Posted by: Hal
Really interesting piece in the Washington Post about Full Body Scanners, confessional culture, privacy and the decisions we make. I’m quoted as well, in the course of connecting our decision to go through a full body scanner or not to the rise of Peep Culture.
From the article:
More broadly, we have made peace with our confessional culture. If we are outwardly ambivalent that moments of deep personal anguish and light mundanity are processed into entertainment without much distinction on reality TV and YouTube, we nevertheless eagerly consume it all. We vote with links clicked and cookies accepted.
Even surveillance itself becomes titillation. As Hal Niedzviecki, a cultural commentator in Toronto and author of “The Peep Diaries,” points out, the evening news features surveillance camera footage of bungled convenience store robberies. Dash-cam arrest videos show up online. Niedzviecki calls the current state of things “peep culture.”
“Peep culture conditions us to want to use our privacy to achieve things,” says Niedzviecki, who suggests this breeds a kind of passivity, a failure to ask questions. “It’s not, ‘Oh, no, no, you can’t ask me to give this up.’ It’s, ‘Sure, you can have it, but what am I getting back?’”
In other words, we often feel we’re exercising control over what we give up. And we tend to focus on what we think we’re getting: security, social mobility, convenience, the validation of fellow Twitterati.
So, yes, the vast majority of us will continue to go through the full-body scanners. We will do it most of all because we hope the new technology makes us safer, but also because we’re in a rush, because we don’t want to make a fuss, because we don’t want to find out just how “enhanced” a pat-down can be, because we don’t even know what a full-body scanner is. We will do it because we’ve been inured to giving up things when we go to the airport, and it stinks, sure, but this is the price of flying in a scary age. We will do it because thinkingly or unthinkingly we have concluded this is a good bargain.
Hey, I’m Hal Niedzviecki. I’m a writer/thinker who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife and daughter. Up till now I’ve always considered myself a private person. But at the same time I’m fascinated by people who effortlessly open themselves up to the whole world. So I’ve… more...
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