The Mail on Sunday watched as a cyclist riding through a pedestrian area was ordered to stop.What the hell? I don't know about you, but I'dve had a hard time not yelling back "Will the nosy sumbitch with the microphone please stick it where the sun don't shine?" This is exactly the kind of thing that would bring my anti-authoritarian streak bubbling to the surface.
'Would the young man on the bike please get off and walk as he is riding in a pedestrian area,' came the command.
The surprised youth stopped, and looked about. A look of horror spread across his face as he realised the voice was referring to him.
He dismounted and wheeled his bike through the crowded streets, as instructed.
I blame it on growing up in an America gearing up to celebrate its Bicentennial, but whatever the cause, I was twelve before I found out that e pluribus unum wasn't Latin for "You ain't the boss of me." If I feel like I'm being monitored, I feel a nearly irresistable urge to run home and rip the tags off mattresses. Yet this seems to be okay with plenty of folks:
Law-abiding shopper Karen Margery, 40, was shocked to hear the speakers spring into action as she walked past them.I don't care if it absolutely eradicates street crime, honey; get that camera out of my face before I find a rock and a slingshot.
Afterwards she said: 'It's quite scary to realise that your every move could be monitored - it really is like Big Brother.
'But Middlesbrough does have a big problem with anti-social behaviour, so it is very reassuring.'
I guess it's the absolute lack of negative reaction to what I see as stifling intrusiveness that gets to me, just grinds me to a halt. The fact that nobody minds some camera operator watching them pick their nose, or stealing a kiss in a secluded nook after meeting someone new in a nightclub, is a chilling thing for me to see. I get that same bleak feeling I always get at the end of 1984...
"The voice from the telescreen was still pouring forth its tale of prisoners and booty and slaughter, but the shouting outside had died down a little. The waiters were turning back to their work. One of them approached with the gin bottle. Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention as his glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating everybody. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The longhoped-for bullet was entering his brain.Ugh.
He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."
(H/T to The Student Shooter.)