Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Life in the Panopticon...

The Silicon Graybeard is thrown into full "I am not a number, I am a free man!" mode by the announcement that the NFL will be supplying free clear plastic logo bags to season ticket holders with which to carry their belongings into the sacred precincts of football stadia. (Non-season-ticket-holders will have to source their own clear totes.)

Optimistic me says that this is only going to help big-screen TV sales, but people are getting used to surveillance nation. If you'll take a probulatin' from the .gov to go visit grandma for Thanksgiving, then why not undergo one from mall cops to go watch a bunch of grown men in spandex pants writhe in sweaty piles on the ground and pat each other on the butt?

As I commented over at SG's place:
In many NFL markets, twentysomething football fans have been carrying clear or mesh bookbags to school all their lives. This will just be like a cozy class reunion for them.

Homo privatus, an odd offshoot of the species that thrived from the Fertile Crescent to Hibernia for a few thousand years, is largely supplanted now by Homo communis.
On most of the globe, for most of history, "privacy" has just not really been a thing. I think it's important, but Neanderthals probably thought wooly mammoth herds were important, too. Arthur C. Clarke and his longing to merge with the collective hive mind was probably on the right side of history, alas.

23 comments:

Alien said...

I would be surprised at any decline in crowds at National Felon League games even should our masters require attendance naked and only after receiving a tatooed ID number.

A few more TVs might get sold, but the waiting list for tickets says the seats will remain full nonetheless.

Roberta X said...

Actually, I think Clarke might've been on the Left side of history.

mikee said...

All the more wonderful, then, when one does stand tall, proud and private, and declare a loud "No!" to the intrusiveness of one's fellow citizens, the mob, the state, or the NFL.

Just to see the look on their faces, it would be worth it.

Paul said...

Clark really liked communism that was run right. That is the leftist scree on why it has never worked yet.

Although we might be helping is succeed in Russia and China. Send enough money and any political system can work.

Anonymous said...

20-some-odd years ago in college, I remember telling someone that some day we'd be forced to carry our stuff around in clear backpacks so the authorities would know what we were hauling around. At the time, it sounded so far-fetched and ridiculous, that I said that would be a sign that we've become as bad as the Soviets (my baseline for all the evil and horror in the world at the time).

Well, here we are.

jf

Woodman said...

In a loss-less society of plenty, including plenty of prime real estate, it's possible Communism could work.

I'm not all that sure, but maybe.

Try harder doesn't seem to be working well.

armedlaughing said...

Resistance is futile - you will be assimilated.

gfa

perlhaqr said...

Yeah. As lamented elsewhere: The privacy wars are over, and we lost.

Even those of us who really really care, and were really really passionate about it; the dorks who have had a PGP key since Zimmerman first released; the nerds who wore shirts with "RSA-in-four-lines-of-Perl" when we went to Mexico as a protest measure in college; 'those freaks' who have been getting called paranoid for the last 20 years for talking about the NSA like some folks talk about, oh, the ATF...

We know. We know for a fact that the NSA is recording the information, squirrelling it all away in huge databases, and not only do we continue to carry our little GPS-and-Cell-Tower-Triangulation tracking devices, but we continue to pay for the privilege.

And... fuck. I'm just going to stop thinking about this now before I break down and start openly weeping here at work.

LCB said...

Games stopped being exciting in the early 80's when they increased the commercial time. A guy walks out on the field with an orange glove across his chest. The game stops...the crowd dies...and everyone just waits until the guy lowers his arm to signal the end of the commercial time out.

Now...if I was willing to pay 8 or 9 bucks for poor beer...maybe I wouldn't have cared. But I went to watch football...not get drunk.

If someone gave me free tickets I would go to a game...until now. With HD and DVR to scan past the commercials...fuhgetaboutit...

Geodkyt said...

Recently had an interesting time crossing the border both ways. Heading north, the Canadian Border Services officers at the Rainbow Bridge hadn't processed a gun form in over a year, and NO ONE knew how to fill out the form or where to send it. After about half an hour, they figured out I wasn't an infiltrating terrorist or gun runner bent on devastating Canada with a 70 year old bolt action rifle and no ammo. .... .

Coming south, the US Customs officer didn't even ask if we had anything to declare, but AFTER ascertaining we were three US citizens with valid passports, returning to the States, quizzed us in detail as to what our destinations were IN the United States. Seemed suspicious when told the three of us, in a car with Virginia plates, were heading home to Virginia.

