The character of Big Brother looms large over the world of George Orwell’s 1984. His name is synonymous with power, and everything in society is measured in relation to him. However, Big Brother never appears in the novel, except on posters and on telescreens. The reason for his absence is quite simple; he doesn’t exist. Yet, the effects of Big Brother’s nonbeing are both far-reaching and powerful.

Big Brother serves many functions. Members of the Party must always feel oppressed and unworthy in order for the totalitarian state to work. Since there is no religion in Oceania (as religion would give rise to morality and a higher authority), Big Brother fills the role of the superior being who is subjugating the populace. For the Party to function, it doesn’t matter if people love Big Brother or hate him. As the prime focus of either love or hate, Big Brother is always the most important factor in the life of a Party member. His absence makes him seem more mysterious, powerful, and godlike. Big Brother is locked in an eternal battle with another nonexistent creation of the Party, Emmanuel Goldstein. Like Orwell’s world’s three remaining superstates, Big Brother and Goldstein will never stop fighting, and neither of them will be victorious. Because both fictitious leaders are apolitical and equally loathsome, following one is no better than following the other.

Big Brother’s absence allows him to be right in all circumstances. Whenever he releases statements, such as prediction of crop yields, the Ministry of Truth later changes them to reflect the truth. Since the only record of his statements is on government records, Big Brother will never be wrong. Since changing one’s mind is seen as a sign of weakness, Big Brother remains always formidable and strong. In addition, Big Brother, as the embodiment of the Party, will never die. Since he does not exist, he is, in the doublethink world of 1984, the only person who truly does exist.

Contrary to common sense, Big Brother’s nonexistence gives him the appearance of being omnipresent. The telescreens, the posters with the eyes that seem to follow you, the slogan "Big Brother is watching you" — all of these are more effective propaganda tools than any kind of actual presence would be. Since it is easier to feel strong emotions toward a human being than toward an organization, Big Brother was created in order to give a human face to the faceless Party.

Another high school paper noded.

I saw only a snippet of an ad for this show, some new endeavor where they trap a handful of strangers inside a restricted structure for so much time and videotape them. And it was called Big Brother.

I guess these TV execs either don't read books like 1984 that even today have some valid social commentary OR they think the reference is made with such casual smirking that no one would find it absurd, even insulting.

Look, I realize that voyeurism is gaining momentum on TV. I myself sent in a video to MTV to apply for the Real World. People had told me that I would make for quite an interesting character for the show, but they rejected me. Then, by sheer irony, the next time they pick a location, they pick New Orleans, where I live. And of course they're going to show them laughing it up for Mardi Gras and eating King Cake and falling down on Bourbon Street (at least for the first few episodes) all of which are not typically local things (I know, no shit). I would have loved to have been the local for that show. But anywyay, back to Big Brother.

I am just as drawn in to these shows as the next person. But honestly, I like the feel that Lanie in Reality Bites was trying to bring to her audience. She knew her subjects; they were her friends. Again, when I watch these shows, I try to find someone I can relate to, but seldom can. They're all either too false or cast in such a shallow light of sensationalism that who they are is dulled in the flood lights of the camera's watchful eye.

And now this new show ups the ante. As John Bender said in The Breakfast Club, "There's nothing to do when you're locked in a vacancy." If indeed the kids in this new show will be locked away in seclusion, I wonder just how inventive they will have to get before the cabin fever begins to show itself in all the physical comedy and mania and fights that the network almost counts on for ratings. And what's worse is that I can't even pity the people on the screen because they asked to be there. I ask myself what it is I would be watching this program for.

I was an only child. Only children can be very inventive when locked in a vacancy. Your room becomes your closest friend anyway, so spending a lot of time there is not unusual. I was forced to find things to do. I am curious to see how inventive these kids get, since on the other less restrictive shows, they didn't seem to be when they had more than enough to entertain them. And when I say "find something to do," I mean something that is more than just watching TV or playing video games or getting drunk all the time. There must be more to life, even suspended life in seclusion, that just these things. For the fate of this new show, I hope so.

A system administration tool that can notify a sysadmin of potentially downed services. Big Brother is based around a client-server architecture that allows it to be redundant and monitor multiple machines from a single source. Big Brother can generate reports in HTML, WML, and plaintext, and can notify the admin via pager or email. Big Brother is free to use so long as it is not resold or included as part of a service. Find out more at www.bb4.com .

