The musings of an aspiring carver of space

Killswitch (2014): Snowden != Swartz

I finished the subject film last night. (It's neat that the Internet Archive hosts it and The Internet's Own Boy, btw. The nostalgic post-feature walk down my 90s presence in the Wayback Machine was very enjoyable.) I liked it. I thought it was well-cut and compelling. I know I'm too old for their target audience, but I was put off by the conflation of Swartz and Snowden's causes; I think it's a bit of a stretch, and, more importantly, threatens to blur the clear lines between the two associated acts.

We'll never know why Swartz pillaged JSTOR — I assume, unless information has come to light in the last six or seven years; as I said, my mental health isn't up to digging too deeply on this sad tale — but TIOB speculates convincingly on the point, and regardless, no one was actually harmed (to the best of my knowledge). I think that that's a much harder argument to make in the case of Snowden: the sheer volume of data he provided to journalists — and, therefore, to many actors, most of whom don't wish his country well — defies human consumption (let alone screening for harm) in any reasonable time frame.

Still, as implied, I'd imagine that that editorial decision went down well with the target audience. And I very much consider Killswitch to be time well spent.

One final note: they included more footage from one of the Lessig interviews used in TIOB, and I couldn't help but think that, as a whole, that material painted the man in a slightly different light: he looked broken. Completely broken. After TIOB, I felt he'd been irrevocably changed, but was still intact. I did not have that impression as Killswitch ended.

End of Day 43

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