I still feel adrift about this story. Still, it seems like someone pointing out things that were already well-known and having everyone act as if it’s new information. This isn’t a matter of the emperor wearing no clothes and just now someone admits it. This is years of people saying “the emperor has no clothes” and finally someone says “look, I fake making clothes for the emperor” and that’s all of a sudden big news.
Plus, I remain nervous about his disappearing to Hong Kong in order to release this news. I mean, I know Hong Kong isn’t exactly China. And I respect that he is in fear of his life. And China is more our frenemy than some kind of USSR 2.0. But I find it absurd that Snowden thinks that Hong Kong is some bastion of civil liberties. I just don’t believe that he actually thinks that. So, if he didn’t go to Hong Kong for the civil liberties protections, why did he go there? Until I feel assured it wasn’t to share what he’s found with China before sharing it with the American people, I’m wary of treating him like a hero, even if I don’t feel confident that he’s some great enemy of the state. I just have mixed, ambivalent feelings about him.
But most of all, I’m completely stunned that people think most Americans are going to give a shit about this. Go back and look at every fucking piece of pop culture since 2002. We enjoy the fantasy of a government that can get into everything and follow us around electronically. And, frankly, just like CSI convinced a generation of juries that you should be able to get DNA in a few minutes and use facial recognition software to get a match instantly, Hollywood has convinced us that our government should be capable–for better or for worse–of instantly knowing everything about us This isn’t a matter of right or wrong, because we’ve been shown it being “right” and we’ve been show it being “wrong.” But in both cases, pop culture has been making the argument that this is a capability a government has, or should have.
People in this country might not want that power turned on them, but they are not going to give a shit about–and in fact, I’d argue, would actively support–it being used against “those” people.
And the disconnect between the people trying to make hay about this and that fact just irritates me so much. Though it should be, this isn’t obviously wrong. And I wish people would do a better job of articulating just what’s wrong with it.