First of all, consider it art. So spare me the rants.
That said, of course it’s provocative.
Over the weekend, I bought myself a copy of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which needs no introduction and I will limit myself to rehashing a part of Wikipedia’s overview of the book, which “… has major significance for its vision of an all-observing government which uses constant surveillance and propaganda, both insidious and blatant, to control its citizens.”
In the book, there is no free speech, everything, including thought, being monitored by the state. Luckily, we’re not yet that far down the line, even though Emma Larkin in Finding George Orwell in Burma makes the case that Orwell’s totalitarian vision has become reality, to some extent, in Myanmar.
The image above is a bookflap which fits snugly over my copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four, making it an appropriate toolkit for discovering the limits of free speech in today’s society, particularly if you happen to travel by air anytime soon. True, customs control noticing a bookflap is not exactly the same as deploying the two-way telescreen, but it’s the resulting action that counts.
With that, I also pose that if any one country is in a position to control both the public’s access to information and monitor the public’s reaction and use of that information, it’s the United States, not unlike recently suggested in the movie Southland Tales.
So, if you’re in for a bit of adventure. Print the above, wrap it around your reading material on your next trip to the US and find out what will happen.