Edward Snowden: Comic Books and Video Games Inspired, Motivated Whistleblowing

The Advocate’s interview with Glenn Greenwald reveals a lot about the lawyer-turned journalist who broke the Edward Snowden NSA leaks. And in it, Greenwald explains that during a his lengthy interview with Snowden in Hong Kong he learned what inspired and motivated the twenty-something security expert to blow the whistle on the NSA’s surveillance programs:

It wasn’t Hegelian theories on power structures or Ron Paul rhetoric about privacy; it wasn’t Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals (Greenwald’s greatest influence) or Jeffersonian notions of government. It was comic books and video  games. “You have good guys who are forced to do difficult but good things,” Snowden said to Greenwald, a bit embarrassed.

Greenwald goes into more, explaining how his husband, David Miranda, opened his eyes to pop culture.

“It’s not a simplistic ideology. David is one of the most complex, intellectually curious, and sophisticated people I’ve ever met, and he’s the one who convinced me that being influenced by the moral dynamics of a comic book or video game is no less noble than being shaped by a novel or a book,” Greenwald reasons. “You can watch The Matrix and take it as an action movie, or you can delve into all its greater existentialist meanings. All of the narratives in these comic books are about these single individuals devoted to justice who have the willingness to be brave, who can defeat even the most powerful edifices of evil.”

Exactly. Comic books, video games, movies, and yes, even TV shows can influence, shape, and mold character and morals. Unfortunately, we don’t know which comic books and video games  affected Snowden. Greenwald didn’t ask!

Paging Dr. Wertham!

(more…)

Sarah Palin + Steampunk: Now That’s a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Steampunk–a style of dress and for some a way of life is based in the worlds of Jules Verne,  H.G. Wells,  Robert Anton Wilson and Alan Moore. Think an alternative  Victorian England  where steam power runs elaborately geared machines, women wear corsets and–as in The Wild, Wild West TV  series and its unfortunate cinematic remake–there’s a nutty villain and outrageous gadgets.

Now The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has transmuted into what could be called The Legs of  an Extraordinary Woman in the new comic book Steampunk Palin. And it’s not satire. But it does include  eight pin-ups, along with the most ridiculous confusing plot line (here below the spoiler alert) as I understand it from the review by Comics Alliance’s Chris Murphy who suffered through reading it–and worse yet through looking at the drawings. Chris, your eyes will stop bleeding soon, I promise. Bless you for your service to your country, nay, the world!

Somewhere in the near future, after a huge war makes the Earth’s oil dry up, politicians and policy makers  gather to figure out a new power source is needed.

Naturally being a big energy expert, Sarah Palin suggests steam power  to run the world’s generators,  as a replacement for  the now long gone oil. Because ya can’t have Tea Party with hot water, youbetcha!

And uh, you can’t have steam without heat and heat is made from generators run on what now? Steam?  But how to get steam to make more steam? Do you build huge distilleries to recycle the steam? but how do you get the energy to manufacture the steel and copper needed to build giant steam generators that…oh never mind, but you see why I am baffled?

*****************************SPOILER ALERT****************SPOILER ALERT*********************

So anyway, the energy conference is bombed by  the evil forces of Big Oil/Nuclear Energy (wait, I though the oil had all been destroyed in the war).

*Poof * When Steampunk Palin and Robama–yeah, clever that–Obama/Robama– and every one elses awakens, they have been rebuilt in to half human-half machines and Sarah’s breast seem to have truly become a fan boy (0r fan) girl fap fest.

But kudos to the artists that Sarah doesn’t shake down her up-do and take off her glasses to gain even more super powers.

The weirdest part is that the Evil Mastermind Mad Villain behind the oil/nukes profit machine and has his bad guys fight Sarah’s army of good guys (it’s all relative)  is actually Al Gore.  Okay that definitely makes this  an alternative universe. For most people reading this, an alternative universe is one where Gore won the 2000 election; DOMA was repealed and ENDA passed; the genders of people marrying was no longer an issue; the war was over; health insurance was affordable and.. and, too.

Then the Russian start a war on the border with Alaska! Naturally in the end, aided by both Robama and a spare parts-rebuilt version of John McCain (the cyborg building team fixed up his bad arm an gave him a metal one to go with his medals! How thoughtful),  Sarah’s  bipartisan alliance wins against the army (somehow her robot body controls a her own robot army-insert “twiddle knobs/push her button jokes here), and she poses for those pin up drawings. Then makess herself a nice cup of  red-blooded, all American tea. (Okay, I made that last senten up).

Oh and while we’re on the subject of alternative history genres and smash-ups, this summer will bring us COWBOYS VS ALIENS, directed by John Favreau, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. Fer realz.


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