Thursday, November 02, 2006

Watching the Defectives

Britain, we learn, is subject to more surveillance than almost anywhere else. We have 4.2 million CCTV cameras and every one of us is snapped several hundred times a day. Meanwhile, we also learn, that our young people are the worst behaved in Europe. Thanks, so they say, to familial breakdown, we do drugs, drink, violence and promiscuity on a truly monumental scale. It is another paradox. CCTV cameras are supposed to stop these things, but they seem to be encouraging our debauchery. Perhaps we just love being on television. Or perhaps the CCTV wonks just like watching us reeling about the streets, copulating and beating each other up. Either way, I'm in Denmark so what do I care?

19 comments:

  1. Civic pride is better in Denmark?

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  2. It's quite simple. It's not a paradox. The less self-control we have the more heavy-handed 'the authorities' think they need to become to instill good behaviour and the less self-control people have as a result. And so ad infinitum, to paraphrase Ogden Nash.

    The cameras are not to catch people doing wrong and make them take responsibility for their actions, but a visible reminder that 'the authorities' are there to take ultimate responsibility for their actions and therefore people needn't worry what they get up to so long as the cameras are trained on them, because it's not their problem. That's why the mass of the people welcomes cctv cameras and why they don't work in the way that the liberal establishment says they expect them to work - which is sophistry anyway.

    We have become a slave society and is it surprising that young people behave as they do when they are not trusted with, nor are they made to take responsibility for, themselves.

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  3. I would suggest reading the Transparent Society by the sci-fi author David Brin, on the subject of CCTV. He regards the spread of surveillance technology as inevitable, and desirable but demands reciprocal accountability - the public being allowed to spy on those spying on us. To clarify, it is non-fiction.

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  4. Fuck off back to England, you barbarian.

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  5. I shall do so in the morning and, yes, James, civic pride is better in Denmark.

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  6. No chance there, Simon. We're supposed to allow a kind of papal infallibility clause regarding the conduct and intent of the authoritities. Like the Council on Foreign Relations I mentioned the other day. An immensely powerful organisation aiming for a one world state with members flooding the political, mass media and multinational fields. And every member sworn to secrecy about what goes on there. Democracy, don't you just love it?

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  7. We have rednecks. And fundamentalists. And this crazy election here across the pond that is making me pull my hair out.

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  8. And, according to the Times, ASBOs are status badges these days.

    Makes me wonder how I manage to live with a teenager and a nascent teenager without being muggged in my sleep....

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  9. Look, guys, thanks for all your intelligent comments, but I didn't get the one I really wanted: 'Bryan, that is one brilliant headline.'

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  10. Bryan, that is one brilliant headline!

    Almost as good as the title of one of Martin McDonagh's plays: "The Retard Is Out in the Cold."

    Can't say you guys are oppressed by political correctness!

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  11. I aplogise Mr Appleyard. That was rather blunt. And yes, that was a fine title. But it does not alter the unfortunate fact that you are English and lacking in the merits of European civilisation. And not only that, but your trip here was wasted as your beloved Manchester United were beaten by our team of amateurs. I admire your willingness to follow your team so loyally but only because at least it shows a little passion, no matter how lacking in intellectual justification.

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  12. Lars, I was no there to see Manchester United but for something quite different. And, anyway, I support Manchester City

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  13. I was sure it was you I saw, face bloodied and contorted, flinging a shopping trolley through a pub window last Wednesday night.

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  14. Oh well, yes, of course, THAT was me.

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  15. But it had nothing to do with football? I understand. Probably something related to Kierkegaard. Sometimes I think he's been as much of a curse as a blessing to Denmark. Apologies, come again.

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  16. Yes, Lars, an entirely non-football related act of mindless violence brought on by Christian existentialism. It happens.

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  17. You think we're all being watched, all being recorded every moment. Its's just another tall story. If it were true how come the BBC has only two blurry film clips of teenage anti social behaviour. There'e the one where a kid on a push bike rides up to the side of a parked car, puts a brick through the window and appears to reach in to take something. There's the other where two or three kids use a car like a vaulting horse - run up jump on the bonnet, jump on the roof, jump down at the back.

    If you ask the police who smashed your car window on a public car park THEY DO NOT KNOW.

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