Welcome to 1984. Now Buy Something!

As a teen, one of my favorite books was George Orwell’s, 1984. For those of you who have forgotten the cliff’s notes version you scanned to pass the test, it depicts the life of a man in a futuristic totalitarian regime where one’s every move is watched and controlled. It is set in the year(you got it) 1984. Well, George got the regime right, but the year wrong.

Human beings were always a bit slow…

Today, on January 18, 2012, we live in a great society. One of unprecedented wealth.  Where all but the most aggressive diseases are curable, where we can travel around the world in a matter of hours, where any information you can imagine is just a keystroke away…

Where one percent of the population controls most of that wealth and uses that wealth to control the candidates who run for election, the media outlets that advertise them, and, if necessary, the voting machine tallies that “elect” them.

Where virtually all of our movements are monitored, either through on-site video cameras or satellite. Where it is legal for law enforcement to place a gps device on your car without your knowledge or consent. Where you can be arrested and held indefinitely without legal recourse, where you can be forced to give up your password–in violation of our fifth amendment right against self-incrimination–to law enforcement on a whim. Where the government finances and follows your social networking sites and has the ability to shut off your access to that worldwide flow of information and means of communication–should they not like what we, the people, have to say.

You know, like if we’re tired of having our Constitutional rights and protections taken away…

All of the issues i just discussed are happening. Right now. Not in some penny-ante dictatorship. Here in the United States. The alleged leader of the “free” world. Our leaders keep telling us we’re free. We’re free to pay taxes (both ours and Citibank’s), free to vote for the candidates they select, free to purchase health insurance(now a requirement), free to support our children on seven dollars an hour, if our job isn’t outsourced. Our corporate overlords love outsourcing. Funny, if they do outsource their own jobs, it’s to some charming place like Dubai and they outsource themselves, too…

Oh, and we’re free to consume way beyond our means. In fact consumption is encouraged. Since they finally managed to “overhaul” (read overturn) the nation’s bankruptcy laws, no one over the age of eighteen(when they will either get their first credit card or incur their first car loan or college student loan) will ever be out of debt. And that debt will never be forgiven. America, in a time of massive job loss, has become a nation of debt slaves, owing their financial lives to the very people who have screwed them.

But enough of this. Back to consumption.

Our corporate kings do not like the idea that we use the internet for anything other than consumption for profit (theirs, of course). So they had the US Congress write this little bill-SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which, if passed, would effectively shut down any file sharing site without any legal or judicial overview. In short, the language is so broad, youtube could be shut down for showing a video of me singing, “Mr. Sandman” at karaoke.  While i think that most karaoke singing should be shut down, it doesn’t make it a federal crime. In fact, we used to have this thing called a First Amendment to the United States Bill of Rights, that guaranteed anyone–even my tone deaf mother–the right to sing anything, anywhere. Even if it was under copyright. As long as there was no direct profit involved. The entertainment industry got that changed around the time that vhs became popular. And let’s not forget the corporate rape and pillage of Napster, one of the first music file sharing sites.

Yeah, because Jack Valenti and Metallica are standing on Hollywood Boulevard waving, “Will work for food” signs…

Don’t misunderstand me, I have nothing against the wealthy and people should be paid for their work. However, with the creation of the internet, the whole concept of intellectual property is changing. And needs to change. Reality is, no matter how hard the corporations make it, individuals will find a way around any copyright protections and, once something hits the web, the genie is out of the bottle. Knock down one site, two more will spring up. Track ISP addresses, people will start changing them like i change my shoes. Computers are machines, Congress and the Entertainment industry are not computer saavy, and there’s always a smarter hacker out there. So their choice is to effectively shut down the internet–except, of course, for direct purchase sites like Amazon or Itunes. An internet set up solely for commerce would probably be a corporate wet dream.

The thing is, it doesn’t reflect who we are as an international community…

There is a logical solution to this issue. Go back to the old law. Have anything in the virtual world that is not used to generate profit, such as music file sharing on a social networking site, stay legal. Should this move to the physical realm, however, like should someone burn a bunch of counterfeit cds to sell, it becomes a federal crime. Essentially like it is now. Easy to enforce, easier to catch. The moneymen may lose a little money up front, but make it back in free advertising.

Of course, this will never fly. SOPA–or as i call it, the Internet Censorship Act–is about controlling the last bastion of free speech–the internet. It is so loosely written that virtually every internet site(including isp providers) can be shut down. Essentially, the powers that be want to stop the flow of any source of information that they can’t control. Anything that might educate the American People to what their leaders are really doing.

Because tyranny can’t stand the light. Like a fungus, it thrives in the dark…

Thanks for reading…

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This entry was posted in 2012 Presidential Campaign, censorship, corporate greed, SOPA, SOPA, U.S. Sociology, War on US Constitution and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Welcome to 1984. Now Buy Something!

  1. Mike Donohoe says:

    Nice, Sloane. I love your bottom line because that has been my intuition about it for awhile now. The Internet is instrumental in things like Occupy protests, so gradually initiating a content stranglehold over things like copyright infringement strikes me as their sneaky way of getting to the real problem. Things like unfiltered unsanitized information exchange. Something that I believe was once referred to as a free and unfettered press. One teeny suggestion. Personally I strive to avoid repeated words and sometimes I take these things to extremes, but in this sentence, “The moneymen may lose a little money up front, but make it back in free advertising.” I would eliminate the word “money” after “moneymen.” It would still make sense but without the repeated word. Yes. I am a word nerd! Up to you of course. Do what thou wilt. Or is it shalt?? =P Mike.

  2. Mike Donohoe says:

    I wasn’t telling you to do anytheeeen! Should’ve kept me trap shut.

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