Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the not-so-funny-now dept

We've got a double winner on the insightful side this week, with Roger Strong taking first and second place with a pair of responses to then-still-President Obama's surprise commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence. First, it was a response to the assertion that Edward Snowden's case was different because he "fled into the arms of an adversary":

That'd be one of the four countries that offered Snowden permanent asylum: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela. The US trapped Snowden in Russia while enroute. They even intercepted and searched the president of Bolivia's plane to search it for Snowden.

Funny though, I hadn't heard that Bolivia was an adversary or undermined American democracy.

In second place, it's a more general response to the idea that Snowden should have stayed to face the music:

You mean like Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers?

Ellsberg's trial was dismissed in 1973 after evidence of government misconduct against him, including illegal wiretapping, was introduced in court. Today the government actions that got the case thrown out of court are legal.

For the two years Ellsberg was under indictment he was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. Today Snowden would not be allowed out on bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado, in total isolation conditions.

Speak the truth, then run.
- Polish proverb

Since that post sparked a whole lot of conversation, for editor's choice on the insightful side we'll look at two more responses. First, it's 383bigblock with further thoughts on why Snowden did the right thing:

There is no honor in taking one for the team especially when the system is rigged against whistle blowers. What Snowden released was pure value and we're seeing changes or more importantly increased awareness across the US for how far out of bounds our Government is willing to stray. The value is not less because he didn't subject himself to wrath of those who were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. He's a survivor and thanks to him we have a better understanding of the wickedness of those we entrust to govern us. He is a hero.... by all counts. He was smart enough to reveal what was necessary and preserve his ability to stay relevant and not get swept under the rug.

It just like the liberals who are all upset at Russia blaming them for Hilary's defeat. It's the not Russians fault that they behave the way they did and wrote the emails that they did, they just got caught. No different with Snowden, how many asshats stood up and predicted armageddon because the leak. No such disaster took place, they bent over backwards trying to denounce and deny the truth. The true turn-coats or the extreme unpatriotic are those asshats in our government that needlessly and recklessly spy on Americans in order to drink up the power.

Bravo Snowden.....for being smart about it.

Next, it's a response to that comment from Thad, offering a small piece of nuance:

Well, it is Russia's fault that they only chose to leak information that was damaging to the Clinton campaign. You don't think they had dirt on Trump too?

I've said this before, but apparently it bears repeating: the content of those e-mails was in the public interest. The provenance of those e-mails is in the public interest too. It's possible to be outraged by the DNC and the Clinton campaign and also to be outraged that a foreign government strategically interfered with our election. It's okay to think two different things are bad.

Over on the funny side, we start out on our post about the Mississippi Attorney General's latest attack on Google, which employed a version of the very same complaint the EFF once made. One anonymous commenter questioned what precisely that meant:

Are you telling me that Hood pirated the EFF's complaint?

For second place, we head to our post about a copyright fight involving a modified version of a Jorge Luis Borges story and the author's controlling estate. That One Guy stood up for the ghosts of authors everywhere:

If such blatant copyright infringement were to be allowed the original author would have absolutely no reason to create new works. If people are allowed to build upon works that have come before the very heart of culture and creativity is at risk, as the protections that creators depend upon, protections which are of course the only reason that anything is ever created in the first place will be shredded, and without those protections who will bother writing new, entirely-original-and-not-in-any-way-based-upon-anything-that-came-before books, movies or music?

As such it's quite proper that the author's wife brings this lawsuit to stop such activity while the original author is temporarily unable to do so, on account of the man currently being dead and having been so for 31 years, as I'm sure any day now he'll rise again, and without the knowledge that his works from seventy-one years ago are still protected what possible reason could he have for ever creating anything again post-mortem?

Truth is, though, that this was a very slow week for funny comments. Even the two winners had some of the lowest vote totals I've seen for comments in first and second place, and things quickly dropped off even further after that. So, instead of try to dig up a pair of not-that-funny editor's choices, we'll mix it up with a couple that still belong more on the "insightful" side of things. First, it's flyinginn with some important literary context for the Borges "remix" fight:

Borges was fascinated by the ontological issues of literary creation, especially replication - can a copy be more real than the "original"? Can generations of copies result in something which improves on the "original" - as with the Hronir in Tlon, Uqbar, a story which starts with a copyright infringement: "the encyclopedia is fallaciously called The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York, 1917) and is a literal but delinquent reprint of the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1902." Anyone familiar with Borges' works (which apparently does not include his wife) would find the "Fattened Aleph" an interesting extension of his literary approach and legacy. It certainly poses no threat to her revenue stream.

Finally, we've got an anonymous quip that isn't exactly a side-splitter, but makes a succinct point about the notion of whistleblowers going through the "proper" channels:

No, "proper" channels are via whichever "formal" and "approved" channels are provided.

Wikileaks and The Intercept fall into the "viable" and "meaningful" channel categories.

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 22 Jan 2017 @ 6:16pm

    WHAT has all the spying(??) done?

    REALLY what has it done?

    IT has allowed the OTHER COUNTRIES to know that WE' are spying on them.
    WOW, a Open channel communication that ANYONE can read can copy??

    The USA is that NOSY neighbor that CALLS the cops(her own children) to run over and beat on your DOOR at 6am, and throw Flash bombs into your front room with the Kids sleeping on the FLOOR..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 22 Jan 2017 @ 7:03pm

      Re: WHAT has all the spying(??) done?

      Those other countries were not surprised. Everyone spies on each other, including allies spying on allies. It's expected.

      Snowden's revelations were more about how much the US was spying on its own people, and how the oversight was a myth.

      And other details like the NSA's Bullrun program - inserting vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems, IT systems, networks, etc.. Weakening the security of Americans and allies so that it could gather more intelligence abroad and at home.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SteveG (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 6:00am

    I hadn't seen the funny comment about authors 31 years after death. Based the current record, it would seem that 4 days would be long enough to be sure that they aren't coming back, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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