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Julian Assange: Bad Houseguest
March 22, 2011 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Julian Assange is apparently a bad houseguest.
posted by everichon (76 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Direct YT link, for those who like to view inline.

Fun fact: if you play Radiohead's Bloom and this video, it seems fitting until the song gets noisy.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:51 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


He also hates cats!1!!11!
posted by Ad hominem at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I love the level of detail in this video. Assange carrying around copies of The Anarchist's Cookbook and Our Bodies, Ourselves made my day.
posted by KGMoney at 11:54 AM on March 22, 2011


Obviously a CIA smear
posted by grobstein at 11:56 AM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


"He also hates cats!1!!11!"
 --Ad hominem

MetaFilter: It’s about training vigilance.
posted by not_on_display at 11:56 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had the same problems with Lady Gaga, but did I put it on YouTube? No.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:57 AM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


That guy is just not too concerned with how his actions affect other people, it turns out!

Ugh.
posted by DU at 11:59 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have been in the same situation before. What I didn't do was record a smear video afterwards. This seems to be in worst taste then the original offense.

Also is this why the daily show has been so ambivalent towards wiki leaks. You'd think they would love some of the revelations, perhaps the writers are so personally pissed at julian that they can't don't even want to read stuff related to him.

Again I have been in this situation so I know the feeling :) . But making it pubic like this seems to be aimed more at damaging him in his professional capacity. Which is petty and unrelated. But we are all human I guess.
posted by darkfred at 12:05 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: It’s about training vigilance.

I love that he is trying to make a cat more vigilant, maybe he should continue by training Mr. Schmitt the cat in chasing red dots and puking on his owners bed.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:05 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It could also be a satirical piece about smear campaigns. Just sayin'.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:06 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


There seems to be a thin line between Julian Assange hair and Andy Warhol hair.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:08 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


There seems to be a thin line between Julian Assange hair and Andy Warhol hair.

The difference is that one of them is controversial.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is really quite funny as a low-key parody of the Keller smears. But are half of the comments in this thread actually betraying the unawareness that it is a joke? Or is there some excellent meta-satirical deadpan thing happening here that I'm not getting?
posted by RogerB at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The difference is that one of them is controversial.

You're just baiting me now, aren't you.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:11 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


i agree... nonsense if its intended seriously... mildly entertaining if it was a satirical smear campaign.
posted by ReWayne at 12:12 PM on March 22, 2011


There seems to be a thin line between Julian Assange hair and Andy Warhol hair.

So thin that it's a... a... a... hairline.
posted by unSane at 12:12 PM on March 22, 2011


Slow news day?
posted by tommasz at 12:17 PM on March 22, 2011


This is really quite funny as a low-key parody of the Keller smears.

Fine, I'll be the rube that admits I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about. Care to point me in that direction? I was taking this at face value.
posted by norm at 12:18 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Won't someone think of all the strawmen that died because this video was leaked?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:18 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bret Micheals will be weighing in soon.
posted by clavdivs at 12:22 PM on March 22, 2011


Won't someone think of all the strawmen that died because this video was leaked?

Many Strawmen died to bring us this information.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also is this why the daily show has been so ambivalent towards wiki leaks.

The Daily Show is ambivalent towards WL, because if WL exposures push the media into doing its job, investigating and exposing widescale corruption, instead of being another corrupted wing of government, then the Daily Show would largely be put out of business.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Also is this why the daily show has been so ambivalent towards wiki leaks. You'd think they would love some of the revelations, perhaps the writers are so personally pissed at julian that they can't don't even want to read stuff related to him.

You're aware that she doesn't work for the Daily Show, right? She's the head writer for the Colbert Report.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:30 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Care to point me in that direction? I was taking this at face value.

