When did we decide we could own knowledge? Maybe I should rephrase that, when did knowledge become so dangerous to have? I mean sure, information and who owns it has always been a commodity. It’s just weird the pain staking lengths the 1% will go to to keep us dumb. I remember in high school, even slightly glancing at a book would make the average plebeian call you a “fagit” followed by a beating if you could name the writer.
I worked in TV for many years and trust me, there’s a war against intellect. Getting a sketch on TV that questions the use of fear to heard the masses = impossible. Getting something on TV that mentions seaman = Opening sketch (Which I co-wrote)! So you can see how it’s “weird” for me to see individuals bi-passing the gate keepers of said knowledge then being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Remember I grew up in a neighborhood where guys would wait for you to get off the book-mobile with pitch forks and torches.
Recently the U.S Solider Bradley Manning was charged with 22 offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy. Really, 22 offenses including aiding the enemy for letting the world know about the travesties and lies that have been committed by the U.S government in the name of freedom in the Iraq war? Wow, dude you should totally just wear a metal plate on your face and start calling yourself Cobra Commander because let’s face it Bradley, you’re pure evil.
Isn’t it a little extreme? I mean sure, he took classified information and exposed it to the public, but he did it for the public! He let all of us know what was really going on in a war that’s shifty at best and he gets prosecuted to the full extent of the law? Well if the crime involves the public, shouldn’t the public be involved with the outcome of the case? It’s as if these elected representatives of the people think the people can only handle responsibility if Simon Cowell, text voting, and a desk that lights up are involved.
Then there’s former National Security Agency analyst, Edward Snowden, who’s currently living in exile in Russia (That seems like a progressive place) where he has temporary asylum simply because he let the world know via the news that the NSA was spying on citizens by recording phone calls, texts, and emails. Technically Snowden isn’t a whistle blower. You see, while federal whistle blower status theoretically protects government employees who reveal wrongdoing, Snowden has been targeted by the US government which does not consider him a whistle blower. Ever wonder why there’s a lack of real journalists? I know, because they’ll have to hide away in RUSSIA. No thank you, I kinda like vodka, can deal with fur but am not a big fan of homophobia. It’s just easier to read the press release the White House sent out and collect my check at the end of the week. Hey, a school shooting! Look, a celebrity is in court! What were we talking about again?
Aaron Swartz, co-creator of REDDIT and the young man who hung himself after facing the possibility of 35 years in prison, did so because he published free text books online from M.I.T. Why did he commit such a heinous crime that would get him more time then the average sex offender? Because he believed that information and knowledge should be for everyone, not just for the ones who can afford it. Jesus Christ, how did we ever let this criminal mastermind walk free amongst us for so long?
All these prosecutions because of information. Personally I think in the next Oceans 11 they should be breaking into an Indego. George Clooney and the boys can lift the their McGuffin prize from the precious young adult section late at night and then, for the last scene of the movie, we watch them all take their copies of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and go their separate ways.
In all honesty, I look at people who risk their lives to get information to people like these men did as nothing short of being a hero. These are important people who clearly are revolutionaries. If it’s one thing we as a people can learn from the punishments of Snowden, Manning, and Shwartz, it is the importance of information and knowledge. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to look past the intellectual junk food heaped upon us on daily basis to see that.
But in the meantime….
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!