Big Brother the TV show was also the TV event of Summer 2000 in the UK. Running for 9 weeks on Channel 4, with 24/7 webcam feeds from the house in Bow, East London, it grabbed the nation at a time when everyone was thirsty for reality TV and became Channel 4's most successful program ever. More members of the public voted for the series winner than did in the European elections that happened at about the same time, possibly showing that we don't care who runs the country as long as they keep us entertained.

A second series started 2 weeks ago, this time with live TV coverage for abour 16 hours a day on Channel 4's spin-off digital channel, E4; 4 seperate RealPlayer video feeds from the (refurbished) house; daily highlights on Channel 4 for half an hour, longer eveiction shows at the weekend, and repeats on T4 when they have nothing better to show. It's addictive/compulsive viewing....

Survivor also started running at the same time over here on ITV. It's already been rescheduled due to viewing figures way below what was predicted - It just seems the Brits have a differant taste in Reality TV to Americans. Apparently Loft Story is big in France at the moment as well, with a similar format but more sex.

Take a look also at:

Like many people, I happen to think that the TV show Big Brother is wearing a little thin now. Fear not! I have a plan to liven things up. Dressed in invisible clothes, I shall scale the vast walls of the Big Brother enclosure and deposit a chimp into the grounds. This chimp will be like any other adorable nappy-wearing chimp... except for a strap of bullets around its shoulder and an intense love of the sound of gunfire! It will have plenty of opportunity to indulge this odd desire as it will carry a large Colt .45 wherever it goes. Imagine, one day soon on British TV...

Announcer (cheery northern accent): Day six in the Big Brother house, and things aren't going too well. Four of the contestants are in critical condition, dying of gunshot wounds. The rest of the contestants are hiding from the chimp.

The camera switches to the main room where the remaining contestants are screaming and running to the diary room for shelter. The sound of gunfire fills the air, and the chimp leaps around screeching, destroying ornaments and firing wildly in all directions.

In the diary room, everyone is huddled together, whimpering and sobbing. "Please!" they beg. "We all want to vote the chimp out! Please!"

Indifferent voice of Big Brother: The chimp cannot be voted out.

The chimp leaps around excitedly until it reaches the diary room door, where it overhears them plotting its demise. The chimp slowly winds down, the smile disappears from its face. It stands there perfectly still, gun in hand, waiting.

The door opens. The contestants slowly sneak out. There is a gasp as they see the chimp standing perfectly still, deadly serious expression, gun pointing at them.

BANG! BANG BANG!

I cannot explain to you why I like Big Brother. I have been meaning to node this for a while now. Tonight is as good a night as any, for ten minutes ago, six days after the final eviction, my housemate just got home from a nightclub I didn’t go to because I am feeling ‘depressed’.. even though I knew Pete from Big Brother was going to be there and even though I knew I would regret not going, just as I knew I would regret not going to the eviction despite the fact it is filmed right near me.
So she comes home, tipsy, she runs in, looking all beautiful and sh!t, and she yelps “Pete kissed me!” He was bartending for the night, as some promotional thing, (he was this charismatic, chick magnet bartender before Big Brother, we are told) and my housemate asked for two Bacardi Breezers, and he kissed her on the cheek! Now, I am not boy crazy, I am not into reality television, I am not a groupie, I don’t see how a ‘celebrity’, (and I put that in quotation marks because lets face it, he became famous by being on tv, he didn’t get on tv for being talented), and yet.. I feel so jealous.
I can’t even describe this type of envy. I am so happy for her, even though there is nothing to be happy for. It’s over for her, she’s forgotten it, now she’s chatting to her boyfriend and reading a magazine. But i.. I am left sitting here thinking is it too late? Can I still go? Why the hell?! It’s a reality TV show! Its 12 people sitting in a house being bitchy and going to the bathroom, and I’m feeling green eyed because I didn’t get a kiss from a man who, to tell you the truth, I found to be an absolute jerk until he was evicted.

I have considered this, I have thought it over and over because I was troubled by the fact that I could even like this show. I don’t really go for the idea of reality TV, usually. I did in the beginning, I thought it was interesting.. but then I got bored. After like two episodes of Survivor. Temptation Island mildly interested me, but nothing good happened. Why Big Brother Australia then? The best I can tell you about its appeal is that, just as in the end they warmed to each other despite perhaps hating each other in the beginning, we begin to love them as well; they become ‘family’. And we all love a competition. And we love mysteries. It’s always interesting to see who wins. And to have a part in that is even better. And although people frown upon hype and fanaticism, when you’re in the middle of it, it’s downright zippy and gleaming, I mean to feed off everybody’s energy at one of those big eviction parties would be amazing, considering the emptiness of day to day life. It’s the type of time where everybody is your friend.

