December 08, 2010

A Conversation About Wikileaks

Men attempting to smear the accusers in the Assange rape case are simply watching their governments attack Wikileaks, then taking out their frustration at their own helplessness on those whom they view to be more powerless than them. A phenomenon easily viewed in animals and children is made disgustingly visible in adults as well. Discuss.


=^skeptic cat^= said...

I'll be brutally honest with you. Granted this is a anecdotal tiny sample-size kind of thing but, apart from Assange's attorney, I honestly haven't seen a lot of people coming forward to defend Assange via the kinds of barbarically classic sexual-assault-apologetics. I've had post after post from all corners of the progressive blogosphere come across my RSS Feed from authors who seem to think that every other progressive blogger but them is somehow a rape-apologist. This is odd to me because I remember clearly seeing lots of posts from persons I thought to be rational claiming 9/11 was an inside job and that the Bush/Cheney campaign rigged electronic voting machines and all sorts of wild conspiracy theories and not one post from anyone claiming Assange's assailants are liars or spys or anything of the sort. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm not entirely sure the phenomenon of liberal-progressives willing to slander a rape-victim rather than admit one of their little heroes is, very likely, a complete scumbag is as widespread as many would have us believe.

RPS77 said...

It could be that, but it might also be connected to the conspiracy style of thinking that assumes that everything bad comes from big sinister forces operating behind the scenes, and doesn't want to admit that a whistleblower might also be a criminal.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Skeptic cat, Alas, a Blog, has a list of posts discussing the topic here: (Disclaimer: It includes my post on the topic, if that means anything to anyone.) That post and most of the posts linked there link to specific examples. I'm happy you've done a good job picking blogs for your reader, but unfortunately, I didn't have go far to find the one I reacted to. People keep posting variants of this sort of thing on Twitter and Facebook.

RPS77, I don't think you're disagreeing with me. What I posited here has to do with how the targets of ire have been chosen and the degree of viciousness displayed toward them, not with why people are tending to dismiss the charges against Assange. After all, if there's a big conspiracy including governments, those governments should be getting the same treatment, right?

Anonymous said...

I agree that your analysis is somewhat correct. I take issue a bit with your attributing a malicious motive to those who insist Assange is being strongarmed by a conspiracy.
I don't (don't want to?) believe that those who take sides with Assange concerning the rape allegations are doing so to vicariously attack his detractors by choosing the weakest ones. My wife and I have danced around an argument over this; she lumps these allegations together with the paypal, mastercard and hosting problems facing Wikileaks as though everyone is out to get him.

I believe that for many people, there has been a lot of emotional investment in Assange and the work of Wikileaks. People have seen WL as giving the Government their due, as a David and Goliath story where the pure act of learning these secret tidbits of leaked information makes all of us a part of David.
When my hockey team has a losing record I feel like a loser. When they are at the top of the Eastern Conference I feel like I am part of something grand. People who invest emotional currency in someone or something feel obliged to not just defend, but address the cognitive dissonanance that contemplating their failures causes. By even considering Assange's guilt, they in some way need to address their own shortcomings. They mean no harm to the victims, though their actions have the effect of harm.

In the same way, if a close friend were accused of sexual assault I would be torn between my emotional investment in that person and the insight that I may not know him on every relevant level; I feel that many people have assumed the least uncomfortable option. Like a slight variation on the Double Down. I want to update my blog post to make that point clearer, because from at least one comment I received, I don't think it sunk in.

Stephanie Zvan said...

I think characterizing this as attributing a "malicious motive" is a bit inaccurate. Malice requires more consciousness than I think is happening here. Most of the point of posting this is that if there is a potential for harm (and I think we've seen more than the potential in this case), we need to be a lot more conscious about what we're doing.

D. C. said...

Chalk up another one for black/white thinking: our heroes must be totally virtuous, our villains must have no socially redeeming qualities at all. One or the other, no middle ground.

And this is what passes for reasoned discourse on matters of world importance?

I'm trying really, really hard to avoid the metamorphosis into grumpy old codger, but it's harder every year.