Saturday, December 11, 2010

WikiPiques: Let’s All Just Calm Down

The pariah du jour to the United States and the countries who do business with it is one Julian Assange, a soft-spoken Australian whose motives may be obscure but whose life work is pretty clear. The founder of WikiLeaks, Assange is the whistleblower’s whistleblower, enabling the disclosure of anything in digital form — which, in the age of the Internet, is everything.

The drama to marginalize/silence/demonize Assange is playing out like a (bad) Hollywood script, but the stakes — to commerce, to free speech, to the freedom of the Internet — are quite real. It’s a good time to take a deep breath.

While critics portray Assange as the sort of caricature you’d expect to see as Batman’s arch nemesis he actually hews more to the suave Bond villain (sex scandal and all) — an international man of mystery whose calm demeanor is incongruous with a determination to blow things up.

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