Monday, June 10, 2013

Why I Don't Write About the NSA And Other Important Topics

Blogging is a weird business (let's pretend that it IS a business), because once a blogger has developed a voice (a gruff one, a whining one), whether that voice is used or not starts to matter to the blogger if to nobody else.

It's like the empty space in paintings.  That matters, too, for the totality of the experience.

Duh.  What I mean is that there are zillions of topics I never write about, however important they are, because they are not within my pay grade.  Others have the years of experience that properly addressing them requires, others have better sources and a better platform, others actually live a particular experience.  Even us divines must specialize in something.

But I still wonder if my silence on certain topics is taken as a statement about something more than the limits of my expertise.  The reality is that on many, many topics I do better as the reader than the writer.

But it's true that I pick and choose even among the topics that I know a lot about, and that I often go for the topic I enjoy writing about,  though I do want to cover whatever seems very important to cover.   Feeling that little engine starting to purr away inside me is a sign that one of the tiny windows to our general subconsciousness might be ajar, that I might be able to quickly snatch something of wider significance out of it, that the topic is for me, in some odd way.

On the other hand, I just like certain writing assignments and dread others.  For the latter I need moolah.

Double duh.

All that is a long and self-involved prelude about topics that I think I should write more about (say, guns in the United States and how they make the society polite ("an armed society is a polite society"), if they do,  by removing large numbers from it in neat and polite coffins).

One of those topics is always whatever the current public debate concerns, such as right now the question of government surveillance.

I don't have the expertise to write on the topic, just the kinds of concerns anyone in the audience might have:

The lack of safeguards, the scope of the program and the fact that someone working for a subcontractor, with just a few years of experience, appears to have had access to the data on a very high level.  The question how many terrorist attacks all this surveillance has prevented, the obvious lures it has for whichever party is in power at any particular moment, the fact that once this became entrenched, under the Bush administration, no future head of the state would wish to relinquish such powers and so on.

Then there are the side-issues:  How the conservatives were all for the system under Bush but now opposed to it.  That political game.  And the question what ordinary Americans (and people in other countries) think about this.

My own impressions match with those at Alicu blog, in the sense that I have sorta assumed all this was going on once the floodgates were opened.  And it's not just the government which collects information on us.  The corporations do, too.

Those beliefs of mine don't make what has been revealed any less worrisome or any less important to fix,  but they dull my instant-outrage reflex.

Some of it may be similar to what happened with the airport gropings etc.  Those of us who have been groped for years both for medical reasons and because of street harassment and such have a different background, more time getting accustomed to something and that, too, dampens the instant-outrage reflex.  Similarly, if one has assumed that this crap is happening, then finding out that it IS happening is less shocking. 

It still needs to be fixed, naturally.