Feb. 13, 2019

The Big Brother Generation

by Michael Lloyd Young (author's profile)


January 2019
Michael Lloyd Young

The Big Brother Generation

Wow! 20 years into the 20th century. My, how we've grown. In some ways, we are blossoming as a progressive society should. But in other ways, we consciously impede our own ethical and humanitarian development. No, I'm not even talking about Donald Trump right now. I'm just referring to the hate that we inflict on each other every day. Out there in the big world, as well as here in the prison.

Every day I experience the most petty divisions between prisoners when we have so much more in common than our differences. Maybe I'm just waking up from a coma or something and just seeing the world, how it really is, for the first time. But it seems to me that ever since the TV show, Big Brother, became a phenomenon, the world—or at least, the way we treat each other in it—has drastically changed for the worse.

A generation of people have been exposed to the show for as long as they can remember. In other words, throughout their formative years. And everyone's first few years in prison are their formative years.

The show exalts the one who can best fool others into seeing him or her as an ally when, in fact, they really intend to resort to treachery and treason. Mastering cunning and ingenuity, they are the exact opposite of an ally. They are an enemy. This seems to give license to individuals who already have a predilection for deceptive behavior.

I see it all the time. Well, of course I do. I'm in prison. But I mean, more than I used to. It has become an unspoken rule that we are involved in a game. That each person is supposed to strive secretly against his neighbor, against his friends, and everyone in his purview. Again, I'm no fool. I understand that on some level it's to be expected. It's prison culture, and I'm supposed to "trust no one." But I'm convinced that in the last 13 years or so, the average man around me has taken an ethical turn for the worse.

I'm no judge of moral character, just a man among men. It may also possibly be that I saw the world through rose-colored glasses, just different than before. And whenever the show comes on, I hear people get all excited. They call out to each other over the tier. At several different prisons, I've seen guys play their own version of the game modified from the TV show, with a prize at the end for the winner. Everyone chipped in by putting up something from their canteen purchases or something received in a quarterly package. Something like honeybuns, cookies, soda, rice, beans, tortillas, hot sauce, etc. The winner takes it all.

I used to feel good about the fact that I never played. I was asked to play a couple of times, but I had an internal conflict with the right or wrong of it that got in the way of me just having fun. In retrospect, I understand the love for the game and the phenomenon it's become. And they fiercely defend their right to play it, watch it, discuss, and whatever else they do.

I get that wistful feeling for the good old days. Before Big Brother. But maybe I'm the only one. I think I might be on the wrong side of history. This game, this show, is representative of what we've become. Twenty years into the 21st century, we have instructional reality TV that teaches us to have slick games, deceive with a smile, and most of all: always have a strategy. Hey, wait a minute, that's the 48 Laws of Power. LOL!

Hey, this is my lighthearted first attempt to get back into the writing thing. So please bear with me while I try to get good at it.


Yours truly,


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