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Edward Snowden and the Death of Nuance 388

Trailrunner7 writes "As the noise and drama surrounding the NSA surveillance leaks and its central character, Edward Snowden, have continued to grow in the last few months, many people and organizations involved in the story have taken great pains to line up on either side of the traitor/hero line regarding Snowden's actions. While the story has continued to evolve and become increasingly complex, the opinions and rhetoric on either side has only grown more strident and inflexible, leaving no room for nuanced opinions or the possibility that Snowden perhaps is neither a traitor nor a hero but something else entirely."
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Edward Snowden and the Death of Nuance

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  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:10AM (#46108847)

    I can't say I've seen a non-editorial account in the Guardian or the Washington post that paints Snowden as a hero. Certainly not to the same extent that the NSA and GCHQ paint the very acknowledement of the documents' existence as treason. One side is stating cold, dry, unpleasant facts, while the other is engaged in a bunch of red-faced howling about traitors and national security.

  • Re:hero (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:28AM (#46108947)

    Not true, and not really relevant...

    Any traitor is seen from the point of view of the "victim" if the "victim" ends up winning....

    A "traitor" is somebody who breaks the trust of whomever has trusted him(or her) in order to give power to "another" entity...

    But s/he can do this for gain (bad traitor) or "the greater good as s/he sees it" (good traitor, if his part wins ...)

    And a "good traitor" might "go public" or not depending on the situation...

    I doubt very much that ES wanted to help any of the "currently declared enemies of the US"....
    So if General Alexanders would accuse him of being a "misguided useful idiot" he might have a point, accusing him of being a "traitor" is just a way of labeling him and doing character assassination ... probably because he absolutely knows that ES is not a traitor...

    This still does not necessarily makes him an hero, .... or not ...

  • He's Batman (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plover ( 150551 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:40AM (#46109023) Homepage Journal

    He's the villain Gotham needs today.

  • Re:hero (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:48AM (#46109099)

    I don't believe in heroes. For all I know Snowden is a complete shitheel as a person. Maybe he beats his girlfriend, hates The Eagles, and thinks Louis CK is overrated. That said, I do admire him for having the guts to reveal what was a clear government violation of the Constitution (in the only way that would actually result in any action), and sacrificing any future he might have in the U.S. to do it.

  • Re:hero (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @10:47AM (#46109827)

    The Greatest Generation was immensely proud that only the Bad Guys spied on their citizens. Communists, Nazis, and their filthy ilk.

    The main reason that the surviving members of that group haven't risen up and championed Snowden is that they cannot really believe that their shining ideal has become so tarnished.

  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @10:55AM (#46109933) Journal

    Nuance is out, and so seem to be reassessment and compromise.

    I'd certainly agree that is my impression of a lot of issues in the US - you seem to have two extremes with no middle ground and while I no longer live there it does seem from the outside that the problem is getting worse and not better. It exists elsewhere too but nowhere near to the same extent as the US. However with Snowden I think you have an issue that is very likely to force people to one side or the other.

    Snowden broke extremely serious laws and severely embarrassed the US government and damaged US reputation worldwide. He comes across as an intelligent person knowing full well exactly what he was doing and why so there is no possibility to claim that it was somehow inadvertent or he could not foresee the consequences. So either you have to really choose between whether or not he was justified in breaking the law and that pretty much forces you into one camp or the other....but that does not have to mean that your opinion is a "fixed belief" it just means there are few tenable middle positions for this topic.

    Too much news, too fast, the TV presenting them with headstrong showmen instead of analytical journalists

    You can also add to this the fact that with so many media sources to choose from you can select only the news and opinions that you want to hear so your opinion is never, or rarely challenged.

  • Re:This just in... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @10:57AM (#46109957)
    You know, a year ago, I'm sure the same author would have written "Edward Snowden and the Incremental Reduction of Nuance". But you know what's happened since then? Edward Snowden. Yeah, he just murdered nuance in plain sight. So now that nuance is dead, fuck it. Next time you write something, just fucking go for it. "Obama is Literally Skullfucking the Concept of Decency" is a perfectly appropriate headline for our post-Snowden, post-nuance times.
  • Re:hero (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Will.Woodhull ( 1038600 ) <> on Thursday January 30, 2014 @11:10AM (#46110115) Homepage Journal

    Among other things, Snowden has demonstrated that a traitor can be a hero, and that "traitor" and "patriot" are not mutually exclusive terms.

    One of the worst things that could happen right now is for Snowden to be brought to trial. There is no good outcome that could come of that. He is best left in legal limbo, his legal status undefined.

    The USA could try to strike a bargain with Snowden: give him back his passport and an ironclad promise not to extradite him or do any kind of "extraordinary rendition" in exchange for his agreement to never set foot in the USA or attempt to bring his case before a USA court. The ancient Greeks came up with the concept of ostracism for persons of Snowden's ilk. The USA should ostracise Snowden, and get on with the work of purging the NSA of those managers and policy makers who do not have the ethics needed in their positions of power, and cleaning up the mess those assholes have created.

  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @12:49PM (#46111355)

    I've heard through reliable sources in DC that the NSA specifically DOESN'T hire the smartest people. In fact, those who are "too smart" are passed over for promotions, awards, etc.

    Smart people tend ot figure out true right and wrong, and the NSA does not want that. The NSA wants loyal drones who will obey. Therefore we can conclude that NSA employees are staggeringly average in their intelligence but have some decent skills.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire