GQ published an interview with Glenn Greenwald that is sure to provide copious fodder for his supporters and detractors alike. Here are two excerpts I found interesting:
GQ: You mention in your book that Snowden’s moral universe was first informed by video games.
GG: In Hong Kong, Snowden told me that at the heart of most video games is an ordinary individual who sees some serious injustice, right? Like some person who’s been kidnapped and you’ve got to rescue them, or some evil force that has obtained this weapon and you’ve got to deactivate it or kill them or whatever. And it’s all about figuring out ways to empower yourself as an ordinary person, to take on powerful forces in a way that allows you to undermine them in pursuit of some public good. Even if it’s really risky or dangerous. That moral narrative at the heart of video games was part of his preadolescence and formed part of his moral understanding of the world and one’s obligation as an individual.
NSA as Bowser and Snowden as Super Mario: fascinating. Do video games provide a better or worse moral compass than traditional religions? Discuss.
And then there’s Greenwald’s description of the upcoming grand finale of his star turn:
GQ: How much more is there to release—and what burden do you feel to get it out there?
GG: We published the first article [about the NSA collecting Verizon phone records] while I was in Hong Kong last June and won’t stop until we’re done. I think we will end the big stories in about three months or so [June or July 2014]. I like to think of it as a fireworks show: You want to save your best for last. There’s a story that from the beginning I thought would be our biggest, and I’m saving that. The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicolored hues. This will be the finale, a big missing piece. Snowden knows about it and is excited about it.
There’s a focus on optics that runs throughout the piece, including a description of GG’s anxiousness to hustle Snowden out of Hong Kong before the media pack found him: He feared that a picture of Snowden skulking out of a hotel with his hand in front of his face like a common Kardashian would undermine his pure whistleblower image.
Interesting data point in the perpetual “you assholes always focus on personalities!” vs. “motivations are directly relevant, asshole!” debate? I don’t know, but it’s clear GG understood from the beginning that Snowden’s image was important. Show biz!
Greenwald had some really harsh things to say about Hillary Clinton and predicted that women voters will line up behind her anyway, which some folks are taking as straight-up misogyny. I don’t think that’s what he meant — he’s criticizing the theater of identity politics to the exclusion of issues, while engaging in theatrics himself of the “there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference” variety, which is bullshit, in my opinion. But sexism? Nah.
However, the story also revealed that Greenwald really loves dogs. And I don’t have to tell you who else loved dogs…