Sun, 06 Dec 1998

Dear Mr. Wonderful,

I have now been trying for some weeks (albeit not very hurriedly, but...) to find out who Pericles and Demosthenes were. What they really stood for. I have been told that they stood for freedom, but, as I say, having not found much other than their names, but I was wondering about what they had to say, since I know that Wonderful Labs has an extensive library.

Consequently, I was wondering where Mr. Wonderful stands on the whole question of freedom vs. privacy: If you had to choose between one and the other, which would you pick to have more of, and why? What about freedom vs. security?

Can you clue me in?


Dear Alcibiades,

Pericles (495-429 B.C. (Before Condoms)) and Demosthenes (384-322 B.C. (Before Camembert)), the "Gay Dogs of Athens", were talented, roisterous orators of the Klassikal Aeon who stood for demokracy, logik and any well-formed youths that happened to walk by.

Pericles ruled as a prime minister of sorts in the aptly named Periclean Age. It was a time of law, stability, steam baths and sophistry (kind of like lawyering without all the slime). Pericles really put it to 'em, all day and all night. They say he could drive women mad and made men weep...oh wait, I'm reading from my own press release. Umm, Pericles also liked big strong walls and pissing on Spartans.

Demosthenes drank a lot and enjoyed cockfights. Overcoming a youthful speech impediment by placing poodles in his mouth and ordering in Persian Take-Out joints, he became the most famous windbag of his age. He thought Phillip of Macedon was a real hunk and war was a good thing, as long as he got to stay home and make sure other brave Greeks did the actual bloody bits. "Yeah, go up against this Alexander guy," he says in a famous speech. "He's a pussy."

Freedom and privacy go hand in hand. Nothing suits self-motivated behavior like total darkness. If I had to choose, I'd go for more freedom because I like having a reputation anyway. In the question of freedom vs. security, I'd also go with the big F. Security is an illusion, because Great Momma Chaos and her little friend Entropy are always waiting on the other side of the Wheel of Fortune. To sacrifice is fine, but not for nothing.