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Satire: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Privacy

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You're being watched.  Almost everywhere you go.  Video cameras proliferate like sex-crazed rabbits.  Satellites can probably count the hairs on your head.  Those obscene, ubiquitous cellphone cameras are catching you from every angle, whether you know the owner or not — whether you want to be shot or not.

You're being tracked.  Not just through the Internet, despite the claims that one can surf without leaving a trail.  Your cellphone probably allows people to set your position to within an inch or two.  And every time you use a credit card, a little bit of you is shaved off and sent via transporter to a central receptacle where it's processed, coded, and safely stored — for eternity.

You could open your door one day to a passel of men in dark suits who flash identification and take you to an undisclosed location where you have no rights.  A phone call?  Don't make them laugh.  Think it can't happen?  Why?  What makes you so special?

You've lost your privacy.  Do you care?

There's this episode of West Wing, that bastion of liberal socialistic anti-Americanism, where a potential Supreme Court nominee is asked if he believes the constitution contains a Right to Privacy.

(Editor's Note: If you take the a and c out, it spells privy, where real men have for generations guarded their privacy.  After over twenty years of marriage, my bride still asks with a tone of disbelief, confusion, and irritation why men spend so much time in the privy.  And, after all these years, I still can't explain it.)

But I digress.  The nominee says that there is no explicit right to privacy in either the Constitution or Bill of Rights.  Oops.  Wrong answer for some liberal, left wing, socialist program.  He's toast.

Now the First & Fourth amendments do suggest some measure of personal privacy.  (For those of you who don't have your Constitution handy, here's the Fourth: 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Not bad, but it'd be nice to see an explicit statement such as, "The government will keep it's hands, eyes, and tongues out of my business unless I'm doing something really bad, and if there's a question about how bad I'm being, the default option is keep out."

However, you (and I) have already thrown the Fourth amendment into a shredder, and it's not all the fault of hiz former honor, George Bush.  Mostly, probably, but not all.  The fact is we're blithely giving our privacy away for free, thanks to technological discoveries we neither understand nor control, including that most insidious of parasitical inventions, the Internet.

It's bad enough that American Express won't issue me a card unless I reveal the most intimate details of my life such as, how much do you owe your local bookie, why haven't you weeded your garden since the beginning of Spring, how often do you and your wife — well, you get the idea.  And I give them the information because I want their damn card.

Conservatives hate the Fourth amendment even though they claim to prize privacy.  Let the police go where they will.  If you're innocent, you've nothing to fear.  (At least, I think that's what conservatives believe.  Cogito ergo veritas, which means, roughly, "if that's what I think, it's good enough for me to believe.")

Liberals say they love the Fourth amendment but have done nothing to protect it.  Perhaps they share the same naive faith in government as the conservatives:  If I've done nothing wrong, I've nothing to fear.  Or, perhaps they're too busy with more important issues, such as saving the earth, programming their children to be perfect little adults, and protecting inter-species marriage.

Where, when, and how did we get so screwed up?

I love the expression, "off the grid."  It's too late for me.  My carcass has been spread all over the grid like warm butter on hot toast.  I've sunk into grid crevasses so deep it'd take a blow torch to clean me out.  And that'd hurt — a lot, which is not a good thing.

About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • Irene Wagner

    A college friend of mine who was on a submarine–which turns humans into sardines–said everyone’s favorite place was the “head,” the only place one had any time to oneself. It was an all-male sub, Mark Schannon, and had nothing to do with wives driving their husbands there!

    I’ve been at this “message board” thing for awhile, though BC is the first place I’ve ever used my real name. By the time I started participating here, I knew there wasn’t any fact left about me that could escape deep-data-mining, including the political activities I’ve engaged in. Anybody in BC could, with a little effort, find out what color my house is. That’s something any of the whacked out individuals who might follow me home from work could also find out. Still, using my real name is a decision I regret making sometimes. I’m not sure I’d do it again.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Mark,

    I just posted a link to that very same book earlier today.

