It always happens in these cases of pack journalism.
We learn far more than we ever need to know about trivial things and far less about the important stuff.
Case in point: We now know that Edward Snowden‘s girlfriend calls herself a “pole-dancing superhero” and that she’s a compulsive selfie. We’ve also discovered that she’s a blogger who uses ultra-flowery language that would embarrass an emotionally overwrought high school sophomore.
For instance, the girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, wrote the other day, “My world has opened and closed all at once. Leaving me lost at sea without a compass…. Surely there will be villainous pirates, distracting mermaids, and tides of change in this new open water chapter of my journey.”
Yikes! No wonder Snowden took it on the lam halfway around the world.
Dangerous Disney Characters
The inspiration behind this ejaculation of purple prose is the furor surrounding Snowden’s revelation that it was he who blew the whistle on the US National Security Agency’s data harvesting programs that are either:
- The realization of our worst nightmares that George Orwell’s fictional “1984” has become fact
- No big deal.
Funny thing is, even Snowden’s name seems to have sprung from the keyboard of a bodice-ripping romance novelist. And then Edward kissed me, his masculine yet gentle lips brushing against mine, his strong yet sensitive arms holding me close, then letting me go long before I wished for freedom from them. He stroked my tear-stained cheek and said ‘Farewell, my darling.’ With nary another word, he picked up his valise and walked out of my life forever.
BTW: Mills actually employed one of those lacrimose images when she told the world that she was typing on a “tear-stained keyboard” in the wake of Edward’s escape from the federal government’s spooks this month.
Well, hell, there are millions of emo-junkie bloggers and poets in this world and I don’t mean to belittle them and Lindsay Mills (well, not too much) but there’s only one Edward Snowden. We still know far too little about him and, far more importantly, we know next to nothing about the clandestine operations he has revealed.
And that’s precisely why I haven’t yet figured out whether I should be up in arms about this whole affair or just chalk it all up to the Republicans once again trying to sully the image of our first foreign-born, communist president.
One voice in my head sez that I don’t like the idea of fed spooks listening in on each and every one of my communications, up to and including the voices in my head. The overriding concern of guys in power is to stay in power and they’ll use every sneaky trick in the book to remain there. If that means my Constitutional right to privacy isn’t worth the parchment it’s written on, then that’s the way it’s going to be.
On the other hand, what kind of rational observer can expect to keep her or his electronic transmissions a secret in this day and age of Google and Facebook where, for instance, we can learn instantaneously the progress of the bowel functions of public officials who’ve undergone recent appendectomies. Look, Walmart, PepsiCo, and ConAgra know more about you and me than any army of government moles and plants could ever find out.
Everybody’s Doing It
Here are the two extremes of reaction to PRISM and other hijinks committed by the secret agents of the United States of America:
- At this very moment, a government spy is listening in on my call to my doctor’s office to schedule an appointment regarding my ingrown toenail
- The democratically-elected officials of this great land would never, ever violate my sacred rights.
Holders of either stance are delusional.
Some 310 million people live in this holy land. They send more than 10 billion text messages daily. The number of phone calls we make each day also numbers in the billions. It would take at least 310 million spies to monitor our daily typed or verbal chats with Aunt Debbie, the gas company, and the chick who works in the cubicle down the hall whom we’re convinced is hot for us.
So, yeah, the feds aren’t listening analog-ically (now there’s a tortured coinage for you) but, apparently, they’ve developed sinister logarithms that can cull the bad guys out from among us, simply by highlighting key words and phrases. Then an individual can be assigned to listen to a potential terrorist’s rants and raves for a few weeks or months.
I call them sinister because, conceivably, a naïf such as I could inadvertently type the word-combo angry, explosive, god, and federal building in the same message and be put on a terrorist watch list. Then the bastards would be able to learn all about my ingrown toenail.
To that end, my radical lawyer pal Jerry Boyle has passed along a helpful faux message we all can type, in part or in toto, into our smart phones or on Facebook, just to mess with The Man. Here it is:
Hey! How’s it going? I’m all right.
My job is so shitty I wish could overthrow my boss. It’s like this oppressive regime where only true believers in his management techniques will stay around. I work marathon-length hours and he’s made all these changes that have made it the worst architecture firm to work at in Manhattan. Like he moved the office to the Financial District and fired my assistant. She was the only one who knew where the blueprints were! I need access to those blueprints to complete my job! F my life, right? And he keeps trying to start all these new initiatives to boost revenue, but seriously we just need to stick to what we do best. There’s only one true profit center. I seriously feel ready to go on strike at any second.
I just read this article about how these free radical particles can cause the downfall of good health and accelerate aging. These could actually cause death to millions of Americans. If these particles are flying around undetected everywhere, does that mean we’re all radicalized?
Have you seen the second season of Breaking Bad? I just finished it. I couldn’t believe that episode where they poison the guy with ricin! That was the bomb! I won’t say any more because I don’t want to reveal the earth-shattering events to come.
Oh! So I’ve been planning a big trip for the summer. I’m thinking of visiting all of the most famous suspension bridges in the United States. So probably like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Brooklyn Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I’m gonna bring my younger brother and I know he’ll want to go to bars, so I’m thinking of getting him a fake drivers license, but I hope that doesn’t blow up in my face.
Okay, I gotta run! I’m late for flight school. I missed the last class where we learn how to land, so I really can’t miss another one. Talk to you later!
Heehee! It’s chock-full of just about every alarm-bell word or concept that might give any good NSA desk jockey a case of raging priapism. Let’s all do it! Then we’ll all be a nation of suspects. As is the case with any label, if everyone’s a suspect, no one’s a suspect.
Secret Agent Man