Big brotherly love

Here it is 1984 and George Orwell's Big Brother hasn't arrived. Maybe Big Brother is just around the corner, like Big Inflation. Ronald Reagan, who is the biggest whatever it is in Washington, can hardly pass himself off as the Orwell-type Big Brother. Except possibly in Grenada.

But in the United States proper (if that is the right term nowadays), he does not yet have that overawing, omniscient quality that goes with Big Brothership.

Big Granddaddy, maybe.

But who's afraid of the Big Bad Granddaddy? Nobody, unless it is the three little piggybanks holding the savings of Senior Citizens, marginal job holders, and the unemployed.

Big Brotherdom simply has not yet arrived.

It is possible President Reagan may still attain it. He has been pumping iron lately, writing physical-fitness articles, and posing for illustrations in stretchable T-shirts with a dumbbell. This refers to an exercising device and not necessarily to any one of his advisers who might accompany him to the gym.

The most likely reason America has not been taken over by Big Brother in 1984 is that George Orwell was wrong.

Unless we can count electrical Big Brothers which have come in the form of Big Computer. Big Computer has a benevolent power, in that it builds automobiles and runs steel mills (at least in Japan).

But they have an ominous side, too, as anyone knows who has become enmeshed in corresponding with one. People have spent a lifetime trying to get their name spelled right or change an incorrect address.

But even with Big Computer, Americans can still spend their day watching television without getting the uneasy feeling that the TV is watching back.

Big Brother may not have come. But President Reagan may unwittingly be setting the stage for the arrival of Big Sister.


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