THE ANTEROOM

September 21, 2001

Welcome to The Anteroom, a project of Marmoset Media.

The Anteroom hosts the archives of The Net Net, an online magazine that was active from 1996 to 2001.

A LITTLE LIGHT READING

From an Indymedia open webcast

Posted by squeegee on Sep 20, 2001

"Ten proposed new laws for this crisis:

"To buy an American flag, you must present proof you have voted at least once in the last three elections (local and state elections count).

"To display an American flag in any form, you must present proof of voter registration.

"To wave an American flag in public, you must be able to name at least one of the following: 1. Your Senator; 2. Your Representative; 3. Your President. ('George Bush' is not close enough.)

"To sell any product with an American flag on it, you must answer the following question: The Bill of Rights is part of: (a) The Constitution; (b) The Magna Carta; (c) The Declaration of Independence.

"Those heard singing patriotic songs in public may be asked to show their voter registration cards.

"To be permitted to scream 'Nuke Afghanistan,' you must be able to correctly locate Afghanistan on a map or globe.

"To be permitted to scream 'Arabs go home,' you must be able to list and correctly locate ten Arab homelands.

"Those who wish to express opinions about Arabs and Arab-Americans must pass the following test: 1. Those who follow the religion of Islam are called: (a) Moslems; (b) Muslins; (c) Fanatics. 2. The holy book of Islam is called: (a) The Koran; (b) The Koram; (c) The Bible. 3. In Arabic, God is called: (a) Ali; (b) Allah; (c) Jehovah.

"Priority for purchase of American flags will be given to those whose ancestors lived on American soil the longest. When all American Indians who wish to display the red, white, and blue are satisfied, other applicants will be accepted.

"A call for war on a radio talk show will be construed as a public declaration of willingness to enlist in the US Army; callers will have 24 hours to complete the paperwork."

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NOW PLAYING

Enemy of the State (1998), starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman, is what one reviewer called "The Truman Show on the bad, brown acid." A labor lawyer is passed a tape that shows a government official committing a murder. Soon all eyes -- and ears -- are on him as that official's office works to get that tape and destroy the credibility of everyone who knows about it.

Robert Clayton Dean (Smith) is a good, upstanding citizen, a person with nothing to hide. He loves his wife and child. He's an attorney, but one who fights corruption and has a clear sense of fair play as well as a strong sense of integrity. He also has a friend, a nature photographer, who knows that if anyone can safeguard and publish this accidental evidence, it's Dean.

Part of the problem is that Dean doesn't realize that he has the tape. He just bumped into the friend on the street -- right before the guy got killed in a car accident. What Dean sees is that suddenly his credit cards are being shut down one by one, his wife is convinced he's having an affair, and his job disappears.

This shadowy government agency has awesome powers of surveillance, and it has turned them on Dean not for probable cause but to cover up a crime of its own. Dean's life is made a shambles in ways that don't draw attention directly to the agency. And it's done largely by manipulating information that people give away and that companies buy and sell every day: financial data.

Dean stumbles across Brill (Hackman), an ex-operative who teaches him what his pursuers can do. Can our intelligence services do even half that stuff? Some of it, sure, although satellites don't respond as quickly as they do in the film.

The technology in the film is half truth, half wish list, but the outcome is the same. You may have nothing to hide, but what if someone with the right tools wants to shift some blame onto you?

 

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