The media coverage has been full of sleazy little irrelevancies about Assange's personal life culled from grouchy former friends and journalistic contacts, like the ones this video parodies, whose only purpose seems to be convincing readers that he's not classy or clean-cut enough to be entitled to a place in politics. E.g.:
“He was alert but disheveled, like a bag lady walking in off the street, wearing a dingy, light-colored sport coat and cargo pants, dirty white shirt, beat-up sneakers and filthy white socks that collapsed around his ankles. He smelled as if he hadn’t bathed in days.”
Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets
Julian often behaved as though he had been raised by wolves rather than by other human beings. Whenever I cooked, the food would not, for instance, end up being shared equally between us.
Julian Assange: Roommate from Hell
posted by RogerB at 12:30 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


You know, I would never have assumed that Julian Assange would be a good houseguest.
posted by ob at 12:35 PM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


If I were Julian Assange and I were staying at someone's house I would take every possible opportunity to stand up, stretch, and say 'I have to take a WikiLeak.' Because it's a bad joke, sure, but I'M JULIAN ASSANGE
posted by shakespeherian at 12:39 PM on March 22, 2011 [29 favorites]


And I never would have assumed he'd be crashing with yuppies.
posted by gcbv at 12:41 PM on March 22, 2011


1. Comedy writers pen funny account about Julian Assange.
2. Post it to the web.
3. Video becomes a viral success!!!
4. No need to PROFIT; just wait to see who believes it's a true account.
posted by ericb at 12:48 PM on March 22, 2011


Does he floss?
posted by Postroad at 12:52 PM on March 22, 2011


BTW -- he's used to more luxurious guest accommodations.
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on March 22, 2011


It's also entirely possible that he's just a crappy house guest, and while it's very uninteresting to post a video about how Joe Schmoe is a bad house guest, it's more interesting when it's a known individual. I think it's entirely possible that while WikiLeaks is just great, Julian Assange might not be. And the thing is, it's much better that way. There has been plenty of commentary on Jimbo Wales but fundamentally he doesn't matter so much to the quality of content on Wikipedia because for most people he's not synonymous with the website. If Jimbo Wales was found in a bathtub filled with dead hookers, Wikipedia would go on. Ideally WikiLeaks should succeed separately from Julian Assange. It's not like Assange is uniquely suited to run this site.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:57 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


1. Comedy writers pen funny account about Julian Assange.

Um... no.

1. Friends of a comedy writer are recorded by that comedy writer in an interview about when Assange (allegedly) stayed with them.

2. Comedy writer then gets friends and co-workers to act out scenes based on the narration from the interview.

Unless you think the whole account is a lie from beginning to end.
posted by hippybear at 12:58 PM on March 22, 2011


just wait to see who believes it's a true account

It occurs to me that there's something very Colbert-ish about this form of satire as litmus-testing for audience preconceptions. Just as Colbert has a whole faction of right-wing fans — people who think the manner, rather than the content, of his shtick is the joke — people who don't get that this video is a satire presumably miss that joke because they think the joke is just the silliness of the reenactment. There's something both clever and slightly creepy about the way this dynamic works, and I guess is calculated to work — with most kinds of satire, if you disagree with and/or miss the satirical point, you still feel that you're not in on the full joke, but here there are other little jokes and exaggerations along the way that allow some subset of the audience to miss even that they are missing the point. I guess this softens the satirical blow and thus helps Colbert stay commercially palatable, but it seems a little comedically dishonest to craft satires so pointedly un-pointed.
posted by RogerB at 12:58 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unless you think the whole account is a lie from beginning to end.

I do. It's satire.
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on March 22, 2011


Postroad said: Does he floss?
like a boss
posted by lemuring at 1:04 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


BTW -- he's used to more luxurious guest accommodations.

Nice, the last shot was taken during the interview where the reporter tried to goad him into giving details of the rapes and he stormed off.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:05 PM on March 22, 2011


I don't think it's not a joke... the narration seems pretty genuine. And how surprising is it, really, that the couple in question seems to believe that bad social habits overshadow his work. God forbid that anything in the world should mean something.

Should we talk about our complicity in perpetuating empire that costs human lives, or make a web video about how the guy who told us the truth about the wars is a shitty houseguest?

Ooh, I know! Which story is more palatable and profitable? Let's let the market decide. Everyone has "news fatigue" from hearing about the death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, so... Bill... do you know where we can buy a shitty wig? I've got something really important to do this Saturday.
posted by notion at 1:09 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gah. I don't know if it's not a joke.
posted by notion at 1:11 PM on March 22, 2011


Won't someone think of all the strawmen that died because this video was leaked to make Julian's wig?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:11 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


with most kinds of satire, if you disagree with and/or miss the satirical point, you still feel that you're not in on the full joke, but here there are other little jokes and exaggerations along the way that allow some subset of the audience to miss even that they are missing the point.

