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Big Brother is watching you!
~ Big Brother

Big Brother is the primary antagonist of novelist George Orwell's 1949 masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four (also known as "1984"), - an all-powerful authoritarian dictator of Oceania, a fictional totalitarian state taken to the extremes of its logical conclusion: where the ruling class are in complete and utter control of the hapless masses and wield absolute power.

In the society of Big Brother the entire population is under constant surveillance via tele-screens and have no privacy or freedom outwith what Big Brother decides to afford them - Big Brother is forever reminding his people of his presence via simple but effective propaganda.

Since the creation of Big Brother by George Orwell the name has become a symbol for oppression, especially the type in which personal freedom is removed via surveillance and whenever a government is seen as abusing its power it is often labelled a "Big Brother" state.

Role Of Big Brother

The Party

The ruling government of Big Brother's dystopian world is known as INGSOC (English Socialism) and this party runs on an extreme form of totalitarianism that has seen them totally rewrite the
The-party
laws of society to the point they have even replaced the English language with "Newspeak" - a type of language designed to mask the true meaning of words and phrases, Ingsoc also continually "rewrites" history so as to hide things from the population - making finding facts about their origins very difficult (if not impossible).

Through what can be found we learn that Ingsoc was formed sometime after the socialist revolution and that Oceania was formed via the unification of the Americas and the British Empire - Big Brother and Emmanuel Goldstein led the party until Goldstein ultimately went against Big Brother and became an enemy of the state.

The Man

Big Brother himself is a mysterious individual and although constantly displayed as an all-powerful, all-knowing figurehead there are serious questions as to whether he or Goldstein ever existed as actual people or if they are both tools used by The Party to inspire love and hate respectively within the minds of their citizenship.
Big-brother

Big Brother watches over his citizens

Big Brother is often displayed to the public on tele-screens and posters with a daily series of events known as the "Two Minute Hate" and the "Love Of Big Brother" being performed by citizens throughout Oceania.

During the "Two Minute Hate" images of enemies of Big Brother are shown to the public and they are expected to express their hatred of Goldstein and the democracy he embodies - this is a form of brainwashing designed to embitter the citizenship against the ideas of freedom and strength the idea that Big Brother is the only true path.

Following the "Two Minute Hate" the citizens of Oceania are subjected to the "Love Of Big Brother" in which they are expected to perform a ritual of devotion to Big Brother which consists of murmuring "B.B" continually with long pauses between the two B's - this disturbing ritual could last as long as thirty seconds and was designed as yet another tool of mind-control.

It is often speculated, that Big Brother was actually a non-existent person, made up by the Ingsoc propaganda like Comrade Oligvy, thus making him only a symbolical ruler of Oceania.

Big Brother As A Symbol

Big Brother is widely regarded as a symbol of abuse of power, Communism (especially the kind used during the era of Stalin) and fascism - many of the tactics used by the oppressive government of 1984 paralleled those used by such real-life dictatorships as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and even, to a lesser extent, the British Empire.

The idea of a government amassing total and utter control over its citizenship has captured the imagination of many from all walks of life and Orwell's works often seemed to be his way of warning people about the very real dangers of such governments - much as Animal Farm symbolized the inevitable outcome of Communist rule (at least in Orwell's view) so too, it could be argued, 1984 symbolized the inevitable outcome of Fascist rule.

Big Brother himself has become more and more of a symbol within the real world as well, especially in the days of increased government interference with civil liberties and a growing distrust of authority among some groups the idea of Orwell's "all-powerful" and "all-seeing" Big Brother has been seen by some as almost prophetic.

Due to this the word "Big Brother" is often used by activists and opponents of political movements or parties to describe regimes, systems or individuals that they see as either abusive, manipulative or somehow sinister - a "Big Brother" state is a type of state in which the government is seen to have too much influence over people lives (variations of this term as a "Father Knows Best" state or a "Nanny" state).

