A billboard for Comcast pitches a lineup of “reality” shows, with this caption, “Recommended for you. Because real reality is boring.”
In contemporary America, real reality is also less real than Big Brother’s cartoony version. While we’re driving, walking, at work, lying in bed or even in the bathroom, Big Brother dictates what we know. Big Brother’s hypnotic screens have become our arbitrator of reality.
What capture us most are not the propaganda images, which can be ludicrously unconvincing, but the voice over. If Big Brother says it, it must be true.
Unlike in Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does not speak to us in one stern voice. Deploying many puppets, Big Brother will humor, cajole and even uplift. Despite apparent divergences of opinions or even contradictions, Big Brother’s essential messages will always come through most clearly and persistently.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, for example, both speak for Big Brother. While Clinton compares Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, Sanders states, “To temper Russian aggression, we must freeze Russian government assets all over the world, and encourage international corporations with huge investments in Russia to divest from that nation’s increasingly hostile political aims.”
Russia is a threat to world peace, they both agree. In boring reality, however, it is the United States that has surrounded Russia with missiles, staged provocative war games on Russia’s borders and pushed Georgia and Ukraine into wars with Russia.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is used by Big Brother to fan hatred and paranoia of Muslims. From 9/11 to the Orlando Shooting, every “Muslim” terror attack on American soil has been framed and narrated, with no real evidence, by Big Brother. As with the Boston Bombing, Portland Christmas Tree Plot and the Shoe Bomber Plot, etc., Big Brother has either steered and coached the alleged terrorists, or had foreknowledge of them.
In boring reality, the US has also attacked Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan and Syria. Waging war on all these Muslim countries, the US has killed millions and generated millions more in refugees. According to Big Brother, however, the US is not a most brutal and systematic assailant of Muslims, but their hapless target.
Killing Muslims and stealing their land, Israel has also painted itself as a civilized, dignified and unbelievably restrained victim of barbaric Muslim terror.
Without Israel, the US would not be killing and demonizing Muslims endlessly, nor would it suffer these terror attacks pinned on Muslims. Without Israel, not just the US but the entire world would be much more peaceful.
No one remembers the Portland case. The FBI prevented Mohamed Osman Mohamud from working in Alaska so that he could be snared into a terror plot concocted by the FBI. A bomb-loaded van, provided by the FBI, was to be detonated to kill kids celebrating Christmas around a downtown tree.
Though the FBI had recorded and filmed Mohamud extensively, it could not produce the one tape where Mohamud supposedly incriminated himself. Big Brother tells us the recorder had a malfunction at that exact moment, and we don’t keel over laughing, such is our divorce from common sense.
After the Orlando Shooting, we have preposterous testimonies by purported survivors, witnesses and relatives of victims. Angel Colon was supposedly shot once in the hand, once in the hip and three times in one leg, all from an assault rifle at close range. On top of this, Colon was supposedly dragged over broken glass so that his back and buttocks were all cut up. Just three days later, however, Colon had recovered well enough to be presented to the press to recount his ordeal in amazing detail. Though lying face down and pretending to be dead, and in a darkened room, no less, Colon could see that the gunman was aiming for his head when Colon’s hand was hit. He also witnessed the woman lying next to him being killed. This sort of eidetic recall is typical of those whose only knowledge of shootings comes from movies. Colon has also been broadcast from his hospital bed, smiling and lifting, quite casually, his supposedly shattered leg.
Supposed witness Luis Burbano claims to have seen a bullet sticking about five inches from a victim’s leg. Even unfired, a R-15 bullet is just over two inches long, Luis.
Filmed repeatedly, from the very night of the shooting, Christine Leinonen is seen making all sorts of crying sounds and faces, but without actually shedding a tear. While her son was still unaccounted for, Leinonen blubbered, “This is a club that nobody wants to be in. Please, could we do something with the assault weapons so that we could stop this club from ever getting any new members? I beg all of you, please. I want you to know about my son. When he was in high school, he started the Gay-Straight Alliance, and he won the humanitarian award to bring gays and straights together. I’ve been so proud of him for that. Please, let’s all just get along. We’re on this earth for such a short time. Let’s try to get rid of the hatred and the violence, please!”
The Huffington Post deems Leinonen’s discharge “a powerful and devastating plea for more gun control.” Less prone to cow pie, Lucius Nonesuch, a commenter at Unz Review, observes, “It’s not the language of anyone’s everyday speech, nor is it anything like good literary language—it’s more like a bad MFA creative writing student’s verbiage. These ‘average’ people use impossibly bad metaphors and unbelievable figures of speech—the supposed mother above has now “joined a club,” the club of parents who have lost a child to gun violence—how does this dolt of a woman come up with this trite nonsense on her own? It is not her language, it is the language of a Bolshevik Communications Major. Undeniably bad language—and yet completely not right coming from her mouth.”
Thank you, Lucius Nonesuch. If more Americans were like you, we wouldn’t be hoodwinked endlessly by Big Brother. As is, we’re doomed.
Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.