This is the same with most jokes, isn't it? That's why we have laugh tracks, so that people know that it is supposed to be funny.

/not laughtrackist
posted by winna at 1:12 PM on March 22, 2011


[is laughtrackist]
posted by shakespeherian at 1:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How does a guy crashing on people's couches get laid so much?
posted by geoff. at 1:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If this is satire its more in the vein of 'lets make it seem like satire so we don't seem petty about a houseguest' rather than a genuine attempt to satirize something. If it is genuine satire than they both missed their target by a mile and failed to be amusing. So really not satire at all since the hallmarks are to amuse and point out.

Can you satirize satire by purposefully not being funny, and therefore self-referencing? Perhaps it is meta-satire?
posted by darkfred at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


But, without a laugh track I won't know exactly how to feel about something. I need clear delineations so I don't ever have to have ambiguous meanings knock me out of my trance state.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2011


You're aware that she doesn't work for the Daily Show, right? She's the head writer for the Colbert Report.

Was. She left in 2009 and is now a writer for Portlandia.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:22 PM on March 22, 2011


/not laughtrackist

Does 'Saturday Night Live' augment their audience's laughter with a laugh track? Sure seems to me -- especially during the guest host's opening monologue.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on March 22, 2011


I object to this video for it's lack of empathy towards Assange. As a chronic bad-houseguest myself I find this portrayal of insensitivity highly insensitive.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aw, Christ! Who left the refrigerator open again? And, what is this- a complicated location masked satellite uplink set up right in the middle of the living room!? GODDAMN IT, ASSANGE!
posted by Krazor at 1:35 PM on March 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


WikiLeaks' Founder Takes on Indian Prime Minister
posted by homunculus at 1:42 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


bad social habits overshadow his work

Is the (alleged) fact of him being a bad houseguest mutually exclusive of the fact of him doing valuable work?
posted by everichon at 2:06 PM on March 22, 2011


The inability or unwillingness to process strong signals of discomfort in others is consistent with the sexual charges.
posted by dgaicun at 2:06 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find this pretty uninteresting. It'd be mean if something like this could impact my opinion of the man. This kind of bad manners is consistent with what we know of him—that he's an obsessed, slightly translucent dude with a big ego.

It would've been better if they had dropped the narration and turned the satire up a few more notches, leaving the veracity of the thing as an exercise for the viewer. Like Charlie Murphy playing basketball with Prince.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:14 PM on March 22, 2011


Apparently some of you think Julian Assange would borrow this woman's laptop for his secret correspondence? Oh, yeah, sure, and he erases it at 2:15 "...and the way to erase something is he basically wrote a random string of numbers continuously until he had filled up my hard drive" (video shows Assange typing in numbers with index fingers) "We're talking like twenty gigabytes..."

And at 4:57, "Something about bringing in rotted fruit, but I don't remember the details of that." Lols.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:29 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it were entirely satire, I doubt they would have described the way he "wiped" her hard drive. He didn't actually wipe it, he just "erased the free space" after he deleted the files he was working with, to make sure they couldn't be recovered. The way you do this is you make a big giant file the size of all of your free space and fill it with zeros or random data, and then delete that so all that unallocated space is trashed. He apparently forgot to delete it when he was done. Or (if this was actually a Mac) he used the built in "erase free space" feature of OS X and it didn't finish all the way. Happened to me once.

I just don't think she would have described he'd do to her computer this way if she was making it up as comedy. That is all.
posted by floam at 2:31 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just don't think she would have described what he'd
posted by floam at 2:34 PM on March 22, 2011


Is "rotted fruit" a regionalism? I have never heard that construction before, always "rotten fruit."
posted by enn at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2011


(video shows Assange typing in numbers with index fingers) "We're talking like twenty gigabytes..."

The video is just their artistic interpretation. Obviously, he'd fill the file with dd or something in a few moments.
posted by floam at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2011


I have no idea whether this is true or not. I also have no problem believing that Assange is a bad houseguest. I don't really care whether he's a nice guy, as I have no interest in being friends with him. It is tangential to the (positive, IMO) impact Wikileaks has on the world.
posted by dry white toast at 2:47 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know, I thought it was pretty funny. I already think Julian Assange is probably something of a shitheel, personally, even as I believe his work is important.
posted by anazgnos at 2:54 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is hillarious, but to be fair, if Einstein was my houseguest-I'd let him shit in the bed. It's ok, he's Einstein.

Also...this just sounds like some gossipy folk who got themselves a camera and an internet connection. we gonna spread it like a viral.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:18 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is "rotted fruit" a regionalism? I have never heard that construction before, always "rotten fruit."

Yeah, it has a tinge of gentrificationer in it.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:22 PM on March 22, 2011


How does a guy crashing on people's couches get laid so much?

Maybe you weren't listening, He's Julian Assange.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:33 PM on March 22, 2011


How does a guy crashing on people's couches get laid so much?

Starfuckers gonna starfuck
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:01 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


If this is satire, then now I know how my mum feels when she visits and we're watching The Colbert Report.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:03 PM on March 22, 2011


This thread really needed more Allison Silverman in the headline. I nearly didn't click the link (cue eyerolling, 'Another WikiLeaks thread, again?!), but then I hovered and saw her name.

[Also, the director, Ben Morsberger, is the son of Rob Morsberger, who is all kinds of awesome. Not that Ben isn't, because he's apparently a musician too; I just don't know anything about him really.]
posted by lesli212 at 4:11 PM on March 22, 2011


You'd think they would love some of the revelations, perhaps the writers are so personally pissed at julian that they can't don't even want to read stuff related to him.

Or maybe they thing what he did is wrong.

Colbert doesn't like the guy, flat out. He asked him some pretty hard ass questions, when he was on there and I got the strong feeling that he was pro-troops in Iraq after the visit. Asked about the privacy rights of the pilots, called him out on the edited nature of the video. Not the normal "I pretend to be against this but I'm really for it" dumb questions that point out how dumb the right wing noise machine is.

Also zero evidence it is satire, multiple statements that it is true. This would be actionable if false, as it certainly gives the watcher the idea that it is true and that it is not satire at all.

But people want to believe this guy is a guy who really thinks about the effect he has on others and I think the record shows otherwise. I'm not even talking about the sex charges. I'm talking about his terrible treatment of the NGO's who expressed concern about their in-country workers being exposed to danger. He told them they ought to spend their dollars to clean up his mess.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:20 PM on March 22, 2011


The media coverage has been full of sleazy little irrelevancies about Assange's personal life culled from grouchy former friends and journalistic contacts, like the ones this video parodies, whose only purpose seems to be convincing readers that he's not classy or clean-cut enough to be entitled to a place in politics

Seems to be a lot of those types, eh? Including, say the very guy who did the actual programming for wikileaks and left to create openleaks, a much better organization.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:21 PM on March 22, 2011


Heh.

C'mon, guys, I can admit that Miles Davis was a massive asshole and still like his music. It's kind of sad to watch people create giant elaborate meta-satires to justify this video. Yeah, this is making fun of the Vanity Fair article — it's impossible that both the Vanity Fair article and this video are accurate and Assange really is kind of a socially-remedial tool in real life, because a computer geek with poor social skills is a black swan.

(Also, the real Assange always looks like a baby Bill Maher to me.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:20 PM on March 22, 2011


Ironmouth, completely agree with you on all counts.
He mishandled the data, the media mishandled it and him. But wikileaks != assange. Wikileaks is really about creating a place where people can share information like this and know it will eventually come to light.

From this perspective things like this video seem like strawman attacks against wikileaks credibility.
posted by darkfred at 5:25 PM on March 22, 2011


Why doesn't WikiLeaks have anybody else to be a public spokesperson, somebody who those of us who don't respect Assange could respect? Or is this an intentional thing to make him a lightning rod for negativity while the rest of the organization does its much-needed work in safe obscurity? I worry that he may be as important to the organization as he claims to be (and he is the main reason some former WikiLeakers are building separate Leaks groups).
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:42 PM on March 22, 2011


[comment removed - this is not the cue for your rape jokes. go directly to metatalk if that's how you feel like interacting with the community.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:58 PM on March 22, 2011


You know who else was a horrible houseguest? Paul Erdös. Still, society is better off with his contributions.

