I’m not talking Cheers, your favorite watering hole, your gym, yoga class, or street gang. I’m not talking about the people you play poker with, or your dry cleaners or your postal carrier.
I’m talking everybody as in everybody. (In Amerika.)
I’m talking about the Internet, cell phone, gps age, and the long lost issue of personal privacy. Let’s face it; there is none. Yes, watchdog groups attempt to maintain some semblance of privacy vis a vis the Internet, but from where I sit it’s hopeless. If you have any modern technology–including cars–you and your technology are being watched, listened to, and certainly being filed.
This isn’t particularly new, though the methodology has grown increasingly more sophisticated. Pretty much everybody who participated in the civil rights movement or the Vietnam anti-war movement understood we were being photographed and eyeballed. Didn’t stop anyone I knew from marching or burning their draft cards or throwing themselves in front of powerfully gushing fire hoses.
Hell, when I worked in Chicago we learned to recognize the individual people who worked for the Red Squad and were charged with following, spying upon, and unearthing anyone or anything they thought to be subversive, i. e., a threat to the original Mayor Daley.
But thems and the KGB were small potatoes compared to now. Today’s big things are pretty common knowledge. Internet Service Providers, website tracking programs, bots looking at your website to gather information, Google, cameras on stop-lights, and of course, as usual, the government.
I choose to neither fight or flee this open source society. In fact, after minimal thought about the issue I came to a simple conclusion–fuck ’em.
If they want to know I take music lessons on Tuesdays, fine. That I have a computer collection of naked celebrities, enjoy. If they nail my license plate number when I jump a red light, let ’em. I can grub up money for the ticket. If my bedroom cable box is watching me make love to my partner and they want to bring down our national debt with a bootlegged tape, go for it.
If open door closets are the ticket to living in our technological age, so be it, because they sure aren’t gonna shut the doors. That leaves us with ‘be here now.’ Baba Ram Zach.
This isn’t to slam those who would prefer private lives. There are ways to minimize your exposure. Don’t buy or use a computer. Don’t buy cable. No cell phone. Hell, don’t take books out of the library with your real name and don’t buy a new car.
I’ll tell you what bothered me after thinking about this issue. With all the technology in the world that has this ability to peer into peoples’ lives, and all our bitching about it, we conveniently turn a blind eye to virtually the entire third world and especially Africa.
It’s the people whose names we don’t know who are getting fucked. People who wake up hungry, spend their days hungry, go to sleep hungry. And while there are organizations who actually try to help–http://thebombomajimotoproject.wordpress.com/ and many more–the overall picture is horribly dismal. Starvation in the 21st century? That’s fucking lunacy. AIDS victims without drugs? Mindblowing. Baby death for lack of potable water? If I were religious, I’d call it a sin.
And I’m not really just talking foreign. The same is true of all too many who live here in the good old U.S.A.
I believe and support the Occupy Movement; it strikes at the heart of our domestic issues. Problem is, the Third World needs an Occupy America Movement because we rake in at least a fifth of the entire world’s resources and we ain’t a fifth of the world’s population. We are the pigs of the world. At the cost of other peoples’ lives.
I don’t know whether I wrote the following here or somewhere else but I had the privilege during the late 1960s to visit Buckminster Fuller’s World Map, also known as the “Dymaxion Map,” which clearly indicates that lack of resources is not one of ‘lack’ but of ‘distribution.’
It might seem strange to connect the issue of personal privacy with the way we think about our lives in relationship to the reality of most of the world. But I guess I’m strange. I look at some of the legitimate issues we Americans debate or face, then look outside our solipsism. People are starving and we’re worrying about whether the Internet has too much private information. Well, it does. But it sure doesn’t collect and use enough information about those in the world who we need to know.
They’re dying, we’re not. Come on people who support the Occupy movement. When it comes to starvation, hunger, disease, thirst, poverty, and all around miserable lives throughout the world–we are the one percent.