February 16, 2006

Orwell and Web 2.0

"Orwell got it wrong. His dystopia is a place where nobody is an author except Big Brother. Thus Winston Smith?s great act of rebellion in Nineteen Eight-Four was his decision to pick up a rusty pen and write down his own thoughts:

"The thing that he was about to do was open a diary. This was not illegal, but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death? Winston fitted a nib into the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off? He dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for just a second. A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act."

But 1984 is not longer 1984. Remember that iconic 1984 Apple commercial ? directed by Ridley Scott and broadcast in the 4th quarter of Super Bowl XVIII:

ON JANUARY 24th, APPLE COMPUTER WILL INTRODUCE THE MACINTOSH. AND YOU?LL SEE WHY 1984 WON?T BE LIKE 1984

Exactly. 1984 is indeed no longer like 1984. Digital technology is turning us all into Big Brothers. Instead of being an act of rebellion, Winston Smith?s act of self expression is increasingly becoming another sort of cultural dictatorship. My dystopian vision is a society of digital Winston Smiths, collectively marking the paper, pouring out their most profound thoughts into blogs, podcasts and wikis."

[read the whole things on The Great Seduction blog of a self-proclaimed "silicon valley renegate"]

Posted by martin at February 16, 2006 10:45 PM | TrackBack
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