What should give us greater pause is that we live in a society in which they are able to act out their fantasies on taxpayer dollars as reputed public servants.
Alexander's fantasy of being a starship captain firing illegal, but highly effective digital photon torpedoes at innocent citizens and foreign heads of state, is inherently farcical and self-parodying, but we cannot laugh because it is deadly serious: Those torpedoes are being aimed at privacy and civil rights throughout the world.
Alexander's "Star Trek"-themed control center has enabled lawmakers and other officials to sit in the "captain's" chair -- as though they are going on a theme-park ride -- and pretend they are Jean-Luc Picard. This act of cartoon-like complicity simultaneously conveys an utter lack of sociopolitical or historical perspective, while also revealing that these be-suited and uniformed men cannot resist their ego- and testosterone-driven fantasies of power.
The NSA Is More Like the Borg Than Captain Picard
The ironic and tragic twist is that, in the world of Star Trek, the NSA under Alexander far more resembles the Borg than the Enterprise under Captain Picard. The Borg -- a race of cybernetic drones, more machine than huma n -- are the deadly enemy of Picard and all of humanity. The signature declaration of the Borg eerily echoes the "collect-it-all" mentality and modus operandi of Alexander's NSA:
"We are the [NSA]. Lower your shields and surrender your [freedoms]. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."
In direct contradiction, the character of Captain Picard tells us: "No being is so important that he can usurp the rights of another," and, "The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged."
Speaking Truth to Power
This brings us to comedian Russell Brand and his recent deconstruction of the GQ awards (mentioned in a footnote by Greenwald). These awards are another cartoonish event attended by people who -- like the Picard wannabes -- are living the good life of the 1% and who don't appear to realize or care that their gilt cage is constructed from a system that ignores the poverty and exploitation of their fellow human beings. Brand appeared to receive an "Oracle Award," and then had the temerity to point out, among other things, that sponsor Hugo Boss sold uniforms to the Nazis. Brand has written about his experience in The Guardian.
Russell Brand did function as something of an "oracle" when offering his trenchant perspective at the GQ event:
"We witness that there is a relationship between government, media, and industry that is evident even at this most spurious and superficial level. These three institutions support one another. We know that however cool a media outlet may purport to be, their primary loyalty is to their corporate backers. We know also that you cannot criticise the corporate backers openly without censorship and subsequent manipulation of this information."
This comedian has provided a more honest and accurate description of how our corrupt political and economic system works than any of the two-dimensional corporate-media talking heads we have heard in (at least) the past five years. How very, very sad, and how dangerous for us all, that a comedian is more astute and politically relevant than a generation of drone-like "reporters."
We should be grateful to Brand, Greenwald, and Snowden for speaking truth to power. We need a lot more of that these days.
Despite what the Borg and the NSA may believe, resistance is not futile.
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