Conversation with Gabriella Coleman about her latest book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous”Posted: March 5, 2015
Here is the unedited 30 minute conversation/interview with Coleman, three times the length as the one published on CSM’s Passcode.
FE: I finally finished your book last night…. at 3 in the morning…. it’s a pretty long book… while I was reading it, it hit me that this book is really about everything that has to do with the modern Internet, so in that way it makes sense why it is so long… you have to provide context for all these different and new concepts that no one has really written about.
GC: that’s something that’s been interesting to see the reviews, a lot of them have been repetitive. It is about Anonymous, but it is about so much more….
FE: Like modern activism…
GC: yeah, and what it means for hackers… they’ve really coalesced into a major political force just in the last five or six years.
FE: I’m glad you brought the political activism angle, do you think there will ever be an Anonymous political party?
GC: I don’t think so, they’re going to continue in their guerrilla war fashion, but we will see more hackers in government, for sure. Anonymous has to be independent… there’s no way that they can overtly work with government…
FE: So, onto prepared questions… what does the media still get wrong about Anonymous?
GC: I am currently writing this article for this anthropology book about relationships with journalists, and how I came to see journalism differently over time, just as the same way Anonymous is not unanimous, the same can be said for journalism. There are much more local journalists, and some are fucked up, there are structural constraints, and it is the same for Anonymous.
GC: But basically, I do think a lot of journalists get it, and initially there was three things that were really difficult. Read the rest of this entry »
the author above, engaged in an “unofficial PR campaign” for Barrett Brown. This is my impression of him. Here is a fantastic video impression of him. Full disclosure: I’ve been making fun of Barrett Brown since 2011, before it was cool.
Since Barrett Brown’s sentencing in January, some security journalists are scared, saying the ruling in many ways criminalizes security journalism. Former WIRED journalist Quinn Norton, for one, has quit covering the field because she doesn’t want to be sent to prison for copy-pasting a link or analyzing stolen data. She wrote in more detail about why last month here. If you haven’t already, I suggest you read it. Now, I am freaking out — ok, that is a bit strong– I am quite upset by the ruling for two other reasons, ones that have hardly been discussed. Going to jail for viewing, or passing along, stolen e-documents is an alarming thing (and Brown didn’t even open the link!) but this has been covered extensively already. Brown’s ruling is alarming to me, and to PR reps, because it criminalizes PR, in this case for a hacktivist group. Another alarming thing? Being charged for a video you made while mentally incapacitated. I’ve literally done every single thing Brown has done (I made Chanology posters in 2008!). Am I next?
Rapists get away with their crimes using the “drunk” excuse, serial killers can plead insanity, but here we have the government saying that Brown, who was off his meds, coming down from a drug addiction and in a manic state (this is known and fact), is somehow responsible for statements he made in a rambling YouTube video. Great.
This is a man who friends have called “slightly autistic.” This is a man who makes videos drinking wine in a bathtub and yet when he makes an angry video directed at a federal agent, he is taken seriously. Please. Brown has always been more kooky bravado than realized action. The government making an example out of him, pretending like Brown’s insults hurt their feelings and made them scared for their lives, is a cruel and misguided farce. (It also makes the agents look like complete pansies… if they heard the shit talk competitive gamers sling at each other, would they be in tears?)
Just as concerning, is how Brown has been denying he was ever a spokesperson, whether official or unofficial, for Anonymous, despite ample evidence otherwise. Brown can say he was never the spokesperson for Anonymous all he wants but that won’t erase the fact that he actually was one.
A spokesperson by its very definition is someone who speaks on behalf of an organization, or in this case a collective, to the press. Spokespeople field questions, shape narratives, repackage and disseminate information. This is exactly what Brown did for Anonymous. Not only did he answer questions from the media, he guided and gave advice on Anonymous’ public relations strategies, helped write releases, and other PR rep stuff. Spokespersons tend to be former journalists, or PR reps.
We all know Brown is not in prison for hacking, because that wasn’t the charge and besides, Brown can’t hack his way out of a cardboard box. We also know he didn’t actually get “too close to the hackers,” because they hated him, mocked him constantly, held him at bay and strung him along. (And even if he did get close, he was doing his job as both a journalist and a PR rep so how close is too close exactly???)
Before Brown was incarcerated, he was a journalist, a heavily disrespected PR rep, and a guy who liked to talk shit and party on webcam when he should have been in bed. Are all three of these crimes now?
It certainly appears that way.
…and need to be removed from pertinent Wikipedia pages ASAP. Why? Because he has a clear anti-Hungarian bias and agenda.
Let me explain.
Tonight, while I was lost in a Wikipedia hole about Hungarian history, I came across some of Thomas Hodgkin’s thoughts on Hungarian language and anthropology from 1892, printed as gospel on the Wikipedia page. Not the famous British scientist mind you, but his nephew, who was a Quaker minister and banker. Just like his uncle, Hodgkin’s hobby was also that of an armchair historian. The writings of both Hodgkins were trusted, printed and widely circulated.
The thoughts of his that enraged me, in his book “Italy and her Invaders,” are as follows:
“The Hungarian traditions no more fully illustrate the history of Attila than the Book of Mormon illustrates the history of the Jews.”
Besides being outright offensive, this is a false equivalence. The Hungarian traditions Hodgkin writes of were written by Hungarian scholars and writers living in Hungary, in the Carpathian Basin, where Atilla the Hun had a capital city. One of the texts in question, the medieval Gesta Hungarorum, was written in the 12th century, incorporated oral history motifs and made mention of minstrels rhymes and tales from peasants. The book of Mormon claiming ancestry with the Jews was written in the late 1800’s, in America, by a wealthy man who had visions in his backyard. They are not the same thing.
