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This has been quite some news day.  Our paradigm has shifted.  We knew, vaguely, that the internet would change things.  We knew that some of those things would be changing for the better, and that’s happened.  We knew some things would stay the same, and they have.  What I feared, however, what we all feared, was that someone in the government (and one can make the same argument about corporations that I’m about to make about the government, but that’s another issue) would take this wondrous new technology and use it to corrupt the very ideals of our putative Republic, that some faceless guardian of the public “safety” would usher in a new and unprecedented era of surveillance.  This future has come to pass.

The recent publications of leaked data from the government agencies responsible for keeping us “safe” have revealed that which we most dreaded: a surveillance and police state that Orwell couldn’t have dreamt.  We created the panopticon ourselves, walking into Facebook and other social media with a blasé brushing-off of the privacy concerns, leaving the information they contained ripe for the taking.  It led some journalists and academics to speculate as to whether we were seeing the end of privacy as we knew it, pre-internet.  I think that speculation was correct.  The corollary to that speculation was what would happen to our society in this post-privacy era.  Would the government continue to be bound by the shackles of an earlier time, which the public had so enthusiastically thrown off?  We suspected not, but we did not know.

Now, we have proof.  The government has shown disregard for the Constitutional protections against blanket searches and seizures, of the essential expectation of privacy in one’s private papers and affairs.  The constant drain of data from Verizon (and doubtless the other cellular providers), coupled with the deep mining of internet media, translates into a government that knows where you are, who you speak to, what you buy, where you browse, what sites you’ve visited, your complete financial records.  A government that could, physically, monitor EVERY American citizen, 24/7.  The only thing militating against that reality, the only assurance we have that such monitoring isn’t already taking place?  The government’s word!  The government’s word that it isn’t violating our Constitutional protections in its secret courts, its classified apparati.  We have nothing to go on but the word of Congress and the Administration, and with all due respect, those words are just that.  Words.

The potential for this is staggering.  The recent construction of an NSA computer facility in Utah, sinister to begin with, now takes on a painful clarity.  With the capability to not only house but to analyze the mountains of data the government has taken, it is now feasible for computers to monitor records on each and every American, in real time.  They’ve likely been doing such things already.  This is an unprecedented development in the history of our nation, of any nation, and it’s an open question as to whether our structures can survive this kind of challenge.  I don’t have too much faith in our government to reform itself, and most Americans seem uninterested in working to make it better.

This is not what the government is supposed to be.  It was created by the people, for the people, as an instrument to keep us from harm and to ensure the growth and prosperity of the nation.  Our government has come unmoored from its foundational grounding, morphing into a self-perpetuating machine controlled by money and agencies that outlast the administrations and rationales that gave them life.  Only action by US, the citizenry whom the government purports to represent, can make a difference.  If it still can.  Call your Representative.  Call your Senator.  Demand an accounting, and don’t let their rationale of security palliate your concern!  As Benjamin Franklin rightly warned us, any society that would give up a little liberty for a little security, deserves neither and will lose both.  We must not allow this slow and steady drift to go unchallenged.

Let us not forget the lessons of McCarthy and Hoover.   This kind of disregard for our rights is laying a disastrous trap for us, the trap of “necessity”.  It is a short step from collecting the information to using it.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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When I was younger, around 16, I worked in a hardware store.  A man came in this store every now and again.  Ex-navy.   Big man, barrel-chested and at least 6’1’’.  Being that this was about 5 minutes from Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville, Fl., this was not unusual.  What was unusual was that this man preferred to wear dresses and high heels.  He was large enough (I assume) not to get too much grief about it, but the mere fact that he did it was extraordinary in the context of the slow-moving “Bold New City of the South”.  I knew I was gay at 16, and I wish I could say that this example of gender non-conformity gave me the power to be myself.  It didn’t.  I reacted as many other closeted 16-year-olds might, by laughing and taking a picture with my cell phone while hiding in a different aisle.  That man saw what I was doing, and all he did was shoot me the finger.  In later years I’ve deeply regretted this incident—while I think it caused no lasting harm to the man, it certainly caused lasting harm to my own self respect.  So, whoever you are, sir, I apologize for mocking you for being yourself.  Being myself was not an option I thought I had, and however obvious I was about ogling some of my contemporarily aged co-workers, I wasn’t open enough to admit it.

I’m not sure how to feel on this evening, the night before the beginning of the end of college. I feel as if the time has raced by apace, so much so that I cannot recall even one quarter of what I’ve done, and who I was when I started. I still have yet to begin filling out applications for law school; I’m sensing an emotional block, because that marks the official beginning of the end for my career as an undergraduate. Perhaps I am being oversensitive on the issue, which has certainly happened in the past. However, it is significant. To me. I have changed in ways that I cannot define, and I think it’s for the better. I’ve cut ties with a stressor in my life, someone with whom it has been a pain to be associated for over a year now. I do not know from where this new-found assertiveness stems, and I don’t think I quite care. C’est la vie. Tonight, I finished reading the first actual book for my thesis. The topic is still undefined, but I’m nearing it. Religion is going to play a more important aspect, perhaps a shared religiosity among three key players in my time periods. I’ll have to do more research yet to determine that. This situation with my mother and the rest of my family must be rectified. I’m going back on Saturday and taking care of this, come hell or high water. I’m tired, of all of it. I don’t know what the repercussions may be, if there will even be repercussions. I’ve left it too long for there to be an impact, it’ll be anticlimactic. I think that’s for the best. I’m sure mom is freaking out about it. She can kiss my ass. It’s time for this situation to be dealt with, and I’m the only one who can rightfully do that. Tomorrow will define the character of my second to last semester at university. Goddess willing, I’ll be ready to face it.