And that’s another thing, it unites people. It might sounds cheesy but it just out and out does!

I’m not sure what Big Brother was like in other countries, but in Australia it was wonderful :) Let me run through the characters (in the order they were evicted):

  • We had Andy the tall, Brazilian, outlandish dominatrix who brought with her her whips and vibrators and swore she wanted to have sex with all the boys on the show, with the blessing of her *gasp* husband, yet only managed to get one pash.. with Sara Marie. The fact that she was voted off kind of set the scene de jour, that Australia just wouldn’t look kindly upon Big Brother turning into some huge twenty-something romp.
  • Then we had Sharna, somewhat old compared to the rest, in her thirties, a bit of a blokeish man, your average Joe, as she would say, she had a bit of a thing for Pete, she was brash and bitchy, but pretty funny. When she was nominated she threw a huge tantrum and vowed not to speak to the housemates for the rest of the week. To her credit, she’s learning not to be so “nasty”.
  • We then said goodbye to Todd, a vegetarian with long dreads (Jemma cut them off), primarily because he smelled like meditation oil. Mixed with BO.
  • Next went Gordon, or Flash. One of the more ‘outgoing’ types, he finds himself physically attractive and had a bit of a thing for Jemma, who wanted none of him, and so voted him off rather than actually coming out and telling him to keep his distance. She then felt bad. Ha. Flash Gordon had pretty outrageous (so he’d like to think) hair. I couldn’t even explain it. Bald, except some spiky thing on one side. They called him Donkey Boy, after seeing the size of his penis.
  • Lisa, the most boring person alive. I have not one more thing to say about her.
  • Peter! He had a relationship with Chrissie and was often very cruel to her, but we learned he had Crohn’s Disease which is a some kind of bowel condition by which he loses blood and in effect, has the same mood swings as PMSing girls, so we forgave him. He was goddamn funny. He should have stayed longer, and would have were it not for the aforementioned PMS. He raised controversy by kicking a chicken.
  • Shock Horror! We had intruders! Two people from the outside, Anita and Rachel. Anita was elected to stay, which was amistake because Rachel ended up far more easygoing and hilarious than Anita, who was an Israeli, whiny, competitive woman who sparked the phrase here in Australia “Stop Smirking At Me”. She had frequent outbursts.
  • Jemma the house’s resident beauty queen. A make up artist before she went in, Australia laughed at the fact that she asked for her special lip gloss to be put on the grocery list. She was overly nice to the point where you wonder if she is a fake, and she’s dreadfully boring, but pretty. She wants, and I imagine she will get, a TV presenter’s job. She showered in her underwear and was known for her awful, awful off the shoulder tops and eighties earrings. Eek. Hideous. She seems to have bought some style since leaving.
  • Johnnie, or Rotten Johnnie as he was named by the media. He has a bit of “Lucifer’s Kiss” in that he’ll vote someone off and then be nice as pie.. but I really think he was just trying to be affectionate to everyone. He played the game well. He is gay, but he pashed Sara Marie and dry humped all the boys (and they him). It was amazing how loving the boys were towards him. They’d cuddle up with him on the bed and kiss his cheek. It was a lesson in tolerance for this country for sure.
  • Christina the ballerina, who you hated in the beginning because she was a meek, clingy girl who has absolutely no hand in her relationship with Peter, and it seemed, no personality. But she blossomed, particularly after Pete left, and she became a little more vibrant, a little more secure.
  • Sara Marie! It was insane! She was the clear winner! But on the second last night, she got evicted! It so happened that nine minutes before the eviction, Ben was the one to be evicted.. but then suddenly the lines went crazy trying to get Sara Marie out. She is larger than life! She’s loud and quirky and wears bunny ears, she worked at a strip club, she was honest, she annoyed people, but no matter how many times she was nominated she never got evicted. She is the clear favourite. She has no body image problems despite being a ‘larger girl’, so this has given a whole breed of weight conscious teens some damned confidence, something which needed to be done! Most famously, she created the “Bum Dance”, a curious feat indeed which involves one wobbling their butt in quite an unbridled manner and accompanying it occasionally with slaps of the hand. Note that she did this in a G-string one night.
  • Blair was the youngest at 19, a classic Aussie boy. He has a complete “Dolly magazine cover” face and could probably walk straight on to Home and Away or Neighbours. At the beginning he seemed obnoxious and arrogant but towards the end he really opened up and became this beautiful person. He pashed Sara Marie and he cried when Johnnie left and he loves his family. He’s like Australia’s new heart throb or something, amongst the teenagers. I cant believe he didn’t win, after Sara Marie left.
  • Blair and Ben were best friends, they were hilarious. Theyre both kinda just sporty, Aussie guys who love their family. Ben was just a really nice guy, but could be accused of having little personality. He’s like a big teddy bear. He scraped by in the beginning by being less obnoxious than the other housemates, and won the $250 000 for himself.
Facts and Figures:
14,000 people applied to be on Big Brother. This social experiment lasted 85 days, included 14 housemates and 12 chickens, 2 dogs (one real, one electronic), 25 cameras and 23 microphones. Over 350 staff worked day and night outside the house to bring Australia the action.

