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Steal Your Face: The Astrology of Privacy

Dear Friend and Reader:

When news broke that the National Security Agency was tapping telephones and skimming emails of American citizens, I wondered why people were not more concerned. This was in late 2005, when we also learned the same day that The New York Times had sat on the story for a year. We learned simultaneously what was happening, and that one of the great newspapers of our civilization had covered it up. It was funny, in a sick way.

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"Wet Pain." Click for larger version. Photo by Eric Francis. Stylist: Sarah Bissonnette-Adler, Book of Blue Studio.
But the response from nearly everyone but political bloggers seemed placid. Given that people often get upset about violations of their privacy, and don't like having their picture taken on the street, it seemed strange that the government and its contractors having access to everything we say and write in electronic form did not get people more worked up.

We're all aware of how much salacious personal material is exchanged on the Internet. Long before sexting (that is, teenagers using their cell phones to snap a nude picture and send it to a friend, who sends it to another friend until everyone is charged with kiddy porn and gets a ride on CNN), people were sending one another naughty pictures, explicit emails and engaging in live video play sessions with long-distance lovers. It all started with AOL, the first bit of the Net to catch on hot. Andy Warhol predicted that some day everyone would be world famous for 15 minutes. He did not predict that anyone who wanted could be a porn star.
The first thing I wondered was: what, exactly, would the United States government do with its massive database of pictures, calls, videos and messages? The obvious thing to do would be to make it available to subscribers. It would be the world's largest amateur porn site, called porno.gov. We would get a useful entertainment service and an important source of revenue for the government. We could even borrow from the concept of C-SPAN and stream ourselves live.
The second thing that occurred to me is that people were taking the news in stride because they were relieved. As hung up as we are on keeping secrets from friends, parents, children, lovers, the boss and whoever else, I believe living with the tension that we might be revealed is extremely uncomfortable, verging on unbearable. People who live under patriarchy already have a guilty conscience; the fact that we try to hide so much from ourselves and from one another doesn't help. (In homeopathy, weakness and diseases associated with trying to hide ourselves have a name: the sycotic miasm.)

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This edition also includes the astrology of the Italian earthquake, a look at the astrology of anti-globalization protests (including the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle), new writing from Judith Galye and the Eric Francis weekly horoscope.

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