Ernestine Tests the New New Thing

While completing a PB post on Gore Vidal, I immediately recalled the old Laugh-In sketch with Lily Tomlin as Ernestine the Telephone Operator calling Mr. Veedle (widely assumed at the time, 1969, to point to the infamous Mr. Vidal) to discuss his phone bill. It provided a nice close to that post, but it also stimulated an interesting tangential thought. Take three minutes to listen to the YouTube of Tomlin’s sketch.

Did you catch all those privacy violations of personal information? Tomlin as Ernestine menaces Mr. Veedle with facts from his banking and investment accounts as well as his 1965 IRS return! In other words, everyone joked in 1969 that the telephone company knew everything about you and would use that to secure the unpaid balance of $23.64 or else send a burly fellow to the house to collect.

It’s 1969 and we’re in the Summer of Love, the Beatles are together and making Abbey Road, Richard Nixon is President, we’re fighting overseas . . . in Viet Nam, GM is making Oldsmobile’s, Neil Armstrong is on the Moon, babes are wearing miniskirts and, can’t forget, everyone is smoking! Now. Flash forward 43 years and wonder about all that Big Data being collected on you from the Internet. If Big Marketing and Big Tech back were invading our privacy then, how much more privacy can they invade today?

But what about all that New New Thing today with Big Data and Big Analysis? Evil Marketing and Evil Technology had computers, databases, and stat routines back then, too.

Think about it. The New New Thing is just the Old Old Thing except no one nowadays wears paisley bell bottoms, smokes Camels, or shows a lot of leg at the office.

Get Back. Get Back to where you once belonged.