Sometimes I worry that I could easily become a conspiracy nut. (I realize that most people probably don’t have this on their list of concerns, but my worry list has always been longer, and stranger, than most.) I blame some of it on the fact that I spent most of my childhood watching soap operas, Phil Donahue and Unsolved Mysteries. There was even a brief – and unfortunate – period when I believed that Elvis faked his own death.
And despite what my occasionally rational brain tells me about accidents and coincidence, I think I’ve watched far too many political thrillers as an adult, too. (I still find it odd that one of the most liberal members of the Senate, Paul Wellstone, died in a plane crash shortly before some key votes under the Bush administration, but I try to keep this mostly to myself.)
However, I do not think I’m paranoid when I say that we are, at present, on the verge of living in the world created by George Orwell in 1984. But, it’s not big government we need to be afraid of -– it’s Facebook.
Even without the latest issues Facebook has had with privacy, revealing information to other web sources, etc., social networking has always had the potential to implement a kind of social control that no invading army or government entity is capable of. And the key to that societal control rests entirely in surveillance.
For an anthropology class nearly a decade ago (when I sat down on the first day and saw that half the room was full of athletes, I knew I’d found a good place to be), I read a book called Depraved and Disorderly. It’s a study of women in penal colonies in Australia (aka, the founding women of Australia), and for the large part, the book discusses how constant surveillance and the removal of all privacy was used to turn these “wild women” into the model citizens the English government wanted them to be at the time.