I’m fair sure this is a theme, internet. I need to make a change in my life, and first on that list is finding something constructive to do. From that all things will flow- I won’t feel this urge to drink, to while away the time that weighs on my mind and my soul. Tomorrow.

Mon Dieu. Il a ete trop longtemps que je parlais en francais. Je espere que j’ai le talent encore.

The internets are a dangerous place to be, when one has imbibed too much to drive but not enough to rob one of one’s typing ability. I think that computers should come with Breathalyzers- if you’ve overindulged, you cannot access the internets at ALL. Yes. This would save people a great many headaches in the long term. I’ll speak to Cox about it.

I’m rather in awe at the self-serving bitching that comes through on this, reading my old posts. However, this was started more as an exercise in catharsis than anything else, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Still, I had hopes that my content would be worth reading. The best thing I ever posted wasn’t mine. Someone with more talent wrote it. Story of my life.

I think that I’m going to start on a short story. Gothic horror, in the tradition of Poe, written for my eyes only. Plot bunny: A woman sitting at a piano, picking out a haunting transcription of the Suicide Sixth as the house burns itself down about her; yet, despite this, she never once glances from the picture, sitting where the music would- the picture of her deceased love. What a depressing little thing that’ll be. I’ll have to wait, of course, until the alcohol wears off, can’t be getting a WUI from the writing police.

I cannot sleep.

One wonders if this is the product of angst, or a purely physical reaction to late-night dining; likely it is angst.  My mind will not be silent.

It seems that all of my past demons are rising up en masse to dog me tonight.  Visions of past mistakes slip by in a grim tableau that has my mind churning even unto the late hours.

I didn’t come out to my family.  Found that Fate had something else in store for me; a forced outing at the hands of my little brother to my grandmother, and my aunt, and my uncle, and who knows who else.  A new frosty countenance had to be developed on the spot; success was short-lived, but thankfully there was a gift from God in the wings in the form of a trip to Miami that put the whole situation out of mind for a few blessed days.

Now an errant question by a naive boy has sent me into a spiral of thoughts that were best left untouched.  Lying in this bed, replete with history, I cannot escape the touch of time or the relentless push of the guilty mind.  The guilt indeed lies in my mind only, for the past is in the past, and long past it is.  I’ve said what I’ve said and done what I’ve done, and now nothing remains to be done about it.  However, this logical reasoning has little sway over my rebellious subconscious.

My dog of 16 years is going to have to be put down.  Strangely, I am mostly unmoved by this.  Is this maturity or a lack of empathy?  I cannot fathom.

I have the desire to keep drinking, but I know that to keep drinking is only to make the problem worse before I have to wake up and face a day of classes, what passes for responsibility among the college set.  I need to find a job; oh, how that mantra has been repeated but nothing has been done.  I am worthless even in the pursuit of my own personal goals.

Mistakes, missteps and ugly words keep recurring in my head.  Perhaps kept is the correct tense now, though; the whiskey has done its appointed job and has rendered my mind blank.  Maybe if I take my fingers from the keys I will be able to sleep.  One can only hope so.

I must say, the catharsis inherent in this kind of thing has limited effectiveness.  Perhaps I’ve merely grown too accustomed to feedback, to pushback, to interaction; whatever it is, this anonymity and separateness has served its purpose and run its course.

I changed my profile picture on facebook to myself and my boyfriend.  Perhaps a meaningless action, but a large one for me, as I had theretofore been far too afraid of losing the approval of others by doing something similar.  It is time for honesty, it is time for truth, it is time to live my life as I know I should live it- openly.  Over spring break, I will tell my younger cousins the truth, and then the rest of my family.  Then, at long last, I will tell my father.  This is necessary, I am finding, to keep my sanity, which has been slowly slipping over the precipice, no matter how hard I claw at the loose shale of this mountain of lies.

Exam week always brings out the best in me.

I, apostate, faggot, accomplished self-denigrator, student and teacher,

Offer you these words of wisdom:

Never begin to create, for the impulse will remain with you long after the skill to do so flees, or is subsumed so deeply by bourgeois concerns that there is simply no opening for the mind to flow through.

Never love, for love is but pain, a cycle of pain that is unbreakable—the causation, acceptance and salvation of which that has been Mankind’s utter torment since we were cast unto this plain to make our fortunes by the unfeeling hand of Evolution.

Never hate, for hatred is a poison which is all-consuming, and it will spill over into all facets of one’s life, including the face that looks you in the mirror, with each line showing the continuing days, and the continuing failures to be as one should, casting aside old assumptions and living life for oneself and no other.

Never mark the passage of time, for it will come upon you suddenly with the advent of an idea, or the crease at the side of your mouth that wasn’t there before, and you will look back and you will regret every ill-considered word, every hasty gesture, every white lie that spiraled out of control into a creature that you don’t have the courage to slay.

Never write while drunk.

Another night wasted at home, sitting alone but for the cold comfort of whiskey marking its searing trail down into my heart. I feel like something is missing, but I cannot see what it is. Something about my life is unfulfilling. Possibly it’s the lack of a job, but that isn’t likely. I think it has more to do with the regrets that linger like tendrils of insidious darkness, poisoning any happy thought that I have like a needle to a fly. I look back at the time and travails that brought me to this point, and I feel nothing. But that’s only because I’ve successfully anesthetized myself with the liberal application of my friend Jack Daniel’s delicious concoction, which has been the demise of so many a good man before I. I feel like I have slid headlong into addiction and despondency, regret and longing for a future that three years ago looked, oh, so bright; now it looks bleak and predicted—there will be no adventure for me. No grand loves, no epic tales, nothing but the soft grey fog of middle-class oblivion. C’est la vie.