August 13, 2014

"Rather than spending hours watching television or playing sports as a kid, Snowden fell in love with books, especially Greek mythology."

"'I remember just going into those books, and I would disappear with them for hours,' he says. Snowden says reading about myths played an important role growing up, providing him with a framework for confronting challenges, including moral dilemmas. 'I think that's when I started thinking about how we identify problems, and that the measure of an individual is how they address and confront those problems,' he says."

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

He especially liked the story of Cronus overthrowing his father then castrating him. His second favorite was the rape of Europa.

surfed said...

That he had found Little League baseball instead...

richard mcenroe said...

A Modern Theseus. Um, no.

St. George said...

Re: Snowden in the flag.

Brilliant propaganda.

The Sovie, er, Russians must be loving it.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

Given the opportunity and, I suppose I have to admit, the chance to do it with impunity, I would expose every secret the U.S. holds, even make it impossible to keep any official secret at all. The most transparent administration made real. Since this ideal is fantastic, I would toss in everyone else's official secrets as well.

I would willingly do a great deal more than Snowden did. From what I can see (and who knows the whole truth, but what we're shown about Snowden seems genuine) he did it knowing that he would likely be hounded to death or even have to abide in solitary confinement or possibly be disappeared. I hope there is a second leaker, as the article speculates, and a hundred more. Snowden is probably the most important man in the news in decades. I'm waiting a while longer before I call him a hero only because I don't know how much of what is said about him to believe.

I believe this much; he did not try to remain anonymous. This makes him a better man than me, or anyone leaking in his name even though I'm thankful for every one of them. Snowden asks the right question. It's not what have they done but what are we going to do about it. Maybe we'll watch the lights go out in America with our sole consolation being that we knew a little of what was going on before the end.

madAsHell said...

This is Snowden's death-rebirth-deity transformation.
This was overlooked when Bowe Bergdahl was resurrected.

Paco Wové said...

"I would expose every secret the U.S. holds, even make it impossible to keep any official secret at all"

Why?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

As with insider trading, Snowden's actions being not only likely but almost absolutely guaranteed to happen because of the system's structure are the problem.

Whatever you do, just do not look into the abyss.

They have a story for you, so think and talk of that.

Humperdink said...

@ThreeHeaded: I couldn't agree more.

After the Clapper lie ("hey, we don't don't collect mass data"), after Obama's lies ("not a smidgen"), after the CIA gathers data from Senate computers, I want everything out in the open. Leakers unite and come forward.

And I don't to hear any national security excuses. These clowns have proven they are inept at protecting us.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Mike Nifong tries to murder three whites future not because the system demands it, because he was just one bad prune (apple if you like).

But nobody would defend us from horror without our betters being granted, from their birth to grave you shitheel and don't forget it, their just immunity. They are not just above the law, they are in it, surrounding it, and able to molest it.

Like without a King or Queen we would surely fail on our own accord, just ask us.

jimbino said...

The greatest threat to my life, liberty and property is my own government, I'm sorry to say. Far from being a beacon for liberty, it is pursuing a policy of disregard for the rights of world denizens.

Snowden is a hero, and Kerry is an idiot for calling him a "coward." Kerry's unfit to speak in private or public about anything we might consider important.

William said...

Achilles tries to compensate for the brevity of life by winning everlasting fame and glory. Later on we find him in Hades where we find that his mature, considered opinion is that it is better to live a long, dull life as a goatherd than to have a brief flare as a hero and, then, an eternity as a shadow among the shadows.......I think Snowden will come to a similar epiphany.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Bible would have been a good addition to the reading list.

Robert Cook said...

Three Headed Throop @9:26 a.m.:

Right on, bra!

Robert Cook said...

"'I would expose every secret the U.S. holds, even make it impossible to keep any official secret at all'

"Why?"


Because, Paco Wove, secrecy is malignant to democracy, a cancer that grows into tyranny. Secrecy is where democracy dies.

A self-governing people cannot govern themselves if their elected representatives keep secret what they're doing in our name, and why. A self-governing people cannot manage their own affairs if the managers--our hirelings--lie to us in pursuit of their own agendas.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I had him pegged as a LARPer.

Hagar said...

It is too soon to say what will come of Mr. Snowden's revelations.

I do agree with him that a number of federal officials - high and low - seem to have forgotten that the original idea was to drain the swamp.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

"Paco Wové said...
'I would expose every secret the U.S. holds, even make it impossible to keep any official secret at all'

Why"

Because, Paco, when I imagine such a thing, and in this I'm like a miner in a cave in imaging sweet air, so remote is the possibility, I think first of the U.S. - my country. I'd throw in the secrets of the Chinese and Russians and so forth but only for the sake of a job well done. The benefit to them would be coincidental.

I think this way because we pretend to be free men here while they never have done. The pretence has grown thin. The argument we hear from our rulers - I won't ever say betters - that goes "If you knew what I know you would see why I do as I do" is not fit to fool a child with.

Freedom looks to be bedding down for a long, deep sleep and if you could say why in one word the word might be secrecy. As just one example, why a free people can even hear the words secret court without vomiting is more than I can figure... unless... maybe freedom has had its day.

