My friend Diane Mehta has a wonderful, and deeply felt, essay over the Paris Review Blog this month. Definitely worth your time to take a look.
There it was: desire was about self-awareness, about becoming uncaged. It was a not unfortunate discovery, the years after my marriage split, that casual sex could exist in the on-and-off world of custodial parenthood. It could take place freely without the awkward recognition that a child is in the house. Sexual experience could be immersive, even obsessive, and endlessly amped up in ways that the psychological necessity of married family life would not allow. But the mistake of sexual freedom, both in my new relationship and then, later, out of it, was to assume that liberated sex corresponded to liberated emotions.
Today, over at The Atlantic, Derek Khanna takes on the Fourth Amendment issues and government snooping.
The government’s policies in the NSA’s PRISM program reflect perhaps the perfect storm of public-policy conundrums. This surveillance seems to offer short-term advantages, with the real costs hidden, diffuse, unknown, and, seemingly, far in the future. What, many ask, is the real price of giving up privacy? The government has presented PRISM, and other similar surveillance programs, as a solution to a danger and fear — terrorism — which is almost impossible to comprehend: Terrorism is everywhere and nowhere; the battlefield is across the globe; the threat is omnipresent. It is difficult for the average person to perceive and understand until it is splashed across television screens. Terrorism is by definition designed to “shock and awe.” It is theatre of the macabre.
I understand the perceived need for this kind of data-gathering, especially in an age of free-floating threats and untethered antagonists, but once we move down this path, there is little to stop a more unscrupulous administration, or a cabal within the government, from using this data for much more nefarious means. And be sure, if the information is gathered, it will be used in every way possible. It may just be that this is the future we have all tacitly signed up for, that we’d rather sign over our rights for an idea of safety and comfort, but it’s not one I like. I would prefer to live with the danger of an occasional terrorist attack, than to live without any basic sense or expectation of privacy.
Now available for pre-order at McNally Jackson.
“When I first met Ranbir Sidhu, he was a resident at the Edward F. Albee Foundation in Montauk and while there, he displayed tremendous talent and dedication. His work takes risks, is often daring and imaginative, and I appreciate the intelligence he brings to his craft. I look forward to reading his new collection of stories, GOOD INDIAN GIRLS.”
—Edward Albee, author of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?