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Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your litterbag handy! - Elf M. Sternberg
Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your litterbag handy!

Big Brother is Watching
Hosted on Flickr!. Click to enlarge.
We've made a lot of noise and not a lot of progress in battling the oncoming universal panopticon, worried mostly about what governments are going to do with the information. Still, the phrase "Big Brother is Watching You" has been kept warm in everyone's imagination, which is why I find this roadsign so damned creepy. It's as if the Washington State Patrol wanted to twig you. Are you watching out, citizen!? Others are! Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!

Look, I don't like litterers any more than the next uptight Seattlite (who, dammit, went away on a "macrobiotic holistic retreat" just as I asked my question), but this billboard does nothing to make me want to turn in my fellow man to the authorities. I'm personally a fan of a certain level of citizen involvement in keeping neighborhoods orderly without having to invoke armed officers, and I don't believe that keeping an eye out for lawbreakers is just the job of the cops.

However, when the cops remind us that they want shifty-eyed peeping tops armed with cellphones calling in every minor infraction on which they can generate revenue for the state, I go into rebellion mode.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: cynical cynical
Current Music: Buggles, Johnny on the Monorail

8 comments or Leave a comment
polydad From: polydad Date: May 3rd, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
When in rebellion mode, what useful action do you take?


Joel. Seeking similar useful actions to take.
elfs From: elfs Date: May 3rd, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's really a good question and I really don't have a good answer in this case. I mean, I'm not fond of scofflawry that puts others at risk and I do call the sherrif when there's road debris. King County really is experiencing a signficiant uptick in road litter this year.

The poster makes me damnably uncomfortable. It suggests big brother tactics to combat litter. And while the state patrol is a law enforcement agency it is also a revenue generating agency, and busting people for litter is one of the easiest revenue targets possible.
hydrolagus From: hydrolagus Date: May 4th, 2007 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)

more flies with honey

I rather prefer the childhood indoctrination I received, of Woodsy Owl and "give a hoot--don't pollute." The attitude of the jingle was that 1970s civic-ownership-and-responsibility motif. Rather more friendly, and I want to believe more effective, than this suspicion-and-threats model.
elfs From: elfs Date: May 13th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: more flies with honey

The Forest Service has "revamped" Woodsy Owl, with a new costume that, as BoingBoing puts it, seriously sucks. It's meant to do away with the older, fatter costume to show a trim, healthy, and cheaper costume complete with water bottle and GPS thingy.

The government's pretty serious about it too. There's an entire guide to make sure you destroy the old costume properly.
hydrolagus From: hydrolagus Date: May 13th, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: more flies with honey

Bleagh. Owls aren't skinny. The new costume just looks cheap, like some leftover high school mascot. The Woodsy Owl website is even worse, though the USDA says it's under major revision.
zanfur From: zanfur Date: May 4th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that sign needs some throwies on it.
hydrolagus From: hydrolagus Date: May 4th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Red ones, aimed for the eyes?
lisakit From: lisakit Date: May 4th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
That's just creepy.
8 comments or Leave a comment