So, people I know and respect seem to have bought into the notion that Julian Assange is a modern revolutionary, on the run from the CIA in the form of Swedish sex vixens. Normally, I do not indulge in conspiracy theories, and this is no exception. As far as I can tell, all of the big corporations, weapons dealers, third-world dictators, and shadowy government agencies do their work fairly openly. Just this month, Vanity Fair reported on new regulations that allow Big Pharma test potentially deadly, grown-up medicines on the babies of illiterate parents in developing nations. Response from the public sphere? Fundraisers? Campaigns? Marches? Nope. Not a peep. In my generation, we tend to mistake information for action.
This may be because deriding the less educated for their religiosity via the NYTimes comment section, and changing our Facebook profile pictures in support of nebulous social causes, are what passes for social activism in the internet age. We must be the toast of the corporate world: In our rush to atomize ourselves in the name of an overrated and underachieving individuality, we liberate our supposed nemeses from any threat of organized response and the result, I am sorry to say, is not self-regulation on their parts. Heck, they don’t even need to be secretive about their dirty business; after all, why pay for an army of super ninjas when they need only our continuing inability to tear ourselves away from Adult Swim long enough to organize anything more revolutionary than an ugly sweater/ ironic facial hair party (itself just an excuse to take pictures for FB.)
Julian Assange, however, was weaned on a hacker culture which ignores the mundanity of evil and grounds itself in belief in a sexy, dystopian Big Brother–a spooky god of the Old Testament variety–invisibly menacing the reluctant anti-heroes of an imaginary, Blade Runner-esque fantasyland; a dark and rainy place, with nary a Chili’s restaurant in sight.
The truth, of course, is that solitary anti-heroes rarely make revolutions. They may sometimes be effective cheerleaders, but real revolutionary change in America, from women’s suffrage to civil rights, has been highly organized, very public, and reliant on large, civil society networks willing to rise from their couches and actually, physically, do something. To act, consistently.
Assange, conversely, is a pale, skinny loner who (likely) after years of frustration at being overlooked by his tan,hirsute, beer-drinking brethren Down Under, became obsessed with being noticed himself. If you want to blame anyone for Wikileaks, blame Russel Crowe. But I digress.
Consider that the allegations against him–that he had consensual sex with a couple of Swedish (ie hot) women and then may have annoyed them by neglecting birth control–are not exactly going to tarnish his name with the scorching pitch of Hades, except perhaps among feminists–all five of whom will undoubtedly change their FB profile pics in protest.
More likely, the allegations will make him the envy of flocks of dreaming geeks all over the world, sitting alone on Friday nights with only the flicker of their monitors to guide them. Even now, in the blogosphere, most of the tar and feathers have been reserved for the two women bringing charges. I don’t know if you have ever looked at internet porn, dear reader, but it doesn’t exactly engender sympathy to feminist complaints…nor even to perceiving women as human.
SO, when speculating about who is behind Assange’s Swedish sex scandal, I ask only that you take into account these ten facts and observations:
1. These women were fans of his and still cry hallelujah over the wikileaks brand.
2. Swedish chicks are like the penultimate male fantasy; they are the Latin/Italian men of mandom.
3. It’s unlikely that the CIA is recruiting double agents in bfe Sweden, where the second accuser was from.
4.It’s unlikely Swedes would cooperate with the CIA, given how superior they believe themselves to be, what with the healthcare and the paid paternal leave and the no death penalty.
5. Even if Assange were convicted of these crimes, at most he’d spend five minutes in a Swedish pen; probably next door to a gardener named Lars who’d painted his house a non-permissible color.
6. On the other hand, the accusations are just kinky enough to make Jersey Shore fans–indifferent to State Department commentary on Angela Merkel’s pantsuit, or the revelation that innocent people die in wars–pay attention.
7. The kerfuffle dovetails nicely with the release of his autobiography.
8. Assange, let’s face it, is a total fame whore: He compares himself to MLK Jr and describes himself as ‘messianic.’ He pretends to live this secret agent, man-on-the-lam lifestyle, and yet doesn’t hesitate to plug his mug into every hole in the news cycle–meanwhile, it remains unclear that anyone is actually chasing him. It’s not like the guy is reporting on human rights abuses in Chechnya, or any of the stories that get real journalists murdered on a regular basis, in spite of their attempts to hide…not in plain sight.
9. If the CIA wanted to screw him over, I doubt it would use lightweight charges of quasi-sex crimes in Sweden. Think about it, the Mossad can find a Palestinian dissident hiding in Jordan and inject poison in his ear as he walks down the street, but the CIA can’t find a guy who looks like a Halloween costume and appears in the news stream on my computer screen every time I log on? Who do we think he is, Batman?
10. Details of his case were leaked to the media. And who is better at leaking the lurid, useless details of things we already knew or suspected?
My conclusion, based on all of these observations: Assange himself conspired with the women to create these accusations. Now he gets to be Julian Assange: historic hero of civil rights, space-age messiah, and Australian sex machine! Thanks a lot, Russel Crowe.