What did we learn this week?
Unfortunately, so are the ugly-lookin’ headlines.
1. Apparently, WE CAN’T TRUST ANYONE ANYMORE, you guys, and I’m not talking about Michael Douglas here. Remember Obama08? That guy who was all about transparency? He was so cute. Alas, he bears little resemblance to this Obama13 we got now, his shiftier doppleganger. OR maybe he’s been that way all along, OR maybe he’s still the good guy. Everyone’s cynical-o-meter is being tested hardcore ‘cuz of this: overnight Wednesday into Thursday this week (US time) the British paper The Guardian dropped some top secret drama-drama about our National Security Agency forcing Verizon to put up and shut up and hand over our phone records, no warrant required. And the reality that our data’s not our own.
(PS. It’s actually been going on for yee-ears. Even though the NSA is technically only supposed to do surveillance on “foreign communications” and this be about good ol’ Americans, many degrees removed from terrorists.) And then this happened: this utterly creepy article suggests that a looooot more companies than just Verizon are in on the action. Like Apple. And Skype. And Google. And YouTube. But our government wouldn’t… like… do anything bad with all our info, right?
You and I, who don’t want to be conspiracy theorists, will wanna roll our eyes at this whole thing because we remain vigilantly opposed to anything that sounds like conspiracy theory. This very smart lawyer guy would agree. Go us. But when does that vigilance actually mean we’re amassing one giant blind spot around the subject of our hard-earned (by other people) freedoms? Like the freedom to communicate with whomever we like, whenever we like, about whatever we like, without fear that our own government (who we’ve theoretically elected to protect our best interests, one easily forgets) is using our info against us.
I mean… we’re not Turkey.
2. Yep, also filed under “sudden burst of headlines” is the tear-gas drenched social media enslaught that finally outted a story about Turkey’s wayward government getting all up in its citizens’ business. First it was about trees: there aren’t enough in Istanbul but the government was all “meh, no one will notice if we bulldoze the last remaining park in the city.”
Then it was about a whole lot more, and people were arrested for what they posted on Twitter.
And the band plays on. From the Economist:
“The wave of unrest was completely unexpected. The protestors cut across ideological, religious and class lines. Many are strikingly young. But there are plenty of older Turks, many of them secular-minded, some overtly pious. There are gays, Armenians, anarchists and atheists. There are also members of Turkey’s Alevi Muslim minority. What joins them is the common sentiment that an increasingly autocratic Mr. Erdogan [Turkey’s Prime Minister] is determined to impose his worldview.”
Here’s a pretty fantastic play-by-play of what the protest feels like on the ground. And here’s a pretty fantastic curation of memes ‘cuz daaaamn have the protesters gotten creative (and damn do I enjoy a good meme).
3. Graduation speeches, Finnish babies, and deadly weddings, oh my! Here’s my three favorite viral bonbons from around the web this week:
Ex-Obama speechwriter and professional impressive person Jon Lovett gave this awesome speech about how to avoid adding to the bullshit heap. We could all use the reminder.
Babies in Finland are the luckiest ‘cuz they get a box of goodies upon birth. See?
And finally, I couldn’t resist:
Quote o’ the week:
- Erdogan’s Turkey: A Huge Melting Pot at Boiling Point (manupergolizzi.wordpress.com)
- A Letter to Verizon Customers (thedailysheeple.com)
- US’s tapping of Google, Apple, YouTube and Facebook user data fuels debate over privacy and security (independent.co.uk)