Saturday, December 7, 2013

Edward Snowden's Neighbor: Spying in America

by Meg Sonata

When I was a teenager living in Cassadaga, NY, a tiny village in Western New York State, I experienced the same oversight described in Der Spiegel today. The title of their lead article shows the same editorial restraint which characterizes this detailed expose. It might have been sensationally labeled "Paranoia and Xenophobia in America." Instead, it quietly introduces "Woman at the Window: Judging Edward Snowden from Next Door."

The woman of the title is Joyce Kinsey, whose occupation appears to be unemployed hairdresser in Der Spiegel's expose, but should be recorded as "spying on her neighbors." With a clear sense of entitlement to know her neighbors' every move and intention, Mrs. Kinsey innocently lays out for the author, Alexander Osang, a recipe for fascism which will leave Germans screaming after their WWII experience with neighbors reporting suspicious activity to Hitler's faithful followers, especially his storm troopers with the death's head on their helmets, the dreaded SS. 

Osang doesn't need to state that this woman doesn't watch the History Channel or read Der Spiegel. There, 
regular features appear addressing Germans' prolonged attempt to come to terms with loyal citizens sending 
their fellow human beings straight to the gas chambers and mass murder pits. Her world view derives strictly 
from the American mass media, along with the proclamations and suspicions of her relatives, according to her own statements in Osang's numerous direct quotations. 

The more one reads of Osang's litany of Kinsey's complaints against Snowden, the more horrific her isolation becomes. She is propelled into the spotlight only due to a whistle-blower's determination to examine US surveillance practices. Thus, she unconsciously reveals the ignorance of a popular base supporting spying on everyone and his mother worldwide, without a single consideration for the consequences of mindless nosiness. Nathaniel Hawthorne had Kinsey's number in The Scarlet Letter, but how many Americans have read that expose recently, too?

This writer has read that masterpiece, as well as Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and Shakespeare's Macbeth, where ancient women stir the pot of trouble whenever they can. Her own case of neighborly surveillance defied that stereotype, since a lone man spread the blinds in the house next door every time she came home from a date. He very obviously, too, shut the blinds when she entered her house. God knows the latest employment figures in the US don't begin to assess the need for worthwhile jobs in the United States of America. 

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