John Young on Mon, 15 Nov 2010 12:29:17 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Steve Coll: Leaks (The New Yorker)

Jealousy is the lifeblood of ambition, Assange is a victim, and
who is not?

Sorry to say Brian, for you customarily offer unusually trenchant
commentary, your comments indicate a lack of awareness of the diverse
and multiple forums which offer material similar, and in many cases
superior, to that of Wikileaks -- offered long before as well as after
its inititation.

The leaks conceit of Wikileaks is deliberate, better known as
"breaking news," attention getting, the Wiki as false as democracy,
the promise of openness never fulfilled due to security needs of the

What is unique about Wikileaks is its publicity capability and for
that it deserves credit to bring to a non-institutional initiative,
thanks to the momentarily cheap Internet megaphone, the slick
braggardy well known as the key element for the "reputation,
responsibility and trustworthyiness" of big institutions from their
origin millennia ago.

Promoting established institutions is what the media -- journalism,
publishing, entertainment, advertising -- were invented to do by
creating the illusion that individuals have a say in "what's going
on." But never invited into the sanctums where decisions are made
about the means and methods for promulgating illusions.

All this has been said tiresomely (arch ouch) overmuch. So what else
is new about Wikileaks type initiatives that the hullabaloo can

One is to contain enthusiasm, if you will, about the uniquenss of
Wikileaks. It is not unique in the content it provides: there is
much more and better available by less celebrated means and methods,
once called research, reflection and reassement, continually done,
even non-institutionally, perhaps that most so, not reduced to
crowd-arousing bombshells in which the tiniest of comment is

viralized to thousands of sites -- try it: post anything with the
word Wikileaks in its title and watch it richochet in synapases of

To advance the much larger body of material it would be useful to
develop a battery of such socio-political-rich words which would
assure attention to an inititiative that might be otherwise swamped by
orchestrated viralization, ie, advertising. "Che" once did that, as do
"Obama" and "Assange" now, albeit somewhat smeared by assholes unable
to dream of less than godlike perfection.

Your point about jealous of other blogs has become a knee-jerker that
shows ignorance, well, lack of appreciation, of other initiatives
which have not been catapulted to the media stage where nearly every
commentator derives daily doses of inspiration to get off ass and be
"a player." Which means worthy of paying attention to. How to get from
being a non-entity to being a player is what Assange has demonstrated.
Not enough attention has been paid to how he imagined Wikileaks for
that, although a lot of superficial reporting has been done on the
person and personality of Assange.

Assange is more complicated and inscrutable than he has been
caricatured to be -- ie, mediaized. But then so are all heroes
manufactured in that mold and buried in that sarcophagus.

Agreed that much better analysis is needed for those who yearn for
that comfort food never available on blogs and the daily beasts.
Better than analysis though is to do more of what Wikileaks does
to get forbidden information into public hands, minds and hearts,
unanalyzed, and most crucially unmediated. That might mean fighting
the mediaized Internet addiction, say, for a day or two a week,
gradually assemble your own material and formulate its significance --
and do not rush to post the drivel, ponder, reassemble, exchange it
quietly, redo, rejigger, reflect, sit on it.

Arguing about fucking Wikileaks has led me to write more bombast
in the past six months than in the previous 14 years, as you can
readily see, and curtailed research and publication of unanalyzed
materials. The issue is infectious and induces Mailer's advertisements
for himself.

The Wikileaks initiative is now in grave danger of being destroyed
by the attention Assange yearned for and assumed would be easy to
handle. He is its Achilles heel. Not the first time that has happened,
again merely look at the over-celebrated who are over-loaded with our
cowardly aspirations that they do for us what we are too lazy or inept
to do for ourselves, everready to blame the socio-political gods that
failed, everready to vote in Time's Persons of the Year proffered by
manipulative authoritatives.

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