Sometimes the only way to capture the essence, the beauty and the power of a work of art is to steal it. I've therefore decided to steal my daughter Celia's article on the hacking of Sarah Palin's e-mail and make it a guest-column at this time.
— Barry Farber
I rarely partake in either political discussions or mob rage, but what has transpired with the Palin “hacker,” and Gawker, is to my mind the very dead end, the very suicide, of the media cogniscenti, of anybody who touches it with a bargepole, or pretends it is anything short of a lynching of everything this country aims to stand for.
This is not “hacking.” Hacking sounds kind of cute, like surfing, like something faintly nerdy and ingenious. No — the word is “surveillance,” and the cultures that invented it and perfected it were dictatorships, most of which have crumbled and fallen into the dust of history.
This is what secret police do — most famously the Stasi of the blessedly vanquished German Democratic Republic (GDR), whose stated goal was "to know everything" and who elevated surveillance and the violation of citizens’ privacy to pornographic heights.
They hold up their specks of Palin’s supposed malfeasance (ranging from trivial to indecipherable, compared to the wild crime exploited to obtain it) in tweezers under censors' lamps, snorting “aha!” and expecting us to be scandalized and impressed.
I don’t care what they found.
There is a line in the sand, on one side democracy, decency, freedom; on the other, fascism, indecency, slum, and terror. Gawker, and the media that remain enslaved by the myth of their legitimacy, have crossed the line. Whether Gawker broke the law is not as important as whether they broke everything else.
These are the people who would have us believe that their contempt for the Bush administration is largely rooted in the “destruction of civil liberites” in this country, post 9/11.
And I agreed with them — with the liberal left — on this. If America becomes a surveillance state, it ceases to be.
The terrors began with the PC thought police, the academic purges, the media assassinations . . . they continued through the Kenneth Starr inquisitions, and then again, in a new form, with the myriad civil liberties erosions after 9/11.
But time and again, people keep silent, so long as their team scores, seemingly not realizing that when freedom is eroded and nobody reacts, everybody loses, now or later.
“When they came for me there was no one left to speak out.”
Don’t take the bait of imagining this is about Sarah Palin, or this election. It’s about an elemental freedom of expression — the freedom to send and receive e-mail privately, for God’s sake.
Here you have the king dogs of media thinking it’s “reporting” to reprint criminally hacked e-mail, which is almost tantamount to announcing, Let’s have a full on surveillance state, where nobody is safe, where anybody’s private communications can wind up on global Web sites (and the “poster” will even earn royalties by the hit).
Did I miss it? Did the ACLU call for a massive boycott of Gawker and every other media outlet that is partaking in this rape of a citizen’s right to privacy?
As the British would say: Not bloody likely.
There is one thing I despise above all else on earth, and that is violation of privacy. I believe that to invade another person’s privacy is a form of murder — a medium for denigration.
I visited Gawker perhaps a dozen times over the past couple of years, trying to understand what the fuss was all about. I responded each time with the predictable sensations: Elevated attention, apprhension, dread. It’s “well written,” but so rigidly orthodox and post-PC conformist in everything it touches, you wish you could de-camp to Alaska and watch how a moose moves.
“This is fascism,” I said to myself. “This site, in spirit, and in essence, is fascist. It believes in the humiliation of the weak, the gang beating of everything strange, different, other.”
I kept my views to myself.
Now my un-expressed thought is confirmed, hideously.
I hope Obama comes out and denounces this, as strongly as he has ever denounced anything. This is the most important issue facing American society, outside of immediate survival: the concept of individual liberty, and the strongest possible resistance to fascism in all its modern guises, perhaps most urgently, media fascism, made so much easier by emerging technologies.
Let’s hope their smell jars, barber chairs, and hidden microphones some day become the fossilized artifacts of a sunken world, like the former Stasi headquarters in Berlin, now a museum for gawking tourists who simply can’t believe these freaks were ever so obsessed with the lives of others.
This piece was originally published at Dean's World (www.deanesmay.com) where Celia Farber is a contributor.
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