I'm afraid this is so. I piss on their boots. I condemn the secrecy that cloaks their crimes. It's all I can do, for now.

Fen said...

secrecy is malignant to democracy, a cancer that grows into tyranny. Secrecy is where democracy dies.

Dude, like totally agree! We should just hand the specs for our Stealth fighters over to the Russians and Chineese.

Thats the kinda things you marxists are after anyway, right?

Fen said...

I piss on their boots. I condemn the secrecy that cloaks their crimes. It's all I -

And that was the last we heard of him. Later, we discovered he had been beheaded with his own sword. From behind.

Anonymous said...

"..Because, Paco Wove, secrecy is malignant to democracy, a cancer that grows into tyranny. Secrecy is where democracy dies. .."

Snowden's words at a press conference from deep inside Russia?

Fen said...

Seriously though, some of you need to reconsider. There are many secrets that need to be kept so. Is the current administration abusing that? Certainly.

But arguing that such abuse means secrets are evil is like banning all firearms because of mass shootings, or banning free speech because of slander and libel.

The real problem is that our goverment (both aisles) is corrupt and has established itself as a new elite. And its our fault, because we don't care enough about it to turn off Oprah.

Robert Cook said...

"Snowden's words at a press conference from deep inside Russia?"

Not at all. Just the truth.

Robert Cook said...

"Seriously though, some of you need to reconsider. There are many secrets that need to be kept so. Is the current administration abusing that? Certainly.

Dude. "The current administration?"

It's every administration!! Anyone who thinks the Obama administration is an anomaly, anything but a continuation of all that has gone before, is trapped in a slumber unto death. The next administration will carry on in the same manner, and the administration after that, and the one after that, until some unimaginable circumstance may halt it.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

Open rule by decree is easy to imagine from here. It remains only for the people to demand it. Some do already, or are willing that it should happen and ready to blame the scary other. The stage is set. Those who will pull the trigger are patient while they are not challenged. We will see.

Fen said...


Cook: It's every administration!! Anyone who thinks the Obama administration is an anomaly -

Such an idiot. Is every administration in power right now? No. So what administration is abusing it? The one currently in power.

Although I should have expected people like you to jump for the "both sides do it" tu quo fallacy. You guys are utterly incapable of criticizing your own tribe, even if it means reflexively throwing what little principles you had under the bus, just so you can equivocate with "Bush did it too!" bullshit.

So please, no more lectures from Robert Cook about how secrecy destroys democracy. He doesn't really believe in it, he's just picked it up as a convenient tool for today's argument.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

I don't think RC is one to skip back and forth across this creek according to whether his guy is in office or not. In fact, if he was, and if Fen is correct that he's a marxist, RC should now be excusing what he is vigorously condemning.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

As for me, I call them all what they are. Criminals.

Keep watching. We'll see who has really drunk the Koolaid.

traditionalguy said...

Classical civilization was Greek, and it is full of male Heroes who are the sons of gods, or the sons of the the nephilim angels.

Snowden is playing his Heroic part. But Appolos' chariot will run him over someday. Nobody messes with a sun god.

Freeman Hunt said...

Russia and China fully support all efforts to convince our political class to declassify everything.

Fen said...

Lars is onto it. Sure, lets all declassify. Russia, you go first. Tell us where you are hiding Snowden.

Hoist. Petard.

Writ Small said...

Hero to modern libertarians primarily knows other humans through playing video games and reading fantasy books.

Where have you gone, Milton Friedman?

Humperdink said...

USA Today 5/19/99 "...In 1996, the (Clinton)Administration transferred the licensing authority for exporting satellite technology from the State Department, which had opposed giving new technology to China, to the Commerce Department, which immediately approved the transfer. Given the green light by the Commerce Department, Loral Corporation provided China with missile technology to improve its satellite launch and guidance systems. This same technology can be used to improve the performance of missiles aimed at the United States. Loral is headed by Bernard Schwartz, one of the largest Democratic donors in the '96 election cycle..."

As I recall, this tech sale included the specs for the W88 nuke-e-ler warhead. Why steal it when the do it above board with cash.

Humperdink said...

Nice grammar Humperdink.

"Why steal it when you can do it above board with cash?"

Robert Cook said...

"You guys are utterly incapable of criticizing your own tribe...."

Obama and his gang are certainly not "my own tribe." I never voted for him and I believe he deserves to be prosecuted for war crimes, along with his predecessors.

I was taking issue with your statement which seemed to say the current administration is unusual in the degree and egregiousness of its secrets-keeping. I simply pointed out that each administration is part of a nearly seamless continuum.

Moreover, to return to your first point, my point is that they are all part of the same tribe, ("they" being both parties and all recent Presidents). Rather than not being willing to criticize the current party in power, I'm saying they're all criminal usurpers of the people's power.

Balfegor said...

Re: Robert Cook:

I was taking issue with your statement which seemed to say the current administration is unusual in the degree and egregiousness of its secrets-keeping. I simply pointed out that each administration is part of a nearly seamless continuum.

