Always Watching

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You might think a nation so thoroughly identified with the surveillance state would want to downplay that association when they open themselves up to the entire world. Yet for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the UK has chosen as its mascot a pair of ghastly Cyclopean abominations, essentially giant camera-lens eyeballs placed atop teardrop-shaped bodies. This duo, Wenlock and Mandeville, were supposedly inspired by droplets of steel like those used in the construction of the Olympic stadia; however, with the merchandise already running off the assembly lines including not just stuffed dolls — soon to creep out children worldwide — but also a Viewfinder showing the pair joining hands in surveillance, the message is clear: we are watching you.

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