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6 Made Up Nerd Words That Made it to Common Usage, and 8 That Should
by The Mary Sue Staff | 12:32 pm, January 24th, 2012
Created by George Orwell to represent an oppressive, totalitarian society of the future that forced its citizens into a seething cauldron of conformity and obedience, Big Brother was like the great and powerful Oz, a dictatorial ruler with all the power in the world, and no one to take him down. Some readers of 1984 took this as a statement of what could happen if the government got too much power and the people it controlled just stood by and let themselves be manipulated. Under the rule of Big Brother, the world of Oceania is constantly at war, constantly monitored, and constantly expected to bow to whatever Big Brother commands.
Big Brother comes up a lot when the subject of government power is mentioned, especially when people are talking about homeland security and terrorism. Under the previous president, many were upset about the reach of government surveillance, and the phrase created by Orwell for his fictional story, “Big Brother is watching,” was often cited. Really, anyone upset with the sheer existence of the federal government invokes Big Brother in their conversation, despite that thing protecting us from that kind of rule known as the Constitution. And we haven’t even mentioned the hit reality show named after the phrase.
Even outside of politics, things remind people of Big Brother, like internet security for example. Why is this site asking for my social security number and all this other private information? Why does Facebook think I like Rachael Ray? Why are there things on Twitter that let people see I unfollowed them? How did Google know what I was thinking? But yes indeed — we have let Big Brother into our lives. And until we stop spending so much time on the internet, watching each other on various social networks, the comparisons will also be sticking around for a while.
However, in the fictional world, you could easily say that Big Brother was a source of inspiration for the dystopian world of the Capitol in The Hunger Games and the broadcast of the Games themselves. After all, what does the most recent poster read? “The World Is Watching.” But at least this is fictional.
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