That's Entertainment: The Observation Principle from Bentham to Foucault (Oceania)

      Charlie Canning
That's Entertainment: The Observation Principle from Bentham to Foucault (Oceania)

In this essay, I begin with Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon and the observation principle as a method of control. I then discuss George Orwell's 1984 and Michel Foucault’s development of this idea as a means of control and a form of entertainment. Finally, I take up ways in which the individual - and not the state - has become the unwitting purveyor of suffering as entertainment for a mass audience.When George Orwell published his dystopian novel 1984 in 1949, many believed that the totalitarian state that Orwell described couldn’t possibly come into existence by the year 1984. Others thought that it was already manifesting itself on both sides of the Iron Curtain.Since 1949, we have gone well beyond the nightmare world of Orwell’s 1984. In Orwell’s day (and in the projected time of the narrative), the power to crush an individual was in the hands of the state and Winston Smith clearly knew where the blows were coming from. Now any loose confederation of individuals within a community (be it school, town, city, or global village) can completely destroy a person’s life.The chief way that the state exercises power in Orwell’s 1984 is through surveillance. In Orwell’s futuristic world, the surveillance work is done by camera, much the same as it is today. But the underlying principle of observation as a form of power is much older than closed-circuit TV.
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    Sheltering Down Under (Oceania)

      Charlie Canning
Sheltering Down Under (Oceania)

Sheltering Down Under is a meditation on the nuclear issue written from a bomb shelter in South Australia. In this essay, the spotlight is on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nuclear tests of 1953, the Cold War, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Tokaimura (the accident before Fukushima).Analogies and extended metaphors are drawn between the United States and the Brigadier in John Cheever's short story "The Brigadier and the Golf Widow" and Australia and New Zealand as the de facto bomb shelters for the Northern Hemisphere.
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