The forum for Science Fiction Role Playing Game inspiration and information! So Say We All!
It is currently Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:42 am

All times are UTC

Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:52 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:04 pm
Posts: 1104
Location: the Retirement Coast, NSW, Australia
It suddenly occurs to me that the ubiquity of motion cameras in everyone's pocket telephones has ended an age of privacy that began when whitegoods displaced ubiquitous servants.

Before modern plumbing, washing machines, freezers, suck brooms, and drip-dry fabrics, the houses of the rich and middle-class were infested with observers who were prone to gossip: cooks and cleaners and the "hewers of wood and carriers of water". The rich and middle-class therefore had to comport themselves in their own homes in a way that, when reported by their servants, would not cause them disgrace and embarrassment.

Then we got plumbing and whitegoods, so servants became a rarity. That saved the upper-middle and lower-upper classes a lot in the way of wages and accommodations for servants. It also gave them privacy in their own homes and allowed them to abandon starchy decorum.

Now we have iPhones, bystanders on the sidewalks have iPhones, our silly drunkened friends have iPhones at our parties. Anyone of any celebrity is now as closely watched as when they all had servants, as are many people who would never be able to afford servants were servants still a thing. Any quip can become a scandal, a celebrity can be disgraced for licking a doughnut, and the days of not bothering with clothes in your own swimming-pool or when playing snooker with prostitutes are drawing to a close.

Stiff decorum was a reaction to being always watched. It might well re-emerge.

— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts on SFRPG must not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:17 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:22 am
Posts: 5335
Either that, or people on the internet need to learn to stop being reactionary idiots who express frothing outrage at the slightest thing.

Even with ubiquitous "stiff decorum" I'm sure someone will find something to rage about...

SFRPG Owner/Admin
This post (or any other post I made here) may not be quoted or copied beyond the SF RPG boards without my explicit permission. - visit the The Worldbuilding Hub
Check out my Youtube channel for all my streamed gaming videos!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:19 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:11 pm
Posts: 347
Location: Near Frankfurt, Germany
EDG wrote:
or people on the internet need to learn to stop being reactionary idiots who express frothing outrage at the slightest thing.

Good luck with THAT!

Expressing frothing outrage over the intellectual, behavioral and moral inferiority of those one wishes to feel superior to (also known as "gossip") is a cornerstone of human social behavior.

Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:18 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:41 am
Posts: 2259
Location: Yavne, Israel
It's the new totalitarianism. This sort of repressive regime doesn't need a single "Big Brother" type of tyrant, instead there is blind mob rule over the internet. There is no need for the State to go out of its way to spy on people - most people now WANT to be spied on and photograph their entire lives to post online. No need to have government thugs to publically denounce the Enemies of State - the enemies of the internet consensus get denounced and lynched (sometimes online, sometimes also physically) by the online mob. You have to be very careful about what you say otherwise someone may use it against you. You have to drink the cool-ade or you get shamed online. The governments, even the ones most prone to spying on their own citizens (e.g. USA and China) are always several steps behind the online social network. Everyone is spying on everyone else, this is how they get their kicks.

So I wouldn't be surprised if people will start acting as people have acted in the totalitarian states of the past - being very careful about what they say, very secretive about things they can still hide from the online community, and parroting the consensus in public even if they hate it in reality in order to avoid shaming and online lynching.

It's Salem all over again - let's shame the witch! (she'll burn/hang/cut herself in many cases following this kind of abuse).

We are but a tiny candle flickering against the darkness of our times.

Stellagama Publishing - Visit our Blog, Den of the Lizard King

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:57 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 7:01 pm
Posts: 352
Location: Bristol
I think you over-estimate the effectiveness of servants in revealing the dirty laundry of their employers. Sure back then everyone KNEW that Mr Smythe-Urquhart was a terrible drunk who beat his wife (rather than just suspecting it today), but no-one DID anything about it. After all, it would be the word of a Gentleman against the word of a mere servant...

There's a humorous Saki (HH Munro) short story about a talking cat (written in 1911 or thereabouts) which threatens to reveal everyone's secret assignations and bitchy gossip. It doesn't end well for the cat! whole story here

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited