In light of recent revelations regarding the extent of NSA intrusion into people's private lives, I thought I might offer five simple steps for keeping your correspondence between you and your correspondents:
Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post takes first prize for the most strained rationalization of Mitt Romney's crude remarks to a group of fatcat donors about the dependency culture of half of America. Petri writes:
Didn’t we agree as a society that no one had any privacy any longer? There is no such thing as In Private. Look what happened to Mitt Romney. If you want to say some off-the-record remarks to donors, the only way to do so is to erase the donors’ memories afterwards — and confiscate their phones. (A variant of this argument implies darkly that any woman who ever exits the house without being entirely covered deserves whatever is coming to her. In fact, how dare she make her Womanly Parts visible to anyone, even her husband? Shame, shame. But the less this is dwelt on, the better.)
Petri translates indignation over a woman's inability to sunbathe in her own home without being photographed into indignation over a political candidate's inability to deceive the American public by concealing his too candid remarks at a $50,000 a plate dinner. It is one thing to argue that royal figureheads should not be subject to intrusive photographs in their homes. It is quite another to shill for a presidential candidate by suggesting that he has the same expectation of privacy in the midst of a political cabal. Put another way, while Kate Middleton's breasts may excite as much attention as Mitt Romney's (alleged) thoughts, there is clearly a much more compelling national interest in the unveiling of the latter than the former. Petri cheapens her asserted indignation over Middleton's loss of privacy by making it a stalking horse for Mitt's catastrophic moment of candor.