Some 70 years ago, actor Errol Flynn as Robin Hood responded to the accusation “You speak treason!” with the now-classic retort, “Fluently.”
Julian Assange, whose website WikiLeaks just released 92,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan, hails from Errol Flynn’s country of Australia.
On Russell Crowe, I’m kind of meh, but millions disagree with me, so I’ll let it pass. But honestly, I would lasso me one Sam Neill for a hundred Crowes. (Neill grew up in New Zealand, but close enough.)
What are they putting in the water in Australia? Or, perhaps, what are Australians not putting in the water, like estrogen? Assange has that bass voice that makes women swoon. He speaks of right and wrong, of responsibility and action.
At first, the Guardian video of Julian Assange explaining what WikiLeaks did and why struck me as odd. The taupe shirt, the pale skin, the off-white hair, the absent background seemed like a video from long ago, or the future. The Albino Tapes: If you’re watching this, it’s because our people have disappeared from the earth.
But once I got used to all that white, I found myself mesmerized by Assange’s intensity, eloquence and sincerity. He means every word he says. Most attractive of all was the unmitigated idealism.
Sometimes you don’t know how much you’ve missed something until you see it again. That’s my theory on the popularity of AMC’s hit series “Mad Men.” The show gave a shape to our longings. Oh, 1960s, how we loved you — apparently. Deep turquoise. Hot pink. Chartreuse. Salmon.
Now we find ourselves sick to death of beige McMansions and bland cubicles, and even blander corporate-speak. Give me a bellowed “You’re fired!” from the boss instead of the quieter (but, in actuality, just as brutal) short walk to the human resources department, where you learn that the firm is restructuring and your position has been eliminated.
In space — or a carpeted office behind a closed door — no one can hear you scream.
The documents leaked by Assange reinforce what’s been forthcoming for years, from other sources. The war in Afghanistan cannot be won. We’ll bankrupt our country if we continue on this path. Soldiers and civilians are dying every day, for what?
Now the swashbuckling is by keystroke rather than sword, but there’s nothing hesitant about Julian Assange. His mission is clear and defiant: Transparency and a “populist intelligence network.”
Assange is the perfect warrior for the 21st century. In one hand he holds access to knowledge, and in the other his own faith in humanity to, once informed, make the moral choice. If that’s just a utopian fantasy, sign me up.
[originally published by Politics Daily in 2010]