Wikified Essay

By: Neely

English Honors

Someone Participating In The Full Body Scanner: (Photograph Body Scanner).

Cartel—a well know band—sings, "Whether all my dreams are just aimless stares, looking up at someplace that isn't there" seems to tell Cory Doctorow's character Marcus' story (CARTEL). Marcus is an average high school student with the ability to hack through any firewall easily. After a terrorist attack Marcus is captured regardless of his involvement and is endlessly interrogated. Marcus comes home to find everyone in a frenzy. Suddenly, the amount of security skyrockets and most citizens agree to give up their rights for "safety". Marcus then dreams up a plan to break through the opaque seal that the government has seemed to put over the people. Soon Marcus finds that his adventures are not going unnoticed, but with fame comes trouble. He finds himself trying to reach out from something that does not seem to exist. 1984 is a story about a normal citizen of London named Winston. He figures that he already knows how his government works. The government takes people that poise as a threat then wipes their existence from the face of the earth. Before they are sentenced to death, the "criminals" are convinced through torture that they were wrong to rebel against Big Brother, the government's symbol of power. Winston heads for his objective of deceiving the government and secretly rebelling. A myth circulates around to Winston that there is a group revolving around his same goal. As he seeks to find the phantom group he will meet allies, foes, and chase after a dream that seems like an aimless stare. In Cory Doctorow's Little Brother and George Orwell's 1984 society has accepted that the government is always correct and has allowed itself to be led down a path of ignorance; the government manipulates the public using the molding media, using outside threats as a tactic of control, and the use of censorship to keep society ignorant; towards the future the government will form society exactly how they want them if they do not realize the problems at hand now.

Flashing lights, glowing posters, and beautiful models will litter the buildings and streets. Media is the government's most captivating and commanding instrument. The media is relied on by every citizen, but soon they begin to grow so confident in the media that they do not think for themselves. In this society, almost all the citizens rely on the media, some people even grow to rely on it so much that they believe every message, word for word. Millions of people watch the TV seeing what the government pours into their minds, they read the internet finding what the government releases, and soon after they have seen the same information so many times they would begin to believe it. Every day the media shows the community circumstances and data that the public would otherwise live their whole lives without knowing. In 1984, the citizens no longer had access to the outside world and were confined to what they were hearing. Every day the government would tell the public about a war with Eastasia or Eurasia when Winston realizes the public no longer even pays attention to who they are fighting, “It was rather more of a shock to him when he discovered from some chance remark that she did not remember that Oceania, four years ago, had been at war with Eastasia and at peace with Eurasia. It was true that she regarded the whole war as a sham: but apparently she had not even noticed that the name of the enemy had changed,” (1984). The public in Winston’s society rely on the government so much that they disregard their even thinking about political situations. Society is slowly rotating towards this type of government. Society thinks that they know everything that is going on, but what they do not think about is who is controlling the flow of everything. The government is behind the scenes for everything that is published. The public needs to realize they can not rely fully on the first sentence they see printed on the internet or newspaper. The government used this propaganda to slide by the people and let the citizens minds concentrate on a different subject rather than how they are governed. In Little Brother all of the citizens were in chaos and needed someone more powerful to put their trust in. The citizens all looked to the government. Each word the government pressed or squeezed out into the media would instantly be absorbed. Marcus is watching TV and displays exactly how the media can help out the government, “I flipped around the 24-hour news network, one after another, a parade of officials telling us why we should be sacred,” (Little). Without using their own consciences’, the public would instantly accept that it must be true since it is on the news. This place in time, society should reflect on with Doctorow and Orwell are trying to speak through their characters. Society today still has not learned that they need to think with their own minds and not let the government think for them. If the society continues this pattern they will grow to be ignorant and tools of the government.

Threats towards the society from the “outside” have become an increasingly distinct problem today. Many terrorist attacks have been planned and executed to strike fear in the hearts Americans. The government can easily use this chance to empower themselves even more. Along with the pain and suffering of those who are emotionally and physically injured, the paranoia has been boosted into such a state that people are willing to give up their rights in order to be "safe." The government has released, through the media, the new invention of
body scanners. The way that these machines work is the participant steps through the machine and then it scans the participant's entire body up and down for weapons. It shows the person's body to another person, and the body is practically all nude. Since the bombing of 9-11 many people have said, "Of course! I'll give up anything to be safe!" but how many rights will society freely give up for temporary safety? Such terror increases the government’s power because the people's need for a general sense of comfort and security. Most people would look to the government for the answer and willingly accept any solution. The government, however, has not spread the news that most of these scanners only catch half the staged terrorists they test on. If society accepts these body scanners then they should think beyond this place in time. Soon the government might suggest placing cameras in classroom to prevent cheating. The year after that is proposed and accepted, they might say, "Well, what about the bathrooms? The students could be secretly taking drugs in them, we should place cameras there too." One step will lead to the next and by the time society realizes that it is not just about the world attacking the US from the outside, but society attacking the government's new power over technology, the community will be too late. In Little Brother, Doctorow's character is fighting against the Department of Homeland Security(or DHS) and time to force the citizens to realize what is really happening to their society, the is taking over. Marcus and his friends are being closely watched by the DHS because they were caught at a terrorist attack site. Since new cameras are being posted all over the city, they have Marcus' every move tracked down. Every breath, every movement, and even every letter typed on the computers are being tracked by the DHS. Marcus notices how he can be tracked and thinks to himself, "Why did we have cameras in our classrooms now? Terrorists. Of course. Because by blowing up a bridge, terrorists had indicated that schools were next. Somehow that was the conclusion that the Board had reached anyway," (Little Brother Download). This shows that the students and their parents were willing to give up their freedom to not be watched every minute. Government had already shown the community that the terrorist were the threats, but by aiming the blame at someone else they can now move freely behind the scenes. Society can be distorted into the government's tool and people will start freely giving up their rights. The government tries to convince people that they only have one way to be safe, to give all their faith up and put it in the government, which then goes overboard and takes total control. In George Orwell's 1984, Winston, Orwell’s main character, comes to the realization that his government called The Party has been manipulating the society for as long as he could remember. "Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals that the Party was trying to achieve,"(1984). The society still does not realize that with terror the government can easily pull a blindfold over the eyes of its people because society gives them the power.

