Dec. 8, 2010 at 4:46 PM ET
Why waste 25 minutes of your life listening to Salon columnist Glen Greenwald contentiously dispute what the best-selling author and former constitutional law and civil rights litigator says are "many of the misconceptions and falsehoods" at the heart of the WikiLeaks controversy, when you can watch a 1:40 -minute cartoon exploit the kerfuffle in meticulously-rendered computer animation?
In its latest interpretation of the news, Taiwanese animation squad NMA once again pits a platinum-haired Julian Assange against an Uncle Sam whose appearance seems based on a "Big Lebowski"-era Jeff Bridges.
In a low-flying pass over Uncle "The Dude" and Sen. Joe Lieberman, an animated Assange stands at the door of a PalPal jet littering Washington D.C. with thousands of purloined diplomatic documents. A cell phone text from Uncle "The Dude" to PayPal's John Donahoe and Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and then the two are seen pushing Assange from the plane and into the ocean. Assange is pulled to safety aboard the "Swiss Pirate Party" ship, but is forced to cartwheel away from the aim of a Canadian with a hand-held missile launcher.
Foolishly passing Sarah Palin's front porch as he flees, Assange finds himself in the sights of the former Alaska governor's AK-47. Other countries join in on the chase – and yet no "Yakety Sax!" Perhaps it's a cultural disconnect, but NMA did such a great job interpreting Tiger Woods' car accident, Lindsay Lohan's jail time and that one time Justin Bieber had syphillis (not really), it's hard to believe the seasoned animation news outfit made the rookie mistake, leaving out the "Benny Hill" chase theme at this juncture. Especially when the chase scene closes with a maniacally laughing Assange, who pulls a "Lady from Shanghai" dodge inside a hall of mirrors.
Quick cut to a police interrogation room where two scantily-clad women complain about Assange, serving what Jezebel aptly describes as "the primary media narrative about this case, which is that women lie and exaggerate about rape, and will call even the littlest thing — a broken condom! — rape if they're permitted to under a too-liberal feminist legal system."
Assange is then seen struggling with the police — supporting the overblown "manhunt narrative" that ignores how Assange turned himself in 24 hours after the warrant was issued — and pressing his thumb on the red button of a hand-held nuclear device.
This, of course, represents what Assange's lawyer described as a "thermonuclear device" — a massive file identified as "insurance." That's the closely encrypted file more than 100,000 people have reportedly downloaded, and will receive the key too, should anything happen to Assange. What happens then? Well, when computer-animated Assange pushes the button, the whole world pretty much explodes.
Which is pretty much all you need to know.
"WikiLeaks and the long haul," by Internet smarty pants Clay Shirky is pretty good, too.