    (eerie special effect music plays in the background)

  • Mark Schannon

    Irene–we male-type people don’t hog the privy because of women; there’s something in the genes that draws us to the place. Maybe because most of us are full o’ sheet anyway, lass.

    Cindy, we’re growing old, me dear. How many under 40, nay 50 or 60 would even remember it. And how many even believe it or care.

    Just remember…

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Mark,

    I read your essay to the bride, and this is what she said, “This essay was very annoying. Everything is so negative, it’s as if there’s nothing good in life!” Heck, Mark, throw in a dash of the Divinity, some Prophecies and how they relate to today’s events and I could have written this. You do sound an awful lot like me bellyaching about the lack of privacy and how some gov’mint agent can string you up by the balls for no reason at all.

    Well, anyway, I said what I have to – now I have to go hog the privy for an hour or two to regain my inner equilibrium….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    By the way, this wasn’t satire Mark, whatever it was.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Wait til you get a pre-census census form that asks when you leave for work by the hour and minute, in addition to what appliances you may have. Oh, and if you don’t answer, you could be subject to a fine.

    Brave new world, my a**.

  • Mark Schannon

    Ruvy, tell your bride I’m a very happy person. Read her some of my other articles, such as “Twenty Reasons to Commit Suicide Now,” or “Why Your Children Will Group Up to Break Your Heart” or “Heaven is Just Hell With Less Humidity.”

    I don’t know if it’s satire or not–the world has gone beyond anyone’s ability to easily satirize it. I think I was exaggerating a bit…but who knows.

    Anyway, enjoy your privy time.

    Joanne, you only think you jest.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Baronius

    Worrying about privacy is a young man’s game. As I get older, I care less and less if Mastercard or the DMV has my name on file, because I know that they can get the information wrong. Once you get a credit card application for David Jnoes, and your name isn’t even Jones, illusions of Big Brother fall away.

    Bad information is currently more dangerous than good information. I can envision a time when good information becomes dangerous, but I don’t think we’ve gotten sufficiently competent with data yet. That was always the failing of 1984 and its real-life counterparts. A hundred people can’t monitor a million people. A million people can’t monitor a million people. A hundred people and a hundred pre-Skynet computers can’t monitor a million people.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Good points, Baronius. A sense of perspective does help. Even if every step of one’s journey to work every morning is being recorded somewhere, it’s unlikely that anyone is paying attention.

  • Clavos

    Even if every step of one’s journey to work every morning is being recorded somewhere, it’s unlikely that anyone is paying attention.

    …Or so “they” would like you to believe…:>)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Clav,

    Well, yes. But we must be mindful that now the freedom loving Obama administration, not the horribly repressive Bush administration, is doing it. Therefore, it’s not going to cause any problems. It is now a different “they.”

    No need to worry; I’m a lawyer, and you can believe me.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    LOL

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Clav,

    …Or so “they” would like you to believe…:>)

    And how would you know? Do you have insider information? Should I perhaps be more circumspect when you’re on the threads from now on?

    Rubber heeler alert!

    :-D

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    First: I think any future islamic martyrs reading your piece will be very disturbed to see that you have downgraded the virgin count to 27. I have long been suspect that the # I always heard in this association, that being 72, was still hardly enough to last an eternity. I mean, is it a one and done affair, or is there any recycling involved? But that’s another matter.

    Of course, it is disturbing to realize that pretty much everything we do, or say, or write, or anyplace we go… yada, yada, yada, is or at least may be monitored and/or recorded by and for someone, somewhere for whatever reason(s.)

    I have watched all 3 of the “Bourne” films more than a few times. They are pretty good. One of the main aspects of these films is how whatever nefarious agency it is that is after Jason’s ass manages to track him and others through various means.
    It’s fairly impressive even if they always come up a day late and a dollar short.

    Anyone watching any of TV’s “procedurals” like CSI or NCIS or whatever, can’t be blamed for being impressed with what can be deduced from a speck of dirt or a parasitic worm found under a dead man’s tongue.

    Taking in all these wonders of the technological age gives us a sense of security, a sense that the bad guys haven’t got a chance.