Society today walks around with its chin up and eyes glowing, as it thinks it holds all the knowledge that one could possibly know. Behind the scenes, the government has a secret weapon called censorship. The use of state or group power to control freedom of expression, such as passing laws to prevent media from being published or propagated, is what censorship is listed as (Definition of Censorship). In middle school through high school the history books only show the United States point of view. History texts show the US as heroes, not as the villains they were in some cases. Censorship is used to avoid giving the public information that might hurt the trust and reliability of the government. A way of beating around the bush, and turning the spotlight on the government and displays them as an idol to be worshiped. The society still hasn’t learned about the ways the government is easily manipulating people and controlling what they do or do not know. Winston, a character from 1984, is as blind as the rest of his community in the beginning of his adventure. Winston writes, "This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp," (1984). Winston is so mindless that he can not even comprehend that there are laws even though the government denies there are laws. Once Julia, the girl of Winston's dreams, comes along and reveals the sad truth about the government, they decide to link together and try to fight back against The Party. Marcus, the rowdy high school computer hacker, was one of the few to realize that the government was censoring more than one thing from the public. A secret base on "Treasure Island" is hidden from the public. The base is filled with innocent and guilty persons who are convicted of many things, one of them being the terrorist attack that Marcus had been caught in. The people who were confined had no rights and their families were not notified of their absence. Their families concluded, after a while, that they must be dead. With their rights stripped away, they went through both mental and physical torture. Marcus is rescued and while he is facing court charges he thinks, "I understood. I felt full of understanding now, for how all the families of all the people who'd been locked away must feel. The courtroom was full of tears and hugs, and even the bailiffs couldn't stop it," (Little). If the community continues to live the same way, and refuses to open their eyes, it will become ignorant and stupid. After a while they will forget how to even start to think for themselves and absorb only the information spoon-fed to them.

With cameras around every corner, rights stolen or abandoned, the once democratic society has become a dictatorship. The people walk around sightless and unaware of what has already taken place in the society they tried so hard to control. The government has made heroes of any person of the US, they changed history so that all mistakes ever made have been wiped from the public’s minds. Records of these mistakes are kept quiet and secret, used only to prevent making the same mistakes. The people skitter around the cold, isolated streets whispering about the scandals of life, but not one comment was about the government. No one longer complimented or criticized, the public chose the President based on looks. They all knew that whoever was the President didn't really matter, they only had the faint knowledge that the government was a big body and the President was only a tool. A person who was good looking, good at speaking, just another model to use to raise the people's morale. Small children run the streets, already out from school since their jobs have been decided before they were born. Since the government had now decided that communism seemed more fair and reasonable, doctors and garbage men are getting the same pay. It was no longer possible to make more money than another person. Half of the children have the jobs working for the lower parts of the government. They wander around installing cameras or voice recognition software thinking that they are heroes. Heroes protecting the city from outside invaders. The same motto that the government has spread throughout the mind of their citizens. "You are a hero. Protect America from within." This is only a small glimpse of what might possibly happen if society continues to ignore the massive amount of power that the government has obtained. The Constitution will be ignored or even changed so that government is allowed to do anything they want. In 1984, Wilson has the government called The Party and it says, "ls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple," (1984). This is The Party's slogan. By changing the past they control the minds of every citizen. If they said that the Constitution never existed, and wiped the existence from each person's mind, then it truly never did exist. As Marcus is released from prison he comes to a sudden realization, 'The other two were staring at me. "I'm right, aren't I? All this crap, all the X-rays and ID checks, they're all useless, aren't they?"'(Little). The technology isn't effective for controlling the terrorists very well, so why do they continue to be used? They remain because not only do they catch some actual threats, but they can micro-control the public. They control the records. If one person needed to be looked up for criminal charges that they were innocent for, the government could track every single move. Every trip they made around the US, what they had recently purchased, where they were, everything would be written down and watched. All the cameras could be considered a denial of privacy. Society needs to change now because time will not wait, neither will the government.

The government was meant to serve justice out to the people it must protect, the people have chosen to give power to them. Power is defined as: the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy: power over men's minds (Definition of Power). Government continues to gain power, especially since their public does not do as much to raise an eye. Society continues to spin in a downward spiral towards a future where the public's best friend is ignorance. Without a doubt, if society continues to ignore what has been shown to them now, the public will let itself be corrupted. The warnings in 1984 and Little Brother have yet to come true, but that does not mean that they will never happen. The community must open their eyes and watch, to think, and not just to accept what is handed to them.