Thursday, February 16, 2006

Orwell on high-tech passports

There are some words that people use just to sound smart. One of these words is Orwellian. I know that it refers to George Orwell's novel 1984 that introduced us to BIG BROTHER. I never read the book, but I know enough about it to summarize: 1984 is about a group of farm animals that move into a house in LA and spy on each other. Each week the pig, who is the Head of Household, votes a donkey out of the house. Wait, maybe that isn't right. Let me google it... ... ... ...

Okay here is what I found: 1984 is a "dystopian novel setting forth his (Orwell's) fears of an intrusively bureaucratized state of the future."

Dystopian? This is another word that people use to sound smart. There was an Orwell, does this mean there is some guy out there running around with the last name of Dystop?

Back to 1984. As you can tell from my above research I was right about the pigs.

I read an article in a popular travel magazine in which the author was writing about memory chips being imbedded in our passports. Apparently, he felt as if he needed to boost his intellectual confidence and busted out the "O" word, calling the chips "downright Orwellian."

I have no idea what the chips would have to do with pigs, but to me they may not be a bad idea. They are supposed to speed up the process of passing through immigration. Those lines make me nervous. I don't like being in inter-country limbo. Plus, I always feel like I am hiding something.

There is also the safety issue. I once met a 22 year old American student in Eastern Europe who was fresh off a few months in Iran where he had gone native - wearing bed sheets, sporting an unkept fundamentalist beard, the whole works. It scares me to think that this fella could have handed his passport to a tired immigration worker who flipped past his Iranian stamps and allowed him to waltz into the country. This guy should have been detained and questioned.

That's just my opinion. I know that it's downright Timmermanian , and perhaps a little Kelseyian, so you'll have to forgive me.

1 comment:

Winston Smith said...

Hahahaha! What a deal, 3 for $5. How very Timmermanian of you!