    But given a bit of thought, apparently as has Mark, one realizes that all that wonderful technology can be and likely is being used in some manner against us. There are data bases out in cyberworld that remember far better what brand, what size, what color undies I bought at Kohls 4 years ago.

    Our local grocery knows precisely what percent of fat we prefer in our milk, that even though we may be well into our “golden” years, we still prefer to start our morning with a bowl of Fruit Loops rather than the more sensible shredded wheat.

    The whole world may know what prescriptions we pick up at our local apothecary along with what “flavor” KY we prefer.

    I must agree with Baronius. I’m getting too old to give a shit. I tend to talk to myself or often sing along with the music while driving to and fro. It has often occured to me that someone could be listening. (You do know that if you have your cell phone on in your pocket or wherever around you, anything you or others say within microphone shot can be heard whether you are using the phone or not, don’t you?) But then I think, who gives a rats ass? I sometimes say some crazy shit which could be taken the wrong way – you know – that whole “context” thingy, but, on the other hand, I actually sing pretty well, so anyone listening – enjoy.

    B {:%#) (I have a lumpy nose and I sport a mustache.)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    First: I think any future islamic martyrs reading your piece will be very disturbed to see that you have downgraded the virgin count to 27. I have long been suspect that the # I always heard in this association, that being 72, was still hardly enough to last an eternity

    YOu obviously haven’t been reasing up on the law, Bazritone. One would think a man as intelligent as you would at least know what is in the stimulus package of the Blessed of Hussein.

    Under section 935 (Sexual Stimulus), paragraph 2, sub-paragraph c) it specifies a reduction for Moslem martyrs from 72 houris to 27.

    The remaining houris are to be distributed as follows.

    Horny Hollywood stars who commit suicide –
    6
    Lesbian martyrs who pass on to the other side of the veil – 6
    Martyrs with Hispanic-American surnames – 6
    Gay men who die in terror attacks – 6
    Gay men who die committing terror attacks – 12
    Jewish women who die in terror attacks – 3
    Jewish men who die in terror attacks – 0
    Atheists who die in terror attacks – 2
    Old guys die from taking too much Viagra – 1

    Sub paragraph d) of the legislation states that the activities of the houris will be monitored and regulated by the Un-American Activities Committee of the United States House of Representatives.

    I’m surprised you weren’t aware of these things Baritone. Really!! A man of your sagacity!

  • Clavos

    A man of your sagacity!

    I thought personal attacks were not allowed???

  • Irene Wagner

    Testing. Testing. Stand DOWN, Mr. Baggypants!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene shows her ‘cruel’ side.

    (Thanks for leaving a comment on my new blog post, Irene. I have some interesting info I have found. I’ll finish a short article on it or I’ll post you some links.)

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Ruvy,

    Despite your uh, misgivings, you should be aware that our current president is just a guy whose shit stinks just like yours. He is not the anti-christ, nor is he the devil incarnate or any such drivel.

    You are so over the top with your own zealotry that you have long since left any shred of reality far behind you.

    Your inference regarding Obama being the “blessed hussein” is childish and of no consequence.

    Believe it or not, the world does NOT revolve around either you or Israel. That your country, which is little more than a blip on the map gets the kind of attention it does, I guess, speaks well of Israel’s Chamber of Commerce, but Israelites have an outsized notion of their importance to the rest of the world. Cudos to your people and your government in its ability to hold, in particular, the west as a moral hostage, but you all must be careful to not overplay your hand. A pair of deuces will not likely allow Israel to take the pot after the last card is played. The blip could easily turn to dust. (Pardon the mixed metaphors.)

    B

  • Irene Wagner

    Not as cruel as I would have been if I’d pointed out that, for all the careful accounting above, there are three houris still left unaccounted for. Maybe they’ve found honest employment as gratiae.

