Thursday, January 12, 2012
I Survived Big Brother
Big Brother is a fictional character in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, a totalitarian state taken to its utmost logical consequence – where the ruling Party wields total power for its own sake over the inhabitants.
In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you", which is the core "truth" of the propaganda system in this state.
Since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the term "Big Brother" has entered the lexicon as a synonym for abuse of government power, particularly in respect to civil liberties, often specifically related to mass surveillance.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell describes the power of denial, of being able to split one's responsible awareness, as part of the principe of doublethink:
"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing both . . . to forget, then to draw it back into the memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all to apply the same process to the process itself . . . consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then once again to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink."
September 25, 1992
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Mr. Donald M. Stocks
Government of the District
Department of Human Rights and
Minority Business Development
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
RE: Docket No. 92-087-P(N)
Gary Freedman -v- Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld
Dear Mr. Stocks:
I respectfully offer additional facts in support of the contention that the termination of my employment by the Respondent in the above referenced matter was knowlingly wrongful and intentionally discriminatory.
On October 29, 1991, at the meeting at which Dennis Race advised me that I was being terminated, Mr. Race stated at various times during my employment certain employees (presumably supervisory employees) had placed statements in my personnel file, without my knowledge, detailing various infractions and instances of misconduct. He stated, "These are things you don't know about." Present at the meeting at that time were my supervisor, Christine Robertson, and the personnel administrator, Laurel Digweed.
However, not unlike Senator Joseph McCarthy and his elusive list of purported communists in the State Department, Mr. Race did not show me the referenced statements, and did not name the individuals who made the statements, or summarize the content of the statements. I do not know whether my personnel file, in fact, contains any such statements.
Mr. Race's reference to possibly nonexistent evidence against me -- secret charges by nameless accusers -- is consistent with a course of conduct at the termination that was calculated to intimidate and enrage in an attempt to provoke an incident and ultimately elicit incriminating statements and/or behaviors. Once again, attempts to elicit incriminating evidence -- after the decision to terminate had already been made -- strongly indicate that the Respondent's decision to terminate was groundless, knowlingly wrongful and malicious, and intentionally discriminatory. Mr. Race's conduct suggests that he was engaged in an Orwellian effort to create a post hoc justification for an initially unjustified termination. And certainly, irrespective of any attempt to provoke, Mr. Race's action of resorting to references to possibly nonexistent evidence against me is, in itself, highly suggestive that the decision to terminate was groundless, and knowingly so.
Further, one wonders how Mr. Race could have reviewed my personnel file without also stumbling across my job evaluations, including the one dated May 1991 that describes me as being "as close to the perfect employee as is possible to find."
Thank you very much.
Record on Appeal at 525-526. Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. No. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998).
I sent the above letter on September 25, 1992 three months before I received, in late December 1992 (record at 511), Akin Gump's Response to Interrogatories and Document Request, a document production that disclosed that my personnel file in fact contained no record of any reprimands (oral or writen) or any "statements" of the nature referenced by Dennis Race at the termination meeting on October 29, 1991.
Dennis Race had engaged in a carefully constructed lie at the termination.