It didn’t really take eight hours to read; it just seemed that way. And then, prompted by comrade Mike Flugennock, I gluttoned my punishment, or punished my glutton, and read another column, by somebody named Richard Cohen, in that strange sad little provincial paper, the Washington Post. So I’ve been Bigfooted to a fare-thee-well today.
What struck me very strongly about these two Jeremiads — and a few others I dipped into — was how intensely, personally, furious and outraged and spiteful the writers were toward Snowden.
Here’s a little sample from Brooks — but really, you have to read the whole thing; you’d have no idea, otherwise, how wildly demented this story has made him:
[Snowden] could not successfully work his way through the institution of high school. Then he failed to navigate his way through community college.
He has not been a regular presence around his mother’s house for years. When a neighbor in Hawaii tried to introduce himself, Snowden cut him off and made it clear he wanted no neighborly relationships.
So far the writer is more or less in control of his iPad, or whatever, though the reference to Mom suggests that danger lurks ahead. But then the word salad course is served:
[Snowden] appears to be a product of one of the more unfortunate trends of the age: the atomization of society, the loosening of social bonds, the apparently growing share of young men in their 20s who are living technological existences in the fuzzy land between their childhood institutions and adult family commitments.
… a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society
Whoa! You mean the kids are not all right, David?
Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.
But really, read the whole thing. It’s beyond belief. Every word is a gem. Unlike poor B-teamer Cohen, weltering in the mephitic swamps of the Potomac estuary. His best line:
I think [Snowden will] go down as a cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood.
These are angry men, eh? Why, I wonder? It goes beyond politics and well into the personal.
Of course the politics is obvious enough: there’s a clear elite consensus that the public needs to be very thoroughly policed. The elites have some very nasty stuff in store for us — nastier even than what we’ve seen so far — and they’re well-informed enough to know that people sometimes get unruly under that kind of treatment.
But ordinarily Bigfeet like Brooks and Cohen would take the high ground of instrumental rationality in discussing these matters. They’d do the standard one-handjob, other-handjob, and make it all sound very thought-out and sensible — as long as you don’t examine the premises, and who ever does?
But Snowden has gotten under their skin; they’re writhing, frothing, chewing the carpet, speaking in tongues, beskiting their breeches, setting their hair on fire and running bare-tit down the street.
Here’s my theory: These Bigfeet love their access. They love being told things ‘off the record’ which they can’t reveal. They actually love keeping secrets more than telling secrets, though the latter is, in theory, their job. They are in fact an important part of the Disinformation Sector, and they love the importance a lot more than they mind the disinformation.
So along comes Snowden — who, by the way, must remind them of the cocky insolent young IT guy who patronizes them when they can’t remember their password. Snowden eats their nominal lunch — breaks a huge story in an upstart publication. All of a sudden Bigfoot is playing catchup to this unheard-of nobody, who clearly knows what he’s talking about while they, equally clearly, do not.
So the alter-kakers are reduced to moralistic blethering about the ‘social cement’ and so on, because they’ve got nothing. Nothing.
Except that they probably knew about this stuff all along, and helped conceal it from us.
I really, really cannot wait for the day when the New York Times and the Washington Post and the New Yorker — yes, the New Yorker — meet the fate of Brontosaurus. I hope I live to see it.