    Cindy, yours and Clavos’ “sun-rise… sun-set”ting on the other thread has gotten me in a mood of eager anticipation for the noontide emergence of my own little brood of teens. Summertime is funtime! Have a great day, and I’ll plan to check back at your blog…

  • Irene Wagner

    PS Ruvy — I posted that last comment before I saw Baritone’s. Mine wasn’t a pile-on insult…not even an insult, really…not as good as one Christopher Rose could’ve come up with, anyway… Time to go, fo’ sho’!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    B

    Gotta admire a person who has time for both a nose and a mustache.

  • Baronius

    Baritone, according to the great, great online comic XKCD, when you’re alone, every once in a while you should say “I know you’re listening”. If no one’s listening, no one will ever know you said it, but if someone is listening, you’ll freak them out badly.

    As I see it, I write to my congressman and he votes the other way; every time I like a new TV show they cancel it; my phone company sent me two items yesterday, a bill and a “switch to us” message. No one’s listening to me.

    And maybe this article would have persuaded me some other week. But some jerk spends most of his 88 years hating the Jews, hating the Fed for being Jewish, hating Jesus for being Jewish, publishing this stuff, and then he strolls into the Holocaust Museum with a gun…and I’m supposed to feel like we’re overwatched?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Baritone,

    Learn some Arabic. Barak Hussein is Arabic [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]; it means “blessed of Hussein”. If your piece of shit president can’t spell Arabic transliterations right because he is following his daddy’s ignorance, it ain’t my fault. I spell it right. If it insults your piece of shit president by spelling his name wrong, so much the better. If he is going to show his contempt for me and mine with his damned photos, I’ll show my contempt for him.

    No more light-hearted answers for your garbage, dude.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Not as cruel as I would have been if I’d pointed out that, for all the careful accounting above, there are three houris still left unaccounted for. Maybe they’ve found honest employment as gratiae.

    The bad accounting was purposeful, Irene. It shows what you can expect from a Democrat drunk on power – bad math. And your country is suffering from a surfeit of bad math lately….

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ruvy,

    My last name means ‘rocky outcrop or crag’ and I’m pretty sure the Vikings didn’t spell it the way I spell it.

    I’m pretty sure the Vikings aren’t upset about it, either. And you know Vikings. If they’re upset about something, you know about it.

    At least you do in that split-second of remaining consciousness as your newly-independent head makes its final brief journey from your neck to the ground.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    ‘Hussein’, BTW, which Ruvy never bothers to translate for us, means ‘handsome one’. So perhaps a more fitting rendition of the President’s name is ‘blessed handsome one’. Or, in a more loose translation ‘how did that bugger get to be so good-looking?’

    Reuven, apparently, means simply ‘behold, a son’. Fitting enough, I suppose.

  • Baronius

    Wikipedia gives this definition: “a grilled or toasted sandwich made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian or Thousand Island dressing”. On top of that, Ruvy’s dad spelled his name wrong.

    Now that’s satire.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Doc — yes, but you neglect to point out the meaning of “Obama,” which is bent. Therefore, Barack Hussein Obama presumably means, “Blessed (and) Handsome (but) Bent one.”

    Oh, well.

    Dan(of he who grinds flour)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Baritone [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]: Believe it or not, the world does NOT revolve around either you or Israel. That your country, which is little more than a blip on the map gets the kind of attention it does, I guess, speaks well of Israel’s Chamber of Commerce,

    Nope, Baritone. The world certainly doesn’t revolve around me, an insignificant speck of nothing in the mountains of Samaria. But it sure as shit does revolve around Israel. And certainly not due to our efforts or to anything we are owed. Let’s have a look a random but fairly objective measure – references on Google.

    China – 820 million references
    America – 646 million references
    Russia – 224 million references
    Europe – 613 million references
    Moslem – 2.83 million references
    Arabs – 10.7 million references
    Christian – 388 million references
    India – 646 million references
    Hindu – 31 million references

    Total – 3,381.53 million references

    Jew – 15.4 million references
    Israel – 254 million references

    Total – 269.4 million references

    Total references – 3,650.93 million references
    Percentage of references to Jew or Israel

    7.3%

    For a people that makes up about .2% of the world’s population covering some 10,000 sq. miles (out of 57 million sq. miles), that is one hell of a percentage of references, wouldn’t you say? By our percentage of the world’s population, we should be getting about 7.5 million references, and no more.

