the beautiful flags

image: Anselmo Pessoa Neto


After George Orwell, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Italo Calvino

I just reread 1984, by George Orwell. I write under the influence of a work that makes history. From interpretations of the book 1984, we have many and almost all of them are valid. But what stayed in my head, hammering, was the absolute control of information by Big Brother, of Socing (English Socialism). Among all that George Orwell “wrong”, and that was pointed out by so many critics, would he also have been wrong when he created the Telescreen, the device that works on both sides: that both displays and records, that transmits and records at the same time? It's not my finding, it's just not often said, but that's precisely the Internet and that's the hit that makes up for all its forecasting “errors”.

The Telescreen that prevailed is even superior to imagination, it is a hydra of disguise and dissimulation. It is our data that feeds it, it is our data that makes Artificial Intelligence smarter, algorithms more brutal. It is from our data that total control of information is possible, as never before in history. The gigantic databases and the intricate algorithms of the five Big Techs Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZ), Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) absolutely control the information on Teletela (which is shared with security services, as Edward Snowden has shown with rigor of evidence).

As a result of continuous learning, Telescreens became natural: they are omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent! The world that has always been physically united, but which was never united in terms of sharing wealth, has now become one in terms of information: almost all of us know the same things, we have the same opinions and the same certainties. Those who disagree are crazy, (always have been!) politically incorrect or fascist (and sometimes they truly are, which corroborates the perfection of the plan). Winston Smith-type lunatics are automatically taken to the margins of society, silenced, obscured, ridiculed. They just aren't eliminated (or rather, not all are eliminated), because they are worth more alive than dead, like, exactly, Winston Smith. Winston Smith is not killed, after being subjected to torture and brainwashing, he now loves Big Brother. The system already anticipated the need for Winstons Smiths, they are functional to the system. Only with the real, hypothetical or invented threat of the dissident, the security apparatus justifies its existence, its fat benefits, its enjoyment.

Think about your flags. What flags do you defend? Which ones are in opposition to the system? Examples? Are you in favor of green? Are you in favor of identity guidelines, “un” LGBTQIA+? Are you against corruption? Are you in favor of vaccines? Are you pro-animals, particularly PETs? Are you in favor of organic food? Are you against fossil fuels? Are you against the deforestation of the Amazon? Are you, flag of flags, against climate change and the complete destruction of the Earth? Well, so am I! And probably everyone around you is too.

How different our flags are from “The Beautiful Flags” by Pier Paolo Pasolini! Our beautiful, pure and naive flags bring us general favor, we are good, we are good against evil. Only one problem: we didn't identify the evil. We don't know what or who is evil. Just look: Rede Globo and the entire world communications conglomerate are totally in favor of all these flags, the British royal family too, Vale (from Rio Doce) too, Banco Itaú too, Banco Pactual too, Emmanuel Macron too, Mario Draghi too, Cyril Ramaphosa too, Angela Merkel too, Guillermo Lasso too, André Esteves too, in fact, all banks and bankers too, all NGOs, almost all heads of state, starting with boss of bosses, guerrilla fighter Joe Biden. Who, therefore, is against these flags?

In Brazil, the answer is quick and sure: it's Jair Bolsonaro! In the world, it's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Rodrigo Duterte, Viktor Orbán. For some others, also Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and a few minuscule others. They are the ones who prevent the beautiful flags from becoming realities! That's right? (as I am missing emojis, stickers and kkkkkkkkk in “serious” writing).

Em The viscount split in half, Italo Calvino showed how insufferable “the good one”, the entirely without evil type, is (at the time he wrote, Big Techs were not yet acting). Without identifying the true enemies of beautiful flags, we will not go far. Pasolini identified them. And if the one who points out the enemies was the enemy, as in the smog cloud, by Italo Calvino?

Are the dispossessed of the earth as evil or more evil than the approximately 100 capitalist corporations that pollute, manage and control the planet, including and mainly hunger and disease? Large corporations are practically anonymous and invisible, enemies have names and addresses: they are our neighbors, our coworkers, our social life. The petty war rages. Big Brother is in charge and guards for us.

* Anselmo Pessoa Neto is professor of Italian literature at UFG. Author, among other books, of Italo Calvino: the must-see passages (UFG).


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