As a result of being recently unemployed I have been watching the television lately, something I haven't done much of for some time. For the past few years my viewing has been limited to "Fringe" and films that I was interested in but didn't deem worth ten dollars plus a bank loan at the snack bar. It all started innocently enough. I have a friend who is a big fan of "NCIS". I had promised him I would check it out. One thing lead to another. Three months later I noticed a disturbing pattern. In all too many of the "police dramas" that I watched actual investigation was replaced by the convenient device of electronic surveillance. The investigator would call up the images on security cameras without leaving their office. A few minutes later they would call up the suspect's cell records in real time and then use his cell to track his movements. In the new series, "Hawaii 5-O", the leading man regularly has his girl friend in the US Military call up spy satellite images to help him in an investigation.
I was tempted to simply write the whole thing off to lazy script writers, but the phenomenon is too pervasive. What if the government is paying Hollywood to run pro-surveillance programming? If we see "the good guys" doing it on TV maybe we won't complain as Big Brother begins to watch our every move.
"Oh come on now!" I can hear you say, "Those are the ravings of a paranoid!"
What is stopping our government? It did exactly that with the War on Drugs for years and when it was revealed that they had been paying for anti-drug plots on TV dramas. few even took notice, let alone objected.*
I wonder if Wikileaks will some day reveal that the Bush White House signed off on the "24" scripts. It would explain their obsession with torture.
I am not necessarily saying that this is happening. What I am saying is that the actions of our government over the last ten years or so make it impossible for me to assume that they would not do it.
It is a sad and terrible thing to have to admit that about one's government.
Be seeing you.