South by South Snowden

Austin, Texas.

Home of the South By South West Festival.

SXSW (By those in the know, or media writers with limited word counts)

Austin is also, considered by those who have visited, an incredibly liberal oasis in the middle of what is very decidedly a Red State.

Which means everyone orders coffee using odd italian phrasing and Apple MacBooks are distributed with highschool diplomas. It also means that there is an unacheivably overpriced organic food supplier and Joan Baez stayed at a Motel 6 there once.

I live in the Bible Belt of a decidedly Blue State, which means the tap water tastes fantastic and Walmart carries amazingly crisp broccoli.

I win.

But the SXSW Festival is all the talk in the trades right now cause it is supposedly the hippest gathering of independent music and the cutting edge of technology.

Every cool pop band from Imagine Dragons to Daft Punk gets to rub elbows with the cutting edge indie bands with their turn tables and ukuleles. Thousands of shows and impromptu jams exploding over the little town, man, that sounds fun.

Yet, now that it's in full swing, the only thing everyone is talking about is a presentation/live interview of Edward Snowden via iChat from Moscow.

Which, I get, I guess. Edward Snowden is like the closest us lefties have had to a bona fied Patrick Henry.

(Don't bother looking it up, he's the dude that said "Give me liberty or give me death!")

If information is bags of gold coin, Snowden is Robin Hood.

Unless you think he's more like a traitor and should be shot through the heart for treason, you Nottingham Sheriffs, you.

Most of us, however, are like Errol Flynn era Maid Marions, wondering why Robin is spending all his nights with Little John.

To make the point more clear, none of us really understand most of it.

We kinda knew all that information was being stored and sifted.

We kinda agree that government secrets are the only way to go.

We kinda hope Americans won't do anything terrible with that information.

And yes, we're all kinda creeped out that Target can use our private browsing pornography preferences to help increase sales of tissue and unscented lotion.

Yes, it's incredibly shocking how much personal information is out there using the simplest search techniques imaginable.

I kid you not, I once had to kick a group of gentlemen out of my coffee shop because they would spend hours at their laptops Facebook stalking my employees. To think that with just a first name and a work location a bunch of forty something perves can access the summer vacation photos of a seventeen year old girl looking for bikini shots.

And, yes, you can totally blame the girl for posting bikini shots, the little strumpet, but that's not really fair is it? Nobody reads the fine print and nobody can live in a world if all of their actions are guided by the fear of creepy men.

After that I instituted a program where we could wear any name we wanted on our name tags.

Corporate got all pissy about it because somehow Batman once made the latte of a secret shopper, but I never gave in, none the less.

I'd post bikini shots of myself all day if I thought it would get people to come out to the shows.

But traitor, or revolutionary?

Thomas Paine or Ethyl Rosenburg?

The real problem is that how you feel about it says more about what television you watch than it does about your historical point or the relevance of your perspective.

The Great Sift, as it's now being called, where each of us are beginning to migrate into our respective corners, choosing the agreeableness of our news intake, coming to conclusions when the scope of the information is beyond our horizons, the drawing of lines in the sand, the creation of Blue State Bible Belts and Red State Liberal Oasises, that's really what's gong to be the end of American culture.

There's really nothing the NSA can do with the dirty texts I send my wife, but don't think for a second that you're safe from the terrible motives of tyranny, everytime you gas up your car or bite into a double bacon burger.

All of us agree on just about 99.9% of all things.

Nobody likes potholes.

Everyone likes clean water.

Nobody likes vegatables, but they want good ones available at reasonable prices.

You have to wear your seat belt, but go ahead and forgoe the motorcycle helmet if you need a better undertanding of Newtonian Motion.

Smoke pot, marry gay. Or both. Or neither.

Own guns and regulate your militias, there's a reason why a land war hasn't been fought on the continent since the Mexicans tried to disagree with our minifest destiny. You don't pick a fight with a Texan, that's just stupid.

The saying goes, that a polite society is an armed society.

Okay, sure, I get the logic.

But if I conceed you that, then we also should agree that a transparent socity, too, is a polite society. Information can regulate behavior like an assualt rifle can regulate a zombie horde.

Either way, Snowden's never coming home.

The man gets to die in a foreign airport long before we ever agree if he was right or if he was wrong.

But he did get to open for Daft Punk.

So that's pretty cool.

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