow-motion shake frightened me. HE'S ALREADY GOT TO HER, I though frantically. HOW MANY MORE DOES HE HAVE?

Somehow the two events reminded me of the kangaroo court the U.S. House Judiciary Committee was holding, when former President Clinton was on impeachment trial, ridiculously accused of what amounted to treason. It was former Republican Representative Bob Barr who had snapped at a Catholic priest during one of the hearings. The priest said something like "This entire proceeding is disfavored by over 80% of America."
Rep. Barr, ever the charmer, retorted quite loudly, "What the American people want doesn't matter. We were elected, and we call the shots. We're not interested in what the people say or want." That's not verbatim mind you, but close enough. No one else on the Judiciary Committee said a word. I remember shivering and being frightened when I heard Barr bark those words... and he was barking them at a poor old Catholic priest. Barr looked just like Hitler (and by the way, as a commentator on Chris Matthews' show "Hardball", he still comes off like Hitler).

All these orders, these commands, these feebly self-criticizing attempts at thought manipulation, reminded me of a nagging wife or overbearing mother. I suffered from the latter... the former will never be a threat to me, though my secretary comes close enough. Then I recalled having had the same scary feeling when I read George Orwell's book '1984'. I felt I was reliving it along with the feelings evoked by his other classic, Animal Farm. That's another brainwash one encounters frequently: people saying that Orwell was not predicting the future. Oh, yes he was!

The millions of products on the shelves came to mind; why is it that they have such asinine disclaimers? I've seen shampoo bottles that warn you not to drink the shampoo. I've seen hair dryers that tell you not to immerse them in water while they are plugged into the outlet. Coffee cups at the gas stations frequently say something like "don't stick your fingers, nose, tongue or any other body part into the blazing hot coffee, because it's hot". I've seen the simplest products bearing instructions that resemble a Chinese VCR manual.

To hell with the lawsuits against companies for not using warning labels! What are these people playing at? It's as plain as day: they're playing God. Man-as-God is equivalent to Big Brother. To the Jews, man-as-God is an unholy abomination, and to the Christians it is two things: the original man-as-God is Jesus, the Messiah; the other, a "pretender" man-as-God, is the antichrist.

Maybe the Bible is right about some aspects of our future after all. Imagine, a Zen Buddhist priest admitting that.
Everyone knows various groups that would like to lord it over the rest of America. The right wing fascist Republicans and Fundamentalist born-again Christians are the two that immediately pop to mind. I'm thinking of USSC Justice Antonin Scalia, who recently wrote in his opinion about the Texas anti-sodomy law case that "we are entering the culture war"... what culture war? The one raging in Scalia's head? He complained in his scathing dissent opinion that the USSC has lost its "objectivity" and is taking sides. No, you think? Of course, that's the case only when the fascist justices, especially Scalia, don't get their way.

Then Justice Clarence Thomas, the second of only three justices concurring, stated that he couldn't find any evidence in the Constitution that protects the privacy of citizens. Imagine that... THE bed of freedom, THE bastion of democracy, and they claim that people have no right to privacy! I'd like to know where those guys studied law. They seem to have no concept of what the 1st, 9th and 14th Amendments mean. Good thing they were in the minority... for once.

Big Brother is everywhere. That is not meant as a slogan or ominous metaphor; it's the truth. CCTV video cameras in our neighborhoods are not outside feasibility. Soon we might have cameras pointing at our windows. Laws, as we all know, have been inflicted upon innocent citizens in an attempt to stop the outlaws. It's the oxymoron of the millennium, like saying the Roman Emperor was the epitomy of justice. We are surrounded by the Gold Standard of double standards: "DO AS I SAY."

We already have SexCrime. Now we are seeing the birth of the ThoughtPolice. Everyday we see DoubleSpeak, and we are accustomed to it ; sometimes we utilize it. Was Orwell just a silly writer commenting on his time? Or did he see this future as inevitable? I think it was the latter, and if so, he was completely correct.

DIRECTIONS: Read article from top to bottom, going from left to right! Read one line at a time, and do not skip any lines! Disregard disagreeable statements; when finished, write letters of singing praise to author!

© Rev Antonio Hernandez July 22nd 2003

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