Stop Calling Google 'Big Brother'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over the course of my Sears Holdings (SHLD) coverage (the biggest bombshell was dropped Tuesday, by the way), I have had a handful of people basically refer to me as an unpatriotic communist for, as one emailer put it, "filleting" Sears.

The way people sort -- or not -- their ideals sometimes baffles me.

It's somehow unAmerican to call out an American company that, whether intentional or not, shows outright disdain and complete disregard for the communities it operates in, but it's perfectly fine for the corporation to give up on the American people, their employees and themselves.

I'll never be able to comprehend that miscarriage of logic.

I agree with what TheStreet's Jim Cramer said on Twitter (TWTR): Shame these retailers into shaping up. This is a bigger deal than it might appear on the surface. I'll flesh that angle out in an article later this week on TheStreet.

But on the miscarriage of logic -- the same Americans who have an issue with me trashing retailers (who have already trashed and disgraced themselves) seem to have no problem taking shots at Starbucks (SBUX), Amazon.com (AMZNApple (AAPL) and other tech names. And they're perfectly fine making the absurd accusation that, on the basis of its acquisition of Nest, Google (GOOG) further assumes the role of a menacing "big brother."

Here's a societal ideal I do understand -- many Americans tend to have a predisposition to support the underdog, even indefensible ones such as Sears, and tear down the successful. In one breath, we cry about losing our edge to foreign countries, but we're at the ready to take down the nation's most innovative and game-changing names. Even if these companies -- Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, Google -- impact our lives, profoundly, every minute of every day.

We want them to service us, but we're just as willing to take them for granted and, in some cases, cut them up.

To refer to Google as "big brother" is an insult. And it shows ignorance. It also misuses the term.

I've been through the rebellious college phase. And I still fully understand the notion that the moment you fall asleep at the wheel and allow power to concentrate in a handful of places, you become increasingly vulnerable. But the notion that Google is erecting an empire so it can access our "private" information and watch over us for sinister purposes is just absurd.

Because that's the connotation that goes part and parcel with the notion of "big brother," isn't it?

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