‘Cybernfreude’ and Wikileaks

Wikileaks has long been invaluable. So I hate to think that in flooding us with mostly mundane diplomatic cables, they may have over-played their hand. By humiliating governments, they may have provoked the authorities into truly radical controls over the Internet. And for what? To feed the front pages of an increasingly tabloid press. Honestly, there hasn’t been a single revelation all week in the Slatternly Morning Herald befitting investigative journalism. Shrill gossip has trumped real scandal. The signal to noise ratio is so low now that it devalues and demeans Wikileaks’ other beneficiaries.

I signed GetUp’s petition in support of Wikileaks, but I ducked the protest march. I suspect many of the protestors are simply relishing the embarrassment of our loathed political leaders. Wikileaks should be bigger than this. The movement now seems to be sustained largely by what I would call cybernfreude: taking pleasure in the online misfortune of others.