Throughout the 12 weeks, the housemates were allocated a food budget of $3.50 per person per day. However this could be gambled according to the weekly task, with the housemates betting a percentage of their budget on whether they passed the task. In total the housemates spent $2423.18 on food and drink, with $518.79 of this spent on wine and $280 spent on beer.

The house itself was built within 6 months by over 300 people. The house used 150 loads of concrete, over a million roofing screws and enough corrugated iron to cover eight football fields. As it is more than 300m from the control room and production offices, over 30km of cable joined the two.

The amount of videotape used in the production of the Australian Big Brother television shows spanned 27,000km – enough to stretch from Brisbane to London and back again.

Batteries for the housemates lapel microphones were an extraordinary expense. Over 2,500 batteries were used during the production at a cost of approximately $10 each. 10 lapel microphones were broken at a cost of $600 each, and 2 transmitters, that they all wear, were broken (one by Blair jumping into the pool, and one by Gordon wearing his in the shower) at a cost of $7,000 each.

Big Brother Online was an unmitigated success. It was the biggest single streaming event in Australian internet history. At any given moment there are an average of a thousand people watching the live streams. There has also been an average of 0.8 million page views per day, and over 56 million page views over the whole project.

The moral of the story came to be, from the perspective of the housemates: “Don’t take your friends and family for granted”. Nice. This still sounds boring. I don’t know how to explain what makes it exciting. I cant. I wont.

PS By the time I finished this writeup I wasn’t jealous of my housemate anymore. (Bitch.)



i wrote this node because i am literally having withdrawal symptoms. And the facts were supplied by bigbrother.com.au

The Netherlands have many export products that the Dutch can be proud of. Unfortunately, there are also some export products that are not deserving of such pride. Big Brother is one of them.

Big Brother was developed by John de Mol and was first aired in the Netherlands in 1999. The concept was rather simple but also rather revolutionary: twelve people volunteered to be locked in a specially built house full of cameras, and they were filmed 24 hours a day. Their activities could be followed 24/7 through the internet, and fragments of the day were shown each night in a television show. To make this all a bit more exciting, viewers could periodically vote for one person to leave the house. The person remaining in the house until the end would win a large prize in cash. The first series of Big Brother led to a lot of speculation about the ethical principles of the program: shouldn't people be protected from themselves if they volunteered for something like that? Wouldn't participation lead to emotional or psychological damage? Wasn't it ethically wrong to even want to look at people locked up in a house all day? Apart from all this hubbub, the first series was quite boring. The contestants were kept busy with growing their own food, chopping wood and stuff like that. Apart from the usual hijinks that ensue when several people are forced to spend lots of time together, nothing much happened. Nevertheless, Big Brother was hugely successful. Famous Dutch people tried to get into the Big Brother house, everybody was talking about it and the critics had a field day speculating about what this said about the mentality of the Dutch.

In later seasons of the show, new features were added. The volunteers had to do weekly tasks. Still, the relationships between the contestants, their conflicts and intimacies remained the main reason for viewers to watch the show. There were some scandals, of course. For example, in Big Brother 3, there was a transsexual contestant named Kelly. Viewers were aware of the fact that she had not always physically been a woman, but the contestant she had sex with on camera didn't... Lots of discussion on whether she should have told him or not. In the latest series of the show in 2005, a new scandal ensued. One of the contestants is a pregnant woman... her due date is in a few weeks, so the birth will most probably happen while she is in the Big Brother house.

Most contestants who have participated in Big Brother have become more or less famous afterwards. They go on to appear on other television shows, record songs and be interviewed about everything and nothing. In short, Big Brother has made it possible to become famous by doing nothing, on camera.

Big Brother has been exported to several other countries and has become popular there as well, as the wu's above prove. Time will tell if this is an export product with the same kind staying power as the others...

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