Lululemon's New 'Home Gym' is Straight Out of '1984'
In the modern world, privacy is increasingly disappearing in exchange for convenience and personalization, and the older and more paranoid among us have had to learn to accept it. You probably have at least one device monitoring your heart rate right now, sending that data to Zuckerberg knows who. People track their menstrual cycles on their phones as if they're not even a little afraid of things going all Handmaid's Tale. Inside just about every work of dystopian fiction lurks something similar to what you can get right now at the Sharper Image, but Lululemon went directly on the nose with their new "home gym" system:
A mirror-like device that hangs on your wall and commands you to take physical action? Unless you slept through freshman English, you've heard that before.
The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall.
That's how George Orwell describes the telescreen that hangs in every Party member's home in 1984. Sure, the telescreen is mostly used to monitor Party members' activities and broadcast propaganda, but it's also used to force them to work out, possibly the cruelest mandate Big Brother enforces.
Winston sprang to attention in front of the telescreen, upon which the image of a youngish woman, scrawny but muscular, dressed in tunic and gym-shoes, had already appeared. 'Arms bending and stretching!' she rapped out. 'Take your time by me. ONE, two, three, four! ONE, two, three, four! Come on, comrades, put a bit of life into it! ONE, two, three four! ONE two, three, four!'
And much like MIRROR, which gives you "real-time feedback and personal shout-outs to keep you motivated" and offers "1:1 expert instruction," it can see you.
'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! THAT'S better, comrade.'
Of course, that's only a small part of the telescreen's iron grip on the lives of the characters of 1984, and there's no evidence that the company founded by Chip Wilson is going to use the device to spy on and control an increasingly disenfranchised population. But if anyone was going to launch a corporate-sponsored coup, you wouldn't bet against him.
Maybe just watch YouTube videos for free.
Top image: Lululemon