Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
The Observer has been watching with some interest the recent flurry of documents coming out about the NSA's attempts to archive every email, text, phone call, shopping list, fortune cookie slip, mumble, grumble, Freudian slip, mirror glance, poot, belch and letter home to Mom and Dad from summer camp.
It's getting to the point where we're so worried about it that we're actually considering going back to the future of communication: using paper, stamps and envelopes, the envelopes signed across the flap, with those envelopes placed in other envelopes sealed with wax and the impression of the sacred, catfish-embossed ring we got on the occasion of the saying of "Screw it!" by the last Observer. It's time for desperate measures.
As you might have guessed given our role as Little Rock's resident Anonymite, The Observer guards our own privacy like a toothaching pit bull, even if we seem to have little regard for the privacy of the in-line-at-the-grocery-store conversations of others. It goes back to our childhood, we guess. Every offspring of our family, The Observer included, was a terrible snoop, always up in each others' private stuff, always looking for the muckiest dirt to use like a ball-peen hammer at some later date.
It got to the point where, at 15, The Teenage Observer finally bolted a hasp to a steel petty cash box we got at the flea market and snapped it shut with a brass padlock the size of a canned ham. There was nothing in the box other than marbles, a brick and a mocking note to whoever finally succeeded in crowbarring it open — just enough to give it a nice, enticing weight and rattle when shaken — but the distraction gave those looking for our diary, desperate, unsent love letters and filched nudie mags something to fiddle with and fixate on, which was a whole lot better in the long run than a lock and hasp. Did the folks who bought Ma and Pa's house some years later ever find The Observer's precious, loose-board hidey-hole? Who knows. Whatever the case: Fake 'em with the left, as Dear Ol' Dad used to say.
Though it's clear we excel at the mysteries of spycraft, The Observer worries quite a bit about all these revelations about the ability of some NSA worker bee to buzz up our emails, text messages, phone calls and everything else with just a few, joyless clicks. Is he going to find much more in there than The Observer and our Beloved having the "I don't know. What do you want for dinner? I don't care. What do YOU want?" back and forth, spiced up every once in awhile by some old married fart canoodletalk? Nope. We've got, with very few tepid exceptions, nothing to hide. Even more importantly, do we actually think that the NSA is going to care what Mr. and Mrs. Observer watched on Netflix and YouTube last night, and which shoes Spouse thought were dy-no-mite when she saw them on Pinterest? Nope, no more than we think that a dastardly North Korean hit squad is going to use that picture of our house on Google Street View to come kill us. I hate to break it to you, Dear Reader, but the world is big, and you are very small.
Even so, The Observer is not one of those ninnies who say: "I've got nothing to hide, so let them look." That's not, if we may be so bold, even in the same ballpark as the gatdamn point. Privacy has got that word "private" buried in it for a reason. One can't exist without the other, and we're of the mind that if you lose it for some, you've lost it for all, whether the Gubmint ever turns that all-seeing eye on the dollar bill your way or not. If The Observer has learned anything working this job over the past decade, it's this: Left untreated, injustice is the most contagious disease there is.
Now, if you'll excuse us, we have some old fashioned letters to write. The first few, we think, need to go to Congress. Does anybody have a stamp or two we can borrow?
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