October 17, 2013

Fucked, Baby

I originally wrote the following as an email to a few friends. But, because I love you all so much, I decided to share it with you. I'm in kind of a "what the hell" mood. For background on the general subject matter, you might want to read my recent critiques of Greenwald & Co.: "When Whistleblowing Is Obedience and Tribute to the State," and "Dissidence, and Dissidents, that Even Hollywood Can Love."

And who knows. Perhaps if enough people express skepticism of this kind (and/or for reasons of their own), the keepers of the Snowden secrets will move much more quickly, and we'll be deluged with NSA and surveillance stories a month from now.

Dream on, baby.

So here's my private email, published for your pleasure, edification, self-torture, what the fuck ever.

Love, Me


A number of things continue to stink and/or mystify about this GG/eBay shebang.

According to Rosen, GG & Co. and Omidyar have only been talking for a couple of weeks. The stories make clear that this new venture is still in the early embryonic stage. And what they want to do -- what Omidyar thinks is absolutely necessary -- is an all-encompassing news, entertainment, sports, EVERYTHING kind of deal, a full-service site where all needs and desires will be fulfilled. (Gee, will they have a personals section, too? Learn stuff, engage in "meaningful protest" AND fuck! Truly heaven on earth.)

Even if they work on it 24 hours a day, it's gotta take at least a few months to get everything in place, and probably longer. A couple of months runs smack into the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Since the U.S. market is obviously critical, that's a very bad time to launch a major new site. And they probably couldn't get it done that quickly anyway. (Just think of the number of staff people, writers, editors, graphics designers, tech issues, etc., etc. that have to be developed, tested, and so on.)

So we're into next year. At the very earliest, it seems to me we're talking about late January-February. GG's book is scheduled for publication in March. The publisher could move it up by a couple of weeks if it really wanted to -- and I think this is the kind of situation where it might want to.

Thusly and therefore: it appears to me that there might be a few dribbles of Snowden stories between now and then -- but essentially nothing new will come out until the book is published (and the movie deal is well in place and already being written, for the movie folk probably will have had the ms for a couple of months by then). In other words: the Snowden stories will come close to stopping altogether for four to six months. In fact, that process has already begun. We're only getting the occasional dribble now.

Whatever else one might say, the Snowden leak is clearly not a matter of any urgency -- at least it isn't to GG & Co. Also: how does one simultaneously argue that a series of stories is MIND-SHATTERINGLY SIGNIFICANT AND WORLD-CHANGING -- and justify holding onto major parts of it for the better part of a year?

This whole thing is incredibly fucked. You could argue pretty convincingly at this point that it was the business plan that came first -- and they decided they needed a good "hook." The Snowden leak was the hook, but the business plan was the real deal.

I don't think it actually happened that way (probably) -- but the point is, it doesn't matter. Given how it's playing out, and given the impact the Snowden leak will have -- and more importantly, will NOT have -- it might as well have happened that way.

What's the line just before someone is murdered? "It's nothing personal. It's just business."

Just business. You don't get to be a multibillionaire and one of the richest people on the planet by forgetting about business. Ever. You also don't get to be Omidyar by seriously threatening the powers that be. C'mon: Omidyar IS one of the powers that be.

Like I said: well and truly fucked.