In Drafts, Film, notes, Revision on April 23, 2015 at 7:07 am

the center is everywhere

Start and end points on some of yesterday’s defining moments that inform this post:

At the mediatheque, a woman sits on a chair in the stacks near a wall plug where I usually set up my laptop. I choose another spot. Willy-nilly, I overhear her phone conversation during which she discusses intimate details about her own life and that of someone else. At one point, she says: “Of course, you keep all of this for yourself.” I jot down this stunner, and concentrate on the day’s exercise – reading through the draft for flow and sustained interest. The places where things fall flat or become too confusing, abound.

After the mediatheque closes, I visit a local family, then take in Laura Poitras’ Citizen Four at the cinema.

Privacy, disclosure, intrusions. The center is everywhere. Meaning? Good question.

At any rate, as I said to someone who was at the viewing of Laura Poitras’ film: it’s nice to know the good old handwritten note you destroy after use remains a stand-by for those moments when for your eyes only means just that.

Of course, I won’t repeat a word of what the lady at the mediatheque shared with me and anyone else scooping up information off her cellphone. The point isn’t the gossip value. The point is what people do with what they know, for one. And how out of widespread (not to say universal) meta-data collecting analyzed on the basis of suspicion of wrong-doing, an outside party can build a thoroughly skewed image about someone – while totally missing someone else’s footprint.

Way back in April of the year seventeen ninety-four, a man by the name of Robespierre declared: “Je dis que quiconque tremble en ce moment est coupable ; car jamais l’innocence ne redoute la surveillance publique.” * Of course, all those who were guillotined before he was weren’t around to make a case for or against that view.

* “I say that anyone who trembles at the moment, is guilty; for never has innocence had to fear public surveillance.”

P.S. And lighthearted laughter too? Oh yes, as much and as often as possible.


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