The Panopticon and the Wheelie Bin

The idea of spying on what we put out in our rubbish bins has been around for a while, but has taken a new turn as the younger generation are softened up for a Benthanite nightmare via invidious inveigling using some very old tricks indeed.

Imagine your friends being able to examine every item in your kitchen bin. The food waste, the treats you buy and the brands you use.

Not only are the students involved in the project being softened up for the process of constant surveillance, they are being encouraged to spy on each other. Again, not a new idea, it’s merely that the method has been updated. This time the cameras in bins upload photographs to Facebook page. Lord spare us, Facebook. Is there nothing so awful that this thing cannot be turned to?

Everything the students throw into their bin is caught on camera and automatically uploaded to Facebook as part of an environmental challenge.

This is being presented as “fun”. A generation that has been accustomed to sharing the minutia of their lives on Facebook is an easy target. For them, it is fun and they see nothing wrong with it. After all, it’s in a good cause –  recycling is a good cause, isn’t it? Well, not necessarily, cobber. It all depends on whether it is economically viable. But whether it is or is not, is besides the point; the panopticon was designed as a means of subduing prisoners. We are supposed to be free men and women, not prisoners and university is not a prison, it is supposed to be a place of learning – although arguably there is a life lesson to be learned here. If recycling is a good thing then those who want us to do it, should be able to convince us by other means not by imposing a spy in the bin and using name and shame for those who are recalcitrant. After all, the refusniks may object because they are unconvinced by the cost benefit analysis and this is a reasonable objection. A reasonable objection for a reasonable person, that is. The followers of the green religion have demonstrated repeatedly that reasonable is not a word we should use to describe them.

Okay, so far we are talking about a bunch of students who have volunteered. So what? We may ask. Their choice, we may observe. And so it is. So, no problem, then?

[The University] Its waste manager has been following the experiment closely and now has his eyes set on the staff. 

Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

9 comments for “The Panopticon and the Wheelie Bin

  1. June 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Spying is fun in Airstrip One.

  2. Henry Crun
    June 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    I would write “Fuck Off!” in permanent marker on everything I throw in the bin.

    • June 10, 2011 at 7:00 am

      I’d just put everything in a brown paper wrapper and then put it in the bin. Keep ’em guessing! ๐Ÿ˜†

  3. Scan
    June 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    There’s an excellent episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit where they explode the myth that recycling is good, both environmentally and/or economically.

  4. ivan
    June 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    They’d find it somewhat difficult with me as I use a dog food bag that stands in the kitchen, is closed with a wire tie when it’s full – about two weeks, it is then taken out and put in the bin the night before the twice weekly collection.

    I should add there’s no way I’m carting a bin up three floors just to fill it to cart it down again – kitchen is on top floor.

  5. June 10, 2011 at 6:59 am

    “This is being presented as โ€œfunโ€. A generation that has been accustomed to sharing the minutia of their lives on Facebook is an easy target.”

    Working as intended, I suspect. Let’s hope that the spirit of non-conformity still beats in the hearts of our nation’s youth, or we really ARE doomed…

  6. June 10, 2011 at 8:09 am

    they are being encouraged to spy on each other

    This is the really insidious part. The other can be seen as some sort of lunacy but this is the route to a society such as the USSR. I saw the legacy of it.

  7. JohnM
    June 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    As I have written elsewhere…

    In Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, students are leading the protests to smash the oppressive Big Brother control of the state.

    In the UK they passively accept the errosion of freedom. They are like sheep (apologies to the sheep !)

    What will the future be for them?

  8. June 12, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Memo to self: stop putting things in the bin while naked, just in case.

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