"Once I spent a few days with Paul," said Janos Path, a fellow Hungarian emigre. "When I entered the kitchen in the evening, I was met with a horrible sight. The floor was covered by pools of blood-like red liquid. The trail led to the refrigerator. I opened the door, and to my great surprise saw a carton of tomato juice on its side with a gaping hole. Paul must have felt thirsty and, after some reflection, decided to get the juice out of the carton by stabbing it with a big knife."
posted by formless at 6:43 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why doesn't WikiLeaks have anybody else to be a public spokesperson

It appears as though WikiLeaks is completely dominated by Assange, so that doesn't seem likely. While at some point there might have been more to the organization, it shows every indication of being a cult of personality centered around him, where would-be challengers have been pushed out or to the periphery.

As Ironmouth alluded to, several people from the Wikileaks team have left and created an alternative organization, Openleaks, which is pretty much Wikileaks with some democratic tweaks to keep it from being co-opted by a single person, and an increased focus on source safety. Both changes seem like improvements to me.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:53 PM on March 22, 2011


PERTH, AUSTRALIA–First, the Right accused WikiLeaks of endangering US soldiers and Afghan informers. Then after “Cablegate” the neocons conceded to the lack of evidence and switched to the opposite tactic: insisting there was nothing exciting at all about Julian Assange’s leaks. Spectator editorials appeared, claiming we already knew Sarkozy was a narcissist and Berlusconi was a womaniser. This didn’t work either. The cables had a lot of new information about DynCorp bribing Afghan police with “dancing boys” and Mubarak telling the US to install a “fair dictator” in Iraq.

Now a much easier way to discredit WikiLeaks has emerged: attacking Assange as a human being. It’s easy because there’s no need to touch any wider political issues. It’s damaging because (regardless of how right he is) Assange still needs technicians to work for him and a well-timed mutiny could hurt his organisation more than any external pressure. Worse, the man probably is a dickhead. He’s a brave dickhead, a talented dickhead, a necessary dickhead. He has a better chance of crippling the war effort than any of his competitors. But none of that makes him easy to work with. And WikiLeaks doesn’t just need volunteers, but extremely skilled ones who can maintain large servers and keep them running after all sorts of cyber attacks. (more…)
posted by clarknova at 12:40 AM on March 23, 2011


The Daily Show is ambivalent towards WL, because if WL exposures push the media into doing its job, investigating and exposing widescale corruption, instead of being another corrupted wing of government, then the Daily Show would largely be put out of business.
I think it's the same thing that a lot of supposedly liberal members of the establishment worry about with Assange. Read Bruce Sterling's article about Assange, which I think encapsulates it. They realize they are the beneficiaries of all this stuff and don't really know if they want it to go away, and they don't like actually looking at what's going on in their names. I don't really think it's a question of the Daily Show running out of material.

As far as this video: is it actually satire of smears, or is it meant as fodder for assange haters to mock him? It actually works both ways and for all we know the writers were ambivalent about him. I mean, "I think Wikileaks is good, but I was really annoyed when he was staying with us in our tiny apartment". I thought it was pretty funny.
Colbert doesn't like the guy, flat out. He asked him some pretty hard ass questions, when he was on there and I got the strong feeling that he was pro-troops in Iraq after the visit. Asked about the privacy rights of the pilots, called him out on the edited nature of the video. Not the normal "I pretend to be against this but I'm really for it" dumb questions that point out how dumb the right wing noise machine is.
Yawn. You're doing what conservative idiots do when they assume Colbert agrees with them because he says the things they thing. We have no way of knowing what Colbert actually thinks, stop pretending you do.

Anyway. Think about a presidential campaign, you know how both sides sling a ridiculous amount of mud at eachother? Imagine that, except with no way to defend yourself. That's character assassination. If Assange had a multimillion dollar PR campaign to defend himself opinions probably wouldn't be so negative.
posted by delmoi at 3:57 AM on March 23, 2011


A Poem about Julian Assange Dancing, in Five Parts
posted by homunculus at 8:57 AM on April 3, 2011


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