The Riposte

Balance is important.

You’ll remember I put something up a couple days ago about Edward Snowden, and about how good and evil are just points of view, right?  Meet…  The NSA.

TED did a good job here of allowing a response from the NSA — the approach feels fair, even if the questions don’t seem quite balanced.  You can watch that for yourselves, you don’t need me telling you which one of these points of view is right or wrong.  That’s your thing, right?

The interesting part for me is the insight into the political machine.  At the start of the talk, the G Man is talking about how Snowden had opportunities to address his concerns without dumping classified information onto the Internet.  The trail of tears he describes is my fucking life.  Select committees.  Managers.  Directors.  And it struck me: right or wrong, the NSA, or any other government agency, can’t really respond effectively.  They’re bound up inside a really inefficient machine of government.  All of those checks and balances require someone at a higher pay grade than you to listen, to agree, and to make a change, on a case by case basis.  And let’s be honest: on a daily basis, they have 300 people in their office whining about something, and most of those people are fools.  How do you sort out the signal to noise?

get it.  Seriously, I have enough time getting my own boss to listen to me, let alone his boss, or his boss, or his boss, or…  Etc.  It’s quite a chain to the top, and expertise is not the driving force inside these decisions.

As a writer, these kinds of social structures are, uh, well.  I want to say interesting, okay, but I don’t want you to think I’m the sort of person who loves structure and collects stamps on the weekends.  They’re interesting because of their flaws, about how we make progress despite inefficiency.  It almost implies a story of a few strong individuals, hidden in the cracks, who are performing the actual business of government despite government’s best intents to stop them.

It’d be nice to think that Elsie has absolute authority at Biomne, and the way Night’s Favour is written there’s a certain truth to that.  There’s a hidden story of politics and skullduggery I’d like to explore in future stories, but without making my readers cry out and throw my book at the wall.  I’d like to tell some of the stories of hidden heroes, people getting shit done despite The Man’s best efforts.  I’d also like to make it interesting to read, and there’s the rub.

Back to writing.

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