Can You Hear Me Now?

By Clinton, Kate | The Progressive, July 2006 | Go to article overview

Can You Hear Me Now?


Clinton, Kate, The Progressive


The credits rolling after Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves featured the following character names: He who smiles a lot, He who has wind in his hair, She who stands with fist. Costner's main squeeze, Mary McDonnell, should have been called She who has capped teeth.

People in the news now sound like the cast from Dancing with Wolves II. In one Newsweek article about NSA wiretapping, five appositional disclaimers were cited to describe some of the characters: He who declined to be named talking about the former director, He who didn't want to be named talking about internal matters, He who asked not to be named because of the matter's sensitivity, He who would not be named talking about agency procedures, He who wouldn't speak about internal matters on the record.

Perhaps the He-whos down in Whoville are Bush nicknamery in long-form, or perhaps they are observant members of an anonymous program to which George does not belong, but the final effect is that the Rove-cone of silence makes us all Guess Workers. Who are these people?

When USA Today, our nation's high school newspaper, broke the NSA story, I pored over its pie charts as if they were some recently discovered ancient cuneiforms of a civilization I barely knew.

But first I tried to cancel Verizon, they who "never stop working for you," and for NSA apparently. They never got back to me. They were too busy digging their data mines. That explains all the Verizon repair huts on the streets of New York. If Al Qaeda calls, NSA wants to know who they're talking to. Please leave your number, even if you think we have it. George (He who says they are not listening, just looking for patterns) Bush is resolute. …

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