ifnormation

in yr internets, cloggin yr tubes

Man, Julian Assange Seems Like an Asshole

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I always had my inklings about him after those rape and molestation allegations came out earlier this year, but recent behavior has really solidified it for me: Julian Assange is an asshole.

A profile of the man in Sunday’s New York Times lays out the reasons nicely. He has a sick sense of self-importance and a DIY aura of grandeur that keeps him from seeing any disagreement as a good faith disagreement. They are all attempts to destroy him, up to and including unwanted sexual advances on his part. These are not mistakes, no, no, these are deliberate attempts to destroy his credibility and bring down his game-changing website. The Times hails him as the Internet-era’s great font of inflammatory information, and while there is little to dispute about that there also happens to be little evidence to suggest that he sees himself as this day and age’s great transformative figure. A suave ladies man (“They call me the James Bond of journalism”), the true defender of Western Civilization (“Mr. Assange said America was an increasingly militarized society and a threat to democracy”), a man with near infinite intellectual capacity (he is in possession of “what friends call a near genius I.Q.”), and the Church of Wikileaks’ sole messianic figure (“I am the heart and soul of his organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier, and all the rest.”)

Then he walks out on a CNN interview when asked about the criticism by his colleagues (minions?) and the rape allegations. Evidently he is alternating between these developments being dirty tricks to bring him down and a “If we’re not here to talk about my greatness, I’m leaving” type attitude. Whether he likes it or not these two things are part of Wikileaks, and when the Taliban finds, and inevitably executes, Afghans leaking Americans information, this surely will ingrain itself into Wikileaks mythology. I would expect Assange’s continued dismissal of these criticisms, as well, even when he is forced to confront them.

This kind of behavior does end up manifesting itself in people who do tend to operate on a higher intellectual level (one off the top of my head: Ayn Rand). “I’m awesome and thus deserve the respect and reverence of all those around me” seems to be a common meme among people like this. They become absolutely certain of their abilities and inflate their greatness disproportionate to their worth, think Crime and Punishment style delusions of grandeur. Not that Wikileaks isn’t important or great or changing the way journalists do their work (just like Atlas Shrugged remains a great and influential novel). It is entirely possible that in order to do the kinds of things Assange (and Rand) does (do) there is some kind of value to carrying yourself with so much arrogance it comes out in your sweat. Its what makes these people so interesting – and simultaneously makes them assholes.

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Written by Matt

October 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

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