Bigfoot no like Edward Snowden


Yes, it’s true, I read a David Brooks column today, about my new hero, Edward Snowden.

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?

Apparently not:

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.

19 thoughts on “Bigfoot no like Edward Snowden

    • This is my favorite part of Brooks: “He betrayed the cause of open government. Every time there is a leak like this, the powers that be close the circle of trust a little tighter. They limit debate a little more.”

      Because nothing says open government and a loose “circle of trust” like secretly spying on your entire population.

      • Probably these kinds of incidents make it harder for the likes Brooks, hitherto in the “circle of trust”–it’s their access that gets tightened. The great thing–I hope–about these leaks, apart from giving professional journalists a run for their money, is that it makes the government more paranoid; paranoid not just of the rubes but of its own seemingly loyal servants.

        • My bad! Brooks himself anticipates this:

          [Snowden] betrayed his friends. Anybody who worked with him will be suspect. Young people in positions like that will no longer be trusted with responsibility for fear that they will turn into another Snowden.

          Great! Who the fuck is going to build and maintain their IT fortresses, their surveillance networks then?

  1. I had not read a Richard Cohen column in a decade. Why would I? But yesterday, like Dickie Lee in “Laurie,” a strange force drew me to the graveyard of journalism that is the Washington Post and Cohen’s column. I couldn’t read the whole thing. Cohen’s writing is like an eclipse – you could damage your eyes if you gazed at it too long. But suffice it to say that in a just world, Richard Cohen will be bitten to death on his inadequate li’l hunt-and-pecker by fire ants .

  2. Christ, they’re disgusting. And I KNOW if the subject of Snowden ever comes up among my brain-dead buddies, Brooks is going to be quoted. It’s hopeless, I tell you; you might as well give over your blog to chicken recipes.

  3. It’s interesting how “crowd source” gets used by the legacy media in re: the “Youtube phenomenon”. More than a throwaway use of trendy jargon I think it points to a subconscious recognition DIY journalism is a real threat to the newspaper business (not to mention television entertainment). A desperate, vain attempt to use a verbal device to appropriate (“source”) content they neither generated nor have any control over.

  4. So, Smiff… what’d I tell ya’ about that Cohen piece? Had yourself a little Hot Dog Burp Of Disgust, no doubt. I sure did.

    While it wasn’t a complete opinion piece, there was a prize piece of Mika Brzezinski snark on Morning Joe yesterday; during the usual round of babble on what a horrible person Snowden is, the Ice Queen made some crack about “not giving away our playbook”.

    I learned long ago not to feel bad when the punditocracy shits its drawers over people like Ellsberg, Manning, or Snowden. I realized that when clowns like Brooks, Cohen and Brzezinski bust a bloodvessel like that, it’s cause for hand-rubbing gleeful rejoicing.

    “Oh, sorry, Mr. Cohen, what was that…? Your what hurts?”

  5. Love your closing shot about the Washington Post and the NYT. I love how the boss media report on the imminent demise of printed daily newspapers and magazines as if it were a bad thing… while those of us who know the score — that is, who haven’t lived in caves for the past thirty or forty years — can’t see that day come soon enough.

  6. Thank you to the posters above.
    I skipped the Brooks and Cohen pieces and just enjoyed the well-crafted snark.
    Of course our court jesters are genuinely enraged. It is painful for them to have their meritocratic pretensions exposed and to be reminded what a human being with courage and integrity actually looks like.
    And perhaps there is something broader at work too. Parts of the knowledge worker class are paid not for the knowledge they create, but for the unknowing that they model and spread. And the higher they rise within the knowledge worker class, maybe even high enough to kiss the hems of our noble overlords, the more this is true. And hiding this is the absolute prime directive for the unknowing class. If it is exposed, there is no reason left for the overlords to toss them the juiciest of the table scraps. So for them, truth and someone who models telling it is an existential threat.

  7. To be honest, it’s disconcerting to me that the authors in question seem to be but the beltway press’ version of the Kardashians: paid entirely too much attention by those who think they get far too much attention.

    On the brighter side, “mephitic” translates as both verpestet and übelriechend, both fine flavors of poisonousness.

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