Big Brother In Other Media

Big Brother or similar concepts have appeared in countless other media - including books, films, cartoons, radio, plays and almost anything else one can imagine: Big Brother is one of the most widely known and used antagonists in popular culture.

1984 was made into a live-action film in (fittingly enough) 1984 - this film was largely loyal to the original novel though it did have several differences, as is usual for film adaptations of novels.

Parodies And Other Uses

Big Brother, by his very nature, is an important symbol and tool - as such the concept is often open to parody as well as other uses outside the traditional role of oppressor.
Big-apple

"Big Brother" as he appeared in the now famous Apple advert

Perhaps one of the most (in)famous examples of Big Brother being parodies (or at least used in a fanciful way) was the now famous Apple commercial in with a group of people stand next to a tele-screen with the image of what is presumably Big Brother - only for a woman (symbolizing Apple) runs into the room and smashes the tele-screen - this advert itself has been parodied several times and entered popular culture: though Apple did find itself in trouble over this advert as some felt it was deliberate copyright-infringement.

The Big Brother government appears in Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series as having taken over England for a period of time before eventually falling. Such scenes include the time-traveling Andrew Norton witnessing a riot being quelled by Thought Police and a parody "Tijuana Bible" in Newspeak from the time.


Navigation

The Headlined Villains
2009

January
Shadow Queen

February
None

March
Lord Voldemort

April
Darth Vader

May
Dahlia Gillespie

June
Smithy

July
Manfred Von Karma

August
Light Yagami

September
Lee Woo-jin

October
Imhullu

November
Gaston LeGume

December
None

2010

January
Leatherface (original)

February
GLaDOS

March
Edward Hyde

April
Dimentio

May
The Chairstealer

June
Walter Sullivan

July
Vlad the Impaler

August
None

September
Audrey II

October
Albert Wesker

November
None

December
Skynet

2011

January
Thanos (Marvel)

February
Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four)

March
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez

April
Lord Zedd

May
Magneto

June
Cthulhu (Lovecraft)

July
Shredder (1987 TMNT)

August
None

September
Cobra Commander

October
None

November
None

December
None

2012

January
Doctor Doom (Marvel)

February
Lucifer (Dante's Inferno)

March
Vilgax

April
Peter Stegman

May
Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal)

June
President Coriolanus Snow

2013

February
Dominic Greene

September
Chase Young

December
Benjamin Willis

2014

May
Kyuubey
Geese Howard
Horace Pinker

July
Kurumi Tokisaki

August
Grand High Witch

September
James Moriarty

October
Koba

November
B.P. Richfield

December
Judge Claude Frollo

2015

January
The Grinch

February
Darth Nihilus

March
Darkseid (DC)

April
Fallen Hana

May
Dick Dastardly

June
Francis Dolarhyde

July
Nyarlathotep (Lovecraft)

August
Pamela Voorhees

September
Frieza

October
Agatha Trunchbull

November
The Beldam

December
Santa Clause

2016

January
Randall Flagg

February
Alex (A Clockwork Orange)

March
Yog-Sothoth

April
Esdeath

May
Count Dracula (Bram Stoker)

June
Jerome Valeska

July
Lord Shen

August
Bill Cipher

September
Tate Langdon

October
Oogie Boogie

November
Dr. Venom

December
Krampus (Krampus)

2017

January
Joker (Nolanverse)

February
Lust

March
Lubdan

April
Sauron (Middle-earth)

May
Aku

June
General Grievous

July
Norman Osborn (Marvel)

August
Jaws (007)

September
It (Stephen King)

October
Ridley (Metroid)

November
Venom (Marvel)

December
Stripe

2018

January
Frank the Rabbit

February
Queen of Hearts (Disney)

March
Bowser

April
Bebop and Rocksteady

May
Ainz Ooal Gown

June
Father (Fullmetal Alchemist)

July
Thulsa Doom

August
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