We have come to a phase in the culture of man where we regularly swing, like the pendulum of a grandfather clock, from secrecy, subterfuge and prevarication to full, unadulterated, cringe-worthy disclosure.
Nowadays, it seems, there is no efficacious in-between, no pause at the bottom of gravity’s well to consider what we should hide from prying eyes or gleefully reveal about ourselves to the vast, voyeuristic social and mainstream medias.
And so, we learn about, in the one extreme, various lockdowns on simple knowledge, such as those imposed by the current federal government on “official” science – the ones in which publicly funded researchers are told to keep their trap shuts about everything unless duly authorized to gab.
These draconian injunctions invariably draw fire from the world community of eggheads, as was the case as recently as last week.
“Canadian federal government scientists are facing excessive and growing restrictions on their ability to publish and publicly communicate government scientific research,” the Union of Concerned Scientists, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, declared in an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “At the same time, dramatic defunding of many government science programs has made it considerably more difficult for these scientists to attend conferences and collaborate with scientists abroad.”
The screed continue: “With large cuts to federal science departments and agencies planned until at least 2016, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government need to hear about the negative repercussions of such communication policies and funding cuts on international research and collaboration. The challenges are similar to those faced by U.S. government scientists in recent years – but support from scientists has led to scientific integrity reform within the U.S. government.”
Meanwhile, of course, shady reports from determined provocateurs, including Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former NSA “desk-spook” Edward Snowdon, faithfully assure us that what John Q. Public doesn’t know about domestic government spying on average folks would fill several CIA safe houses around the world (and, apparently, often does).
“The federal government’s secretive electronic intelligence agency is not disclosing how long it can hold onto Canadians’ communications – even though its leaders have said that ‘firm’ time limits are in place to protect privacy,” the Globe and Mail reported in August.
“The strictures surrounding Communications Security Establishment Canada’s data-retention periods – including those affecting recognized ‘private communications’ and also ‘metadata’ – are blacked out from an operational document obtained by (the Globe).”
In the other extreme, we face a constant deluge of happy teenagers – and, now, their parents and even grandparents – blogging and texting and face-booking and twittering every minute detail of their private lives for the edification and enlightenment of the expanding ranks of the “who-gives-a-crap?” audience.
Honestly, who actually does give a crap about. . .”My 10-year old cat, Whiskas, died today. I am in mourning. . .He was such a fine animal. . .Actually, he was more than this. . .I believe we had a psychic bond. . .I always knew when it was time to feed him.”?
And now (drum roll please) there’s Jian Gomeshi, the alternately prickly and unctuous host of CBC One’s popular morning radio program “Q.”
Well, actually, he was. Now he’s just a recently muted blabbermouth in the wilderness.
The CBC fired his fine derriere when they caught wind of the fact that certain, ahem, sexual proclivities of their flagship host (whose yapping image has appeared, like a bloody brand statement, on every online platform Mother Corp. still has room in its winnowing budget to afford) seemed destined to go public.
According to a long tweet the other day, Gomeshi said he outed himself to CBC brass, saying, in effect, an ex-girlfriend and a fiendishly opportunistic freelancer had ganged up to embarrass him about his bedroom preferences.
The public broadcaster initially stated that the good fellow would be taking, what amounts to be, a leave of absence. Then, following Gomeshi’s yucky social-media explanation (which, naturally, went viral within seconds) and news that he would be suing his former employer to the tune of $50 million for, presumably, wrongful dismissal, the CBC changed its tune):
“The CBC is saddened to announce its relationship with Jian Ghomeshi has come to an end,” the statement read. “This decision was not made without serious deliberation and careful consideration. Jian has made an immense contribution to the CBC and we wish him well.”
Uh-huh. . .sure you do.
Since then, of course, things have gone from bad to worse in this oddly creepy saga. Nine women have come forward to offer what can only be Canada’s unofficial description of the mating habits of its very (if alleged) Marquis de Sade.
As in all such things nowadays, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle (except, of course, when it’s not) even if you really don’t want to hear it any of it.