As the media obsession over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange chugs on, the public has been treated to a daily deluge of articles analyzing the most trifling minutia of his personal life. Journalists have scoured the archives of Assange's online dating profiles, scored blockbuster interviews with his love-struck interns, and documented the evolution of his hairstyles throughout the years via slideshows.
But despite all of this, the media has yet to come to a consensus on one question: Who or what does Julian Assange remind us of? Numerous comparisons have been made (is he Jason Bourne? Is he a James Bond villain?), but not all of them have stuck. Here is a list of the top ten worst Assange metaphors we've come across:
1. Assange is the “Scarlet Pimpernel” of cyberspace: “[A] vagabond warrior wreathed in deadly cool. Give him a sombrero and replace his BlackBerry with a smoking carbine, and it isn't hard to imagine him holed up in the hills with the wrote William Langley in The Telegraph.
2. Assange is a benevolent celestial being here to rescue civilization. “Under the studio lights, he can seem—with his spectral white hair, pallid skin, cool eyes, and expansive forehead—like a rail-thin being who has rocketed to Earth to deliver humanity some hidden truth. This impression is magnified by his rigid demeanor and his baritone voice, which he deploys slowly, at low volume,” wrote Mark Hosenball at Reuters.
3. Assange is Ned Kelly, the legendary Australian bushwhacker of yore: “Like the 19th-century outlaw, the 21st-century incarnation has his hideouts, sympathisers and accomplices. In the digital age, though, the weapon is a website; the bullets, information. The problem for today's enforcers is that it is not at all clear if it's actually illegal for Assange to shoot,” wrote Bryce Lowry.
4. Assange is Carmen Sandiego, the slippery fictional villainess and star of a series of educational video games: “WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange has become our modern-day Carmen San Diego. Without the game show,” wrote Sam Sanders at the Washington Post.
5. Assange is Job, of the Old Testament: “Assange is either a modern-day Job or there is an orchestrated campaign (presumably) by the U.S. government to compel his Web site to desist in its publication of classified U.S. government documents and diplomatic cables,” wrote Ivan Eland at the L.A. Progressive.
6. Assange is a “civilian porn star”: “Are allegations of sexual misconduct involving two different women in Stockholm turning Julian Assange into a new kind of celebrity pin-up? Is the WikiLeaks founder now a civilian porn star?” wrote Tracy Quan at The Daily Beast.
7. Assange is Toto from The Wizard of Oz: “Assange is the Toto to our Dorothy, the one brave enough to pull back the curtain and show the world the wizard isn't there,” wrote Stephen Blackwell at Death and Taxes. Really.
8. Assange is Neo from the Matrix. No wait, he's a guardian angel. No, scratch that, he's a Greek God: “We like to think that someday, after he has passed on in the fullness of time, he will become a kind of guardian angel for hackers, or perhaps the Greek God of Cyberspace with His Golden Board, forever surfing the web,” wrote noted Holocaust denier and WikiLeaks employee Israel Shamir at CounterPunch.
9. Assange is a neocon sleeper agent: “Maybe Assange, when he has time for some fresh