Hodgkin dismisses Hungarian traditions in his book because, he says, most were written 500+ years after Attila existed. His reasoning is people could have embellished stories, and this makes their tales problematic and unfit to be used. Fine. I understand this. The same argument can be used on Christianity too but whatever.
However, reading further, Hodgkin was more keen to entertain stories of Attila, also written 500 years later, if they came from countries that were not Hungary, but say France or Norway.
The Hungarian texts cannot be trusted though, he writes, because there is no evidence that these Hungarian scholars actually bothered to go outside, interview village-folk and write down tales of Attila and the Huns. Rather, Hodgkins argues, these Hungarian propagandists were making it up because they wanted a “pedigree.” To quote Hodgkin, “all this invented history should be sternly disregarded…”
Wait, so Hodgkin thinks texts written about a person by people living where said person lived are not to be trusted or considered, at all?
As if that wasn’t enough to convince you of Hodgkin’s anti-Hungarian bias, there are more blatant examples in the passages where he writes about Priscus, the Roman diplomat who actually met Attila. Hodgkin calls Priscus’ writings on the nomadic king the “true historic Attila.” (As well he should, because they are first hand accounts.)
He summarizes Priscus’ detailed account of ambassadors from Constantinople traveling to meet Attila. They have to go through what Hodgkin calls the “recesses of Hungary,” to “meeting in a dingy little village in Hungary” to get to Attila’s palace.
Hodgkin continues to display his seemingly random hatred of Hungary with this next line: “students have discussed whether this Hunnish capital is… the modern city of Pesth, by Tokay [Pesth is old spelling of Pest, as in Budapest the capital of Hungary] … but we may dismiss with absolute indifference the inquiry in what particular part of a dreary and treeless plain a barbarian reared his log-huts…”
Yes, according to Hodgkin, whatever city in Hungary was Attila the Hun’s capital is irrelevant, as is the writings of the people that lived there. The “dreary and treeless plain” Hodgkin describes is the Great Hungarian Plain, which has been the subject of numerous paintings depicting its size and beauty. Of the Great Hungarian Plain, the BBC calls it Europe’s “cowboy country” and writes in its first slideshow image caption:
For more than 2,000 years, the Great Hungarian Plain (known as the Alföld in Hungarian) has been home to a rich cultural tradition of pastoral living and animal husbandry techniques – from ancient nomadic tribes who left behind stone burial mounds known as kurgans, to the fierce Magyar warriors who arrived in the late 9th Century and founded a network of settlements along the Tisza River.
TL;DR: Historian Thomas Hodgkin clearly hates Hungary, as evident by how he describes the country, and dismisses all texts written by Hungarians. Maybe a Hungarian woman was mean to him once?
happy to see Tila Tequila, one of the first e-celebrities, is finally posting normal shit on her blog. I wrote this poem about her last week:
was tila tequila trolling us
see weird al javkovich today
with his orb, big metal spoon
her first attempt, Asian stereotype?
MySpace is your space big eyes blink
sex sidekick turned into
Juggalos throwing poop amid big boos
Then you had the hitlers
the conspiracy theories like alex jones and group stalking
videos peering in at her space except now it was exposed wrong
gnawing off the edge
she was eating the ether, empty vessel
light rushing straight into the brain, frozen
by the side of the road in a symbol
mimicking the Illuminati.
I see the New York Times hates 1 World Trade Center, recognizes how bad it is. Good. It’s a piece of shit. I wrote a poem about it, how it broke my heart:
I’m angry at the 1
World Trade Center
an original vision stray and lonely
reacting to fear
floors devoted to concrete, glass bent
of sturdy solitary
crude fortifications, a reminder for when
they were two, standing there
looking at the sunrise on the sea,
out to harbor saying hello duo
Liberty winking, a memory
now just one
child of greed and ambition, scrambled shape
to hide the wound, steeled in place
a lifeless echo, echo of everything and the void
wrapped around a towering rod
reaching for radio waves and emitting
to the lost
“come find me”
gamergate best thing for SJWs prop OH
fourth wave feminist, network net worth
infiltrate the media in acts
you will see, it is about ethics in video games
bullies in headlights, right-wing vultures punishing harlots, men
harassing from on high, opera tune twist the knife
SJWs in IRC chat rooms
who is spy and who is snitch,
who is Queen SJW riding in the night
on brooms of illusion, in flew ants and army
gamers defeated by women on TV, how pathetic
rings the inner sneer
consumer cultured in a petri dish, cap it all off
with a ban on matter and polarity tricks
grumble, shade and nod, in ether out of acorns and Briar Wood
a struggle to accept what they’ve been denying, lying
what balance is here
and your tea
are the same thing
It’s been a while since I updated this blog with a post on my personal problems, as if you, dear Internet, were a kind and old friend. Maybe you are. I have some good news, bad news, and neutral news from this last year to share with you. And yes, my crotch is still relatively fine, thanks for asking.
Since my last post, I’ve managed to get health insurance this May through ObamaCare, though that was canceled last month. The government had BlueCross terminate my insurance because they didn’t believe I was an American citizen. The irony!!! Their issue wasn’t my birth certificate, but my green card number. I never put my number on the healthcare insurance marketplace form, because I don’t have it, it is lost to me. For some inexplicable reason, this little laminated card was super important to the government. I do have a social security number and American passport and pay my taxes, but because the green card number was missing, my claims of American citizenship were suspect. (If you’re wondering, I became naturalized when I was 16 somewhere in New Jersey, with my mom.) That stressful bureaucratic bullshit was resolved last week and I can now go through the delightful process of re-enrolling for health care insurance. Yay! Times like these really don’t help me convince myself that my life is not one big cosmic joke. Read the rest of this entry »