"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
Conversations on Vendetta
Exclusive to STR
Her: I never thought a weblog would be so much . . . research.
Him: What do you mean?
Her: Well, it's just that I have these things I want to say about the movie, but I need to make sure they are accurate. I don't want people to think . . . to think . . . .
Him: You want to be accurate because it adds credulity, and you want people who read it to take you seriously.
Her: Yeah! But now I'm not sure I should post it all. Maybe I should just post a 'Hey it's great you should go see it'.
Him: Why's that?
Her: Well, because I'm afraid that it might cause Someone to scrutinize my site, and with my business listed on there ... it might be enough of an excuse to shut me down.
Him: I understand. It's a tough decision because anything you enter on that site will get googled into perpetuity.
Her: And it's in my real name, I don't know if it is the right thing to do, or if I should just shut up. As you say, I can always have my thoughts, no matter what laws they pass.
Him: Well, there are people on both sides. You have folks who decide they simply want to survive, no matter what, and will keep absolute silent on what they think. So they don't say a word. They just live and look like anyone else. On the other end, you have people who yell and scream, and they do it under their real name because they want to add the credibility a real name has. They want their opinions shouted and they say, "look at me, this is me saying this, and I'm real, and I'm right here, I'm not afraid and I want you to hear this'. And then there are folks like me, who trumpet all kinds of shit on the internet, but do it under a pseudonym. It can't stop any determined group that wants to find me, because they will simply subpoena the ISP's records of our internet traffic. I don't think they even need a subpoena anymore, just letterhead. But it stops the casual snoop. But you have to decide which way you're going to go and stick with it. You can't back out once you do.
Her: I'm afraid of what it might mean for my family if someone does target me because of it.
Him: Yeah. I live with that every day.
Back when I was in college, there was a Hungarian professor. He taught German. I mean, I've met Germans who lived through the Nazis, but this guy was part of the Underground. He fought against them and eventually left his home because he hated what the Nazis were doing. And then there are the Germans who stayed quiet, like the ones I met in Dachau. There's a difference in their eyes. And when I met this professor and heard his background I could see there was a fire in his eyes that the silent ones lacked. There was something righteous or proud. I decided at that time which one I wanted to be. And if I do nothing else, I want a public record of my resistance to this crap. I want my kids to be able to pull up my Google records in 50 years and say, "Holy crap, Dad hated the government." I may not be able to do anything but yell and scream, but I want to be one of those counted as yelling and screaming. I don't want to be a Silent German with shame in my eyes of what I allowed to happen in my name, unopposed.
Her: Yeah. I'm just not sure what I should do.
Him: I think right now you're fairly safe. Bush has the lowest approval rating of any President in history, which means there are a lot of people bitching on the internet. Plus, opening weekend will be filled with people spouting stuff about this movie. You'll be a face in the crowd, but it will be the crowd opposing what's happening. Now, if in six months he arranges something to blow up, they repeal term limits, his approval jumps up into the 80's and he gets a third term, okay, maybe time to shut up for a while. But right now I think you'll be fine. Personally I think you should do it.
Her: What if something happens?
Him: Well, it's something to deal with. But I sincerely doubt they will do that. They really aren't concerned too much about people spouting on the internet. If you're busy talking, you're not busy doing. You know?
Her: Oh. Yeah, I see.
Him: Sure, every year they find someone to make an example of, they grab a tax protestor and publicly bar-be-cue him, and they grab some free speech proponent and they disappear him, but that's all just fear-mongering; just examples to get people to shut up. They are far more concerned with the folks actually doing stuff than someone writing reviews of subversive movies. So I think you'll be fine. And beside, I'm pretty sure you won't say anything worse than what I've been spouting for years.
Her: I don't know. It's just so crazy that I even have to think about it this way.
Him: Only in America .
Only in America.