November 3rd, 2002


Last night, I watched the movie Sneakers. It was released in the early 1990's--1992, I believe--and stars, among others, Robert Redford, River Phoenix, Dan Ackroyd, Sidney Poitier, and Mary McDonnell. It's probably one of my favourite movies, I think.

The plot: Robert Redford's character Martin Bishop is the head of a group of experts who specialise in testing security systems. Actually, he isn't Bishop, or at least he isn't known by that name; rather, his birth last name was Bryce, dropped since he had to go undercover following an early 1970's hacking exercise inspired by 1960's vintage radicalism. (At least he escaped; his best friend an dcolleague died in prison.) He's blackmailed by government agents into stealing a top secret black box. They find out, after they recover the box, that it has the capability to decode all existing encryption systems around the world. After they hand the box over, they learn that the agents who hired them didn't work for the Government after all; or, at least not their government. Or at least not the State.

Sneakers is very much a movie of the early 1990's, inasmuch as its plot held that geopolitical/ideological competitions like the Cold war were gone forever, and that in the future, efforts to control and direct the flow of information would be the main sources of conflict. It isn't to be faulted for this, since that seems to be what everyone suspected. Arguably, the current world order--basically, a unified global economy with a fragmented polity dominated by the United States--comes close to Sneakers's vision anyway.

And the power of the chip--the ultimate decryption device--is certainly highly relevant. Still more important than information is the question who has access to inform. Destroying the selective secrecy of information would change things radically. An open-source copyright-less future?

Sneakers's ending was a bit weak, I fear--things ended on much too happy a note. Still, it is a fun movie.

Family Affairs as of Late

Friday afternoon, I talked with Dr. Diviney. Dr. Diviney is a professor in UPEI's English department; I've taken several classes from her, and I'd like to consider her a friend. I'd seen her in Main building that afternoon, and--perhaps foolishly?--I corralled her and asked her advice as to how to approach Mom (as a mother herself of children in my age group). She was quite good, although she couldn't offer much advice: She did suggest that I might want to move out, if only to minimize
the points of friction with Mom. I'm not going to do that, of course; I'm not going to get driven out of my own home.

(Afterwards, I chatted with Tom; or, rather, I vented. Sorry for that, Tom.)

Friday evening, as I was watching The Secret Garden, I talked to my sister, Michelle. She conceded that I had some serious and justifiable issues with Mom , but she suggested that I should try to understand their position, somehow. I'm still not entirely sure what she means, though.

Saturday morning, I talked with Dad as we drove into town. He agreed that Mom can be pushy, but he suggested that I should just ignore her, and that talking with her briefly would go some way to assuaging her. (As in, sharing the pleasantries that usually end up with her accusing me of failing something, somehow.)


Perhaps Derrick was right: Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered outing myself to my parents, at least not until after I left, in the name of social peace.

But then, if my relations with Mom in particular were bound to break, better that they should now than before I place any critical stress on them. Certainly remaining distant from them without them knowing for another year would have been painful.

But then, Mom is my mother.

But then, I've been justifiably angry with Mom--a cold anger, I suppose--since, oh, I don't know, mid-September. She picks, and picks, and I don't see any reason to spend more time in her presence than I have to because she's ultimately demoralizing.

But then, I don't think I'm in any position to judge.

Everyone else? I'm quite open to suggestions.