Exploring our past to sort out myth from reality

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These are the voyages of the TimeShip Anachron.  
Our Mission: To boldly explore the past, dispelling
mythinformation and mythconceptions

of American History along the way.

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Meet MythAmerica Series

Pt 1    Pt 2     Pt 3     Pt 4     Pt 5     Pt 6     

The Rise of Big Brother

A regularly occurring "meme" these days on the Web is that we are now living in a "Big Brother" kind of society, with Big Brother himself being Barak Obama. Or, just a very few years back, George W. Bush being Big Brother. Is it true, that we have never had a time when there was so much "government encroachment" on the daily living of its citizens? And should our greatest fears be some faceless individual or handful of individuals behind closed doors snooping on us and manipulating us? Or…might it help to take a step back and investigate what it was like to live in earlier US generations? What if the "spirit of Big Brother" has been around a lot longer than most Americans have been aware…and what if the "usual suspects" aren't really where we should focus our concerns?

Part 1: 1984 Revisited

This introductory article in this series takes a brief look at the iconic 1948 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, and its antagonist, Big Brother.

Part 2: Uncle Sam and Big Brother

This article takes the reader back 100 years ago, and provides an overview of a kind of frighteningly effective societal "surveillance" which most folks are unaware was rampant in America back then, long before video cameras and computers.

Part 3: Burning More Than Draft Cards

This article gives a brief overview of the history of the military draft in America, going clear back to Civil War times…when some men threatened by forced enlistment burned a lot more than draft cards.

Part 4: Band of Big Brothers

This article gives a brief overview of the history of the 1918 WWI "Slacker Raids." The online Urban Dictionary defines a slacker as "someone who while being intelligent doesn't really feel like doing anything. A good example would be someone who gets Bs and As, while doing absolutely nothing other than playing video games on occasion." As you may have guessed, the modern use of the term slacker had a totally different meaning back in 1918.

Part 5: Li'l Brother is Watching You

You may have heard people speculate that the US government, led by some sort of Big Brother character (if not Barak Obama, then one of his successors), will some day encourage people…including children…to "turn in" friends, neighbors, or even their own family members for holding unauthorized political opinions. Just as, for instance, happened at times in Nazi Germany. Too late. This already happened a century ago in America. Check out the chilling details in this article.

Part 6: Big Sister is Watching You

The concluding article in this Big Brother series provides a brief overview of a startling aspect of the intrusion of privacy that was rampant during World War I in the US: It was frequently perpetrated not by police, or an arm of the military, or even by groups of men acting as vigilantes-but by the average housewife!