Fair enough -- but it is an escalating continuum over time. Or actually, it might not actually be that it is escalating so much as that the machinery and machinations (the "broken" hard drives and disregarded subpoenas and so on) are becoming increasingly obvious because in an increasingly partisan political environment, our politicians are less inclined to keep each others' secrets.

Paco Wové said...

"if Fen is correct that he's a marxist, RC should now be excusing what he is vigorously condemning"

I will be among the last to defend RC's political opinions, but he is clearly not a tool of the Democratic Party machine (unlike, say, G. Mahal.)

Quaestor said...

Robert Cook wrote: Secrecy is where democracy dies.

Then Obama academic records must really outrage you.

Static Ping said...

Interesting that Snowden implies the CIA really was not a fan of Bush. This has been suggested in the past by various sources.

As to the mythology angle, which has been derailed here, for someone of Snowden's intelligence and geekiness having an interest in mythology is not especially surprising. It's one of those things that the geeks do. Love the stuff myself.

Now how this influenced his adult decisions is unclear from the paragraph. The concept of the hero is a universal concept and certainly something healthy to latch onto. Perhaps his self-declared heroism is misguided, perhaps not. I'm not really a fan of his, but I'm not really a fan of the activities he revealed either.

Now if he was truly inspired by Greek mythology as a whole, that could be a bit of a problem. The Greek concept of “hero” was not the superhero moral paragon that we are used to today. To be a hero was more about doing things that other ordinary men could not do. If you storm the city against imposing odds and rescue the princess, that's heroic. If you storm the city against imposing odds and rape the princess in the puddle of blood leaking out of the lifeless bodies of her parents, after which you drag her off to be your sex slave, that's also heroic. If you study the actions of well-known Greek mythological heroes, you will find some seriously morally repugnant stuff going on. The gods sometimes punish it.

Of course, if Snowden is inspired by Greek mythology in general, that's not a good idea. The head of the pantheon is a philandering man-slut who will have sex with any woman, man, animal, or other regardless of the consent of the other party; his wife the goddess of marriage is a spiteful shrew (somewhat understandable given her husband but she almost never comes off as likeable); the god of the sea appears to be striving to outdo his supreme brother in the sexual infidelity department; the god of war is an incompetent man-child who is regularly humiliated; the goddess of love married a hideous wretch because said wretch was a workaholic and therefore would not be hassling her as she slept around; the rest of the female Olympians are virgins or, in one case, a very grumpy near-virgin, leaving essentially no good wife candidates; the god of beauty (among other things) is regularly rejected by potential lovers who prefer to be turned into plants to escape him; a god who is essentially a divine thief; the god of the drunken bender who will have you ripped limb from limb by crazed family members if you look at him funny; and the god of the dead who may very well be the most well adjusted and nicest of this entire gang. Not exactly great role models there.

Anonymous said...

Love him. If I were his mom, I'd be so proud and worried...although I guess I'd have to have been a teen mom. But then I got the Antigone award as a kid.

Aaron Swartz, too. That one was our collective loss because he could have been a real time Founding Father: someone who had the skills, intelligence, and ideals to frame a root level rewrite. But when the system makes you a felon, that cuts your options to only the extremes.

Now there... Snowden didn't kill himself, although he seems to have absorbed mythical tendencies and perhaps martyrdom along with belief in the power, or even duty, of individual to effect change. He stayed around to take the shit. Does anyone giving him shit care? Hell No. They also worry that he's being glamorized, alive and wriggling as he is, and often wish him dead or crucified by an obviously broken justice system.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook wrote: Secrecy is where democracy dies.

"Then Obama academic records must really outrage you."


I couldn't care less about his or any President's academic records. It's the records of his decisions and actions in office, the actions taken by government during any president's administration, that is relevant to the people.

Robert Cook said...

Entirely too much is being made of the "Snowden liked mythology" angle. This was likely just the reporter's attempt to give some color to his story, to give readers a sense of Snowden's interests. Typical "human interest" background.

Alan said...

Mindless navel gazing. I still think this sneaky, narcissistic little s**t should have been quietly dispatched to the backroom at Satriales a couple of years ago, if you catch my drift.

Tom said...

Snowden is a liar. He said he was prompted to leak based on Clapper's "lies" before Congress. That chronology is wrong, since Clapper testified AFTER Snowden leaked. Don't forget also that Snowden lied to get his contractor job.

He's a liar and coward, plain and simple.

Second, all you saying that secrecy is the enemy of democracy have no idea what you're talking about. As one person joked, let's just hand over the designs to our stealth fighters to the Russians and Chinese, then. A good deal of what Snowden leaked has nothing to do with NSA surveillance but rather US military TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) as well as sources and methods of intellegence--a gold mine for an adversary. (And make no mistake, despite Snowden's protestations, that info has landed with both the Chinese and the Russians, whether or not he thinks he gave it to them.)

Snowden's treachery will cost lives. You may never know about it. It may never appear in the newspaper, but make no mistake, people will die as a result of Snowden.

For the record, I hold a Top Secret/SCI clearance and work with high level intelligence pertaining to special operations. I know what I'm talking about.