This is a privilege system! I know this!
So. KiwiCon1. This is a wonderful NZ security conference. I attend to keep abreast of the things I ought be afraid of while developing software; new attack vectors and things I need to care about.
Scary stuff, most of the time. Like having a NFC cellphone be able to pretend to be a credit card, being skimmed from somewhere else. Whether or not you need to be concerned with timing attacks against your login system.
But, we were also treated to a couple of movies; one, We are Legion, about the rise of Anonymous, was an awesome treat. I loved seeing what the culture of the digital age is becoming, seeing what tomorrow will bring us.
The other movie we watched was titled Reboot2 - a Kickstarter funded short film that claimed to be a true “hacker” movie. Espousing the ethos, not fucking up the tech, and being a piece we would herald as our own.
Billed as a strong cyperpunk “dystopian world” set in current-day LA, we were told that this would be strong on tech, and toe the line between the virtual and the real, of the people who “build (or tear down) our life online or in the cloud.“3
From tech, it was anything but competent. The theatre filled with derisive laughter on every instance of “hacking” shown; from Metasploit used to “hack” a win32 system somehow running on an iPhone, to “hacking” by watching code scroll by.
Laughter at “reading” code, and inserting a GOTO 10 statement. I wish that I was kidding.
But, what about the female characters? Surely those were better?
Sadly not. Reboot featured an off-camera rape-as-drama, with a minor character begging for the villain to stop, shown in the first few minutes of the film.
The protagonist suffering both a brutal public assault on-camera, as well as being beaten to unconsciousness before the film begins.
The rape victim? Her crime was to want to be famous on the Internet. She ends punished with compromising photos being sprayed across social media, bound and forced to watch.
There is no dystopia in this world; no dark underpinning of a world gone wrong.
With meticulous abuse of women and disregard for technology, what we are shown is a “dystopia” of the creators’ entitlement, a complaint that their voices are no longer relevant in the modern world.
A piece sticks in my mind as indicative of the entire film - “I don’t fucking care if you ate a pastrami sandwich,” posted robotically to the punished account. A broad stroke against the ills of social media!
It is a piece of privilege and entitlement, the antagonists whining that they are no longer “special” or interesting. That the common people would use it so meanly.
It is the privilege of their belief that others led “trivial” lives, deserved to have them spoiled. Elitism that their “hacker way” was better. I don’t care about your pastrami sandwich.
No one should.
This attitude is endemic in geek communities today; by being here first, we have earned the right to declare all future culture. That our feelings must always be taken first. The rampant misogyny in cosplay that exploded recently4, for instance. A woman is not allowed to enjoy comic books; not allowed to transform the culture or have the experience be hers.
All from the privilege of being here first. That our beliefs matter far more than others’ enjoyment.
Elitism drives these actions; they cannot be not wrong; they are just and pure, theirs is the veto. How dare you sully it with your pastrami sandwiches?
How dare anyone demand their own voice?
The final message, after rape scenes, physical violence against women, and incredibly inept writing? The bad guys win; no one elses’ opinion mattered.
The world will burn before they would relinquish privilege.
They deserved to, after all. They were here first.
http://www.kiwicon.org/ - New Zealand’s Hacker Conference.↩
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/11/14/when-gut-boys-attack/ is a good summary↩