November 29, 2010
If this was a weekly installment of NCIS – the CBS hit series combining cop-drama, military decorum and a Washington, DC venue – I could hear special agent Anthony DiNozzo pop up with an outtake from I Saw What You Did.
Tony (played well by Michael Weatherly, in the top-rated weekly) is known for a few quirks; one of them is his incessant reference of old movies to draw parallels with current events. He hits those cinema classics with a batting average approaching 1.000…
You’d have to be a certified MB (movie buff) to archive an impression from I Saw What You Did. Made in 1965 by Universal Pictures, it was panned by critics as lackluster. Saturday Review said, “ Unfortunately, there is little for the eye, ear, or mind in [the film] …”
Contemporary scorn notwithstanding, time has formed a movie cult around the story of two teenaged girls who decide to turn an evening at home into a prankfest. They use their rotary-dial phone to call random numbers and announce, “I saw what you did, and I know who you are.” They never expected to call the home of a nearby husband who had murdered his wife and buried her in the woods. You can figure out the suspenseful gyrations that followed…
Fast forward 45 short years.
An Australian named Julian Assange is now self-described as the “founder of WikiLeaks” (much like Al Gore said to Wolf Blitzer, in an interview in 1998: “ During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet…”). Assange – on the run from felony rape charges outstanding in Sweden – has become famous for the Web’s answer to I saw what you did and I know who you are: under his direction, WikiLeaks is taking the world on guided tours of clandestine US Government paper trails. The American mystique is marred…
The term “secret” doesn’t mean much, anymore. In the timeless pursuit of power, it has always been assumed that powerful people would be able to operate in shadows. Over the years, public media has often been blind/deaf/dumb regarding the unseemly activities of those on or near thrones. That was “then,” but this is “now…”
Now, the paparazzi revolution has made it a game of Capture the Flub. If you are an average Joe and work at WalMart(after your stint at Lehman Brothers), the worst you have to fear is an appearance on Cheaters(the “reality” program devoted to “outing” infidelity on cable television). If you’re President Joe (or, in reality, Vice President Joe), your secrets are less likely destined for Cheaters, and more likely to land on the WikiLeaks website.
A principle, from time immemorial: people are held hostage by their secrets. Carefully crafted public images are forever shattered when “secrets” become “headlines.” Here’s a quote from Jesus; not archived in a classified document, but broadly distributed, internationally: “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” (Luke 8:16-18)
Let me contemporize His comments: good luck keeping that secret, Bucko. The question is not “whether,” but, “when.” The harder you try to cover it up, the more it wants to get out. God’s adversary is called The Accuser of the Brethren. Satan – the god of this world – is the master prosecutor. He knows where all the bodies are buried… and he often digs ‘em up at the most inopportune moment.
My counsel, coming into the Holidays: stay vigilant. Don’t let your guard down. Live like the cameras are on you, and rolling… because they are. Make your secrets G-rated. Do your righteous acts in service to others quietly, so that they will be your cover-up.