I'm glad I didn't think to ask her just when the Hell the Supreme Soviet had mandated internal passports, and just what business was it of hers where three US citizens, whose passports she had already verified, were planning on going in America after a weekend in Canada. That would have gotten us "randomly selected" to have my car disassembled to look for smuggled poutine and maple syrup, I'm sure. (Again, she didn't even ASK if we had anything to declare, only where went and where we were going.)

As I was driving away, I was REALLY glad I didn't snap out, "I'm going to America, Kommissar, right after you give me my Ausweis back."

Bubblehead Les. said...

Just Remember,Tam, that the next time you Fly In/Out of Cleveland, you are within the 100 mile Border "Security Zone", and Homeland Security and the Border Patrol can SHOOT you if you don't "Halt!" quick enough.

rickn8or said...

..."and the Border Patrol can SHOOT you if you don't "Halt!" quick enough."

Charming.

Mike_C said...

> Homo privatus, an odd offshoot of the species that thrived from the Fertile Crescent to Hibernia for a few thousand years, is largely supplanted now by Homo communis.

Shades of science fiction author TJ Bass' dystopian future world-spanning Hive populated by the dwarfish, meek and communally-minded Four-toed Nebbish. Sounds like H. communis to me.

The four toes part has something to do with the conceit/plot device that human aggression and curiosity are genetically linked to the fifth toe, but it's been a long time since I read Half Past Human. Incidentally, although Bass (Thomas J Bassler, MD) was a physician (pathologist apparently), I wouldn't take the genetics concepts in his novels to the bank. Nor does the "renal diet" followed by the nearly anephric character Larry Dever stand up to scrutiny.
Still, HPH and The Godwhale are interesting, if more than faintly weird, reads.

Nylarthotep said...

to go watch a bunch of grown men in spandex pants writhe in sweaty piles on the ground and pat each other on the butt?

Not that I watch much football, but with that perspective now locked in my little mind, I won't be able to watch.

Anonymous said...

It's not the right (or left) side of history, but rather the default side of human history, just like poverty and war.

Brought to you by "good intentions", the sponsor of humanity's "interesting times".

Terry

WV: 38 scuriod; seems like the appropriate caliber for the job.

Ken said...

So much for the No Fun League, then.

Devynsdad said...

Hhhhmmmm...

If our corporate overlords are pushing stand your ground laws in order to convert southern rednecks to register as Republicans, and making them fear hoodie wearing "youths" so much that they feel the need to buy guns so said overlords can make a killing (no pun intended) selling evil firearms, it makes me wonder what sort of diabolical machinations have led to this sudden push of big screen tvs and clear plastic bags.

I'm just sayin.

wheelgun said...

Nice job on the "Childhood's End" reference. Don't know too many people who have read that one, let alone can reference it in a blog post.

Goober said...

Still not sure how you'd reward guys like me who work our asses off day in and day out, performing huge amounts of work and makjng big money for our bosses.

If I got the same reward as a janitor for doing what I do, I'd be a janitor.

The only reason I work myself to the bone is for the reward. There is no intrinsic reward in the work I do, and it is stressful and difficult as hell. Without the reward I wouldn't do it.

Lots of guys like me. Thete is no incentive in communism, because if you create it, some will work harder to get it than others and Viola! Suddenly, your classless society ain't so classless anymore.

Seerak said...

Clark really liked communism that was run right. That is the leftist scree on why it has never worked yet.

The seekers of perpetual motion machines say the same thing: that nobody has built a working example is just because they did it wrong, not that the idea is wrong in principle or anything like that.

In a loss-less society of plenty, including plenty of prime real estate, it's possible Communism could work.

Funny you should say "lossless", it's so much like "frictionless". See above.

Tam said...

Seerak,

I think you missed some points.

Mr Evilwrench said...

I so want to be a troublemaker in society as it has become. With me, it's not a case of "oh, they're being douchebags at xxx, but I never go to xxx anyway so it's ok with me" but rather that the opportunities present only in places I never go anyway, and none that I do, though a couple of times I made some people nervous at the Canadian border.

I want to waste their time, make them feel like fools, give them a reason to be surly. Not that the innocents should be punished by this surliness, just that it may test their patience and wake them up.

Buzz said...

Resting stance is fertile, you will be ass-mutilated.