The “Summerschool at the NSA” meme dates back to a correspondence between my friend and I back in the haydays of 1997-1998 (with Web 1.0, before the burst of the tech bubble) where I said that
Even the NSA doesn’t have enough programmers. But it is not likely that they will have more, and that’s because Summerschool at the NSA may might as well be the name of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s next movie. and he replied that
And as opposed to I Know What You Did Last Summer, it is going to be scary.. It was based on a hunch of what I knew about the NSA from fellow Internet people and from watching the highly recommended film Sneakers.
Many years later in 5 February 2013, I started formulating the NSA facts ( similar to Chuck Norris Facts) and somewhat later on 27 February 2013, I made a post to Advogato requesting Ms. Gellar to enter the NSA premises and document which wonders or diswonders she found there.
Eventually, on 12 March 2013, I published a screenplay featuring Ms. Gellar and her younger, and as far as I know, unmarried and childfree, colleague, Summer Glau (to whom I became introduced through the online web-comics xkcd, and who seemed suitable for this role). The screenplay mixed and matched xkcd, the Jewish bible and Jewish folklore, popular American culture, Buffy, Jay-Z’s now immortal “99 Problems” line, substance abuse clichés, Saladin’s long-misplaced approach to psychological warfare, My Little Pony, and more, into what is essentially a mostly-realistic, political story.
Soon after that the Snowden leaks were revealed on June 9 2013. While there may have not been a causation, there probably is a strong correlation, because people realised that the NSA are not-something-to-be-afraid-of, harmful, incompetent, and useless. While the Snowden revelations are probably actual, many of them are likely the deluded products of people with Manias, Schizophrenia or Clinical depression, which I believe most people at the NSA have developed due to the inherently secret, selfish, and dishonest, nature of their work there (see “Publish or Perish” = “Life or Death”). So it’s hard to know what is factual and what is a delusion without the NSA being placed under scrutiny and forced to publish their findings for the world at large (not just the USA).
So what do we do now? Here’s what I did:
I relicensed the screenplay and the NSA facts to CC-by to encourage derivative works under a different licence (including “All Rights Reserved”) — also as a way to stay ahead of the competition, and to “cast my bread upon the waters”.
I have done some publicity for the Summerschool at the NSA meme on various online forums.
I have written some Chuck Norris-like factoids about Summer Glau inspired by a conversation on the #xkcd channel.
And here are my plans for the future:
I encourage everyone to prepare video versions of the screenplay. I don't need Ms. Gellar’s and Ms. Glau’s cooperation here, because their roles can be played by other actresses or voice actresses, and I'll be content to also have a simple Flash or SVG animation.
I am going to try to interest some local (= Israeli) film-makers in my screenplay, because “The Gods help them that help themselves” and “If I am not to myself, who will be?”.
I will publicise me, “Summerschool at the NSA”, and other resources on my homepage, using online and offline forums, and work on its presentation. I don't believe in idly waiting for good things to come, but instead in proactively promoting myself.
I encourage you to help publicise my resources too.
I am going to remain honest, and expect my honesty to grow in time, because honesty is a process, and one must fight “The Ultimate Truth” or alternatively becoming cynical from within and from without because “All truth is God’s truth.”, and because it varies in time. You should do so too. (Also see the lyrics of Avicii’s single “Wake Me Up” which is a very smart song on so many levels.)
I will continue to reject the claims of people who claim that works of fiction, although protected by the Liberty of Speech, are necessarily “harmless”. For example, many words were written about how profoundly harmful the concept of the “Abrahamic God”, who is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and, yet cares about small details of your life is. They were quite ineffective until the “Ceiling Cat is watching you…” captioned image (“lolcat”) made it seem as ridiculous as it truly is.
Cheers, and may the NSA get their ass kicked soon! (While everybody, including the NSA, end up happier and better.)
Your remark 'How profoundly harmful the concept of the Abrahamic God' , rings in my ears, when I am reading about Carl Schmitt's 'Hamlet or Hecuba: the intrusion of the time into the play' ( translated by David Pan & Jenniffer Rust'.
Intro by Jennifer Rust and Julia Lupton:
Kenneth Reinhard comapres Schmitt's sovereign to the primal father in Freud:'The primal father and the sovereign occupy the position of extreme dcitators whose word both violates the rule of the total state and promises it totality, closure, drawing in the line between the inside and the outside." Reinhard urges the necessity of supplementing Schmitt's political theology of the sovereign with a more horizontal political theology of the neighbour. Whether we read the real in Schmitt as a naive and vitalist essentialism ( as Kahn does) or (following Galli, Turk, and Sitze) as a more existential and conflictual nihilism - and surely both are tendencies in this text - the real remain the source of the tragic in Schmitt's reading of the play.
xxviii 3. The Sovereign and the Creature: Schmitt and Benjamin
In The Origin of German Tragic Drama ( 1927), ... Benjamine both incorporates and seerely liits Schmitt's definition of sovereignty by marking the irreducible difference that hanuts Schmitt's insistent attempts to concertize the analogy between the sovereign and God. Unlike God, the sovereign of Baroque Trauerspiel is mired in a radical immanence that permits no transcendence, no aura of sacred presence:"however highly he is tnthroned over subject and state, his status is confined to the world of creation; he is the lord of creatures, but he remains a creature." The createdness of the creaturely sovereign ruins his capacity to command the force of the genuine exception. The creaturely sovereign is unable to achieve the authentic breakthrough, the 'miraculous decision; he is condemned to indecision and self-destruction since the difference between the exceptional case of the state of emergency and the norm can no longer be discerned. As Samuel Weber argues, on Benjamin's Baroque state, the sovereign figure is both hollowed out and fragmented, split off into the multiple personas of the tyrant, the martyr, and the Intrigant.
9. See especially Homo Saer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford Univ. Press 1998), but also Agamben's analysis of Messianism in The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans, trans. Patricia Dailey, ...