Pope Francis Person of the Year


Wonderful news. The more attention his radical concern for the downtrodden gets the better!


That’s a reasonable choice. I would’ve leaned toward Snowden myself, but I can respect picking Pope Francis; as a non-Catholic I’m a fan of the issues he chooses to focus on.


As much as I was hoping for Edie Windsor I recognized that her contribution was less global than Pope Francis’s.

Plus, in addition to his concern for the poor, he once worked as a bouncer. The guy just gets cooler and cooler.

I would’ve leaned toward Snowden myself,

You’re in luck

Our committee did seriously consider other contenders, including the new Pope. But since Catholics everywhere have decided to act pissy about non-Catholics who are excited about the new Pope, insisting that all Popes have always said this stuff and it’s all just a huge misunderstanding to think there’s anything novel about him, we decided to snub the guy. The snub will probably provoke whining of its own, but that’s what you get. Also, homilies are nice, but Snowden has impacted the course of history in concrete, tangible ways.


I can respect the choice; however I think Snowden has indeed done more concrete good to humanity.

As popes go, he has good rhetoric. So far he’s melted one drop of water from the glacier of my antagonistic stance to catholicism [auto-edit shouldn’t really try to capitalise that - when I respect the institution, I will capitalise it - but that’s not looking likely in my lifetime. I will however capitalise Cathoholicism.] - he’s done that with his statements on firming up investigations on child abuse.

But not yet anywhere near far enough. I want priests and other members of the sect to face ordinary justice in the jurisdictions in which they have committed their sickening criminal acts - from abuse, to conspiracy, collusion to thwart the course of justice, and so on.

Words are nice, but the institution retains the vile stench of what is surely continually unravelling stories of the destruction of lives.

So actually, for me, it’s way too soon. I want tangible change and a real coming to jesus, that they may face their maker and cower before his wrath. Reparations for the injured, utter 100% proofing of the institution against re-occurrence, a total cleansing.

With that in mind, I find it hard to believe the institution would continue to exist at all.

That’s why it’s tough for him to be my person of the year.


St. Peter, ‘the rock’, started the tradition and allegedly maintains it in the folk-afterlife to this day.


techno music thumps in the background

You think you’re getting into Heaven? Not with those pants you’re not.


Sadly, Snowden’s revelations are at this point as concrete as the Pope’s pronouncements.

However, I think that Snowden has risked more so that should give him the edge.

Not really sure what this means. Has the US really denied much of what Snowden’s leaked? For the most part, they’ve been disputing his right to distribute it, not its authenticity.

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Been leaning towars Snowden myself, but I’m really okay with naming Francis.

Also, on learning he once was a bouncer (yes, the guy really gets cooler and cooler) I’m giving him better odds in my private little bet of ‘New Pope’ vs ‘Old Vatican (aka the guys who handle the shady financial transactions)’.

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Respect? No, not so much. His virtue is solely palliative - he’s there to say soft words and create the illusion the church isn’t the domain of child-rapists and oppressors (as we speak the Vatican is harboring Bernard Law). The church denies family planning to women in Africa, bounces pedophiles around to unsuspecting diocese, buries tales of generations of abuse in Ireland, and demands women die in the name of fetus worship. A “new kind of Pope”? No, he’s just better at public relations than Ratzinger.


Has the US done anything about Snowden’s revelations? Exactly. Until there is concrete reform, it’s all piss in the wind.

Oh come on Snowden’s revelations have changed everything, even if the change isn’t completely apparent yet. The dialog is now wide open, internationally, and everyone knows what the U.S. spy apparatus (and by inference, that of other countries too) is up to. With any luck (and activism on our part) they’ll never be able to get away with this crap ever again.

For example, in yesterday’s news, “Twitter, Facebook and more demand sweeping changes to US surveillance”:


And, eventually, they’ll get it. And they’ll be building infrastructure that’s much much harder to penetrate now.

This is a daily thing now. And you should be thanking the hell out of Snowden for bringing all this to everyone’s attention. And besides, at this point its not up to Snowden to effect change, he’s already done his part. The ball is now in our court, and its up to us to keep the pressure on. And declaring his revelations insignificant and ignorable is exactly the strategy the powers that be have been attempting.


What Snowden has done is break down the barriers of plausible deniability for the spy agencies and given people enough ammunition to counter official’s claims to the contrary. It remains to be seen if this can be turned into actual accountability, but it’s opened up a dialog that has been silent for far too long.

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These are the same companies that want all the same data that the NSA wants, so please excuse me for being skeptical that it means fuck all.

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There’s a huge difference between the behavior of a spy agency and a private company: if you don’t like what a company is doing, you can take your business elsewhere. When you’re talking about a global spy network, you don’t have any escape.

We have, miraculously, been given all the facts of what the NSA and their ilk are up to. If nothing changes, its our own fault for not demanding that it does. And expecting that nothing will change, and complaining that its all meaningless, is less than passive and cynical, its downright destructive and counter-productive.

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I’m quite happy with Francis so far. He’s essentially been nothing but humble and reasonable, and if anyone can help lead the Catholic church into the modern age with a minimum of kicking and screaming, it’s him and those like him.


Your point was that Snowden’s revelations were causing mass data brokers to “call on the government” (whatever that means) to change. (I’ll believe it when I see their billions of dollars behind their “call.”). My response was not that I expect nothing to change, merely that while these actors are saying one thing publicly, they hoover up all available data–just like the NSA–at the same time. So you’re kinda responding to a point you imagined I made.

Secondly: you can’t opt out. Facebook is known to make shadow profiles for people who aren’t a part of its network. This is not like choosing a car company or a cereal. The things that big data claim to want the government to stop is exactly what they do themselves. So excuse me again for not believing that they want strong privacy rights.

Until he tells the African continent that they should wrap their junk when banging, he can go fuck himself.