    I know why, Baronius certainly knows why; but I’ll let you puzzle it out for yourself.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Reuven, apparently, means simply ‘behold, a son’. Fitting enough, I suppose.

    Lay off translating the Hebrew, DD. Reuven means ‘look! a son!’ Behold in Hebrew is hini – something you do not find in my name. My dad never spelled ‘Reuven’, and he certainly never spelled ‘Ruvy’. He (or rather my mother) gave me a different name, one I have ditched since arriving here. ‘Ruvy’ is the nickname I got from a ship’s cook in the Israeli navy when I was working next to him as the dishwasher/baker. It is the one I prefer. Reuven is the name I was given when the mohel took his (or rather my) tip some 5.7 decades ago. It was written in Hebrew on a certificate which I have somewhere or other.

    Now what kind of outcropping does your name mean again, DD? Oh yeah, put your sword away first, before we discuss this.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Gotta like that…blessed, handsome and bent! I’ve actually been described like that!

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Cindy,

    It’s a gift.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Bar,

    I pretty much agree with you. I suppose we shouldn’t dismiss it altogether. Afterall, someone might be listening. How they interpret and what they do with what they hear is, perhaps, the scary part. Getting it wrong can be far worse than getting it right.

    Perhaps I’m naive in this regard, but my innocuous little corner of the world could hardly be of any interest to any prospective eaves droppers.

    BTW – I have done just as you describe from time to time. It does give one a bit of a thrill in the knowledge that I might be freaking out some nosey bastard.

    Let us know if they come to get you. I’ll do the same, if able.

    B

  • Baronius

    My life is so boring, I don’t watch it.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ruvy, whatever. ‘Behold’ and ‘look’ are similes in my book.

    It’s not a sword, it’s an axe.

    Israel gets more than its fair share of attention because three of the world’s major religions are somewhat preoccupied with the speck of ground she sits on. This is because of a series of historical accidents which have no little to do with a certain J. Maccabee, the vexing question of foreskins, and his ideas as to where Emperor Antiochus IV could stick them.

  • Mark Schannon

    Behold, look, an outcropping of an axe as the comments pile up while I wasn’t beholding or looking. Actually, I don’t much care about what’s on the Internet about me because, except for Ruvy, I’m probably older than the lot of you & there’s not much a Demo or Repulicrap can do about my rants.

    I am much more concerned about the world we’re leaving your children (ain’t got none of my own) where a less benign administration than Dick “Off With His Head” Cheney could imagine would be able to routinely round up and incarcerate whomever it pleases because we’ve gutted all constitutional safeguards.

    If people aren’t worried about that…you ain’t been paying attention.

    And I thought Ruvy’s rescue of my pulling 27 aged virgins out of my ass was pretty funny…until everyone decided to misread him & miss the humor.

    But what do I know. My name means “He Who Has Wisdom Beyond The Ken of Mortals & Who Shall Have Unlimited Virgins…that is if the bride approves…which she won’t…so I’m just Wiser than Ken.”

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    a grilled or toasted sandwich made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian or Thousand Island dressing”.

    That’s not satire – that’s the definition of a vomitrocious defilement of Corned-Beef-on-Rye – feh!. And Reuben is the typical goyisher misspelling of the Hebrew reúven.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Privacy, schmivacy…why DO you guys spend so much time in the loo?

    Women take forever “powdering their nose” in public toilets, on the other hand.

    I think that’s because men need to get some alone time. They always need to get some alone time.

    Nice piece though…

  • Clavos

    They always need to get some alone time.

    True.

    I wonder if their female companions have anything to do with that?

  • Mark Schannon

    Elvira, thanks. I don’t know why we love our loos…we just dos.

    Clavos, I don’t think it has anything to do with women. I did it when I lived alone. Go figure.

    In Jameson Veritas