I love a good Bruce Sterling rant / essay / rambling all over the place critique. The Blast Shack on Wikileaks and its worldwide cultural / political ramifications is one of Bruce’s best in recent years, even if his thesis is a bit surprising coming out of the man who has in the past revered all things cyber & cypherpunk.
“The reason this upsets me is that I know so many people just like Bradley Manning. Because I used to meet and write about hackers, “crackers,” “darkside hackers,” “computer underground” types. They are a subculture, but once you get used to their many eccentricities, there is nothing particularly remote or mysterious or romantic about them. They are banal. Bradley Manning is a young, mildly brainy, unworldly American guy who probably would have been pretty much okay if he’d been left alone to skateboard, read comic books and listen to techno music.
Instead, Bradley had to leak all over the third rail. Through historical circumstance, he’s become a miserable symbolic point-man for a global war on terror. He doesn’t much deserve that role. He’s got about as much to do with the political aspects of his war as Monica Lewinsky did with the lasting sexual mania that afflicts the American Republic.”
Sit down and read the whole essay, even if you don’t agree with Bruce on many points. And if like me you are an annual regular at his SXSW free-for-all, you can hear his voice telling you his thoughts as you read The Blast Shack on the whole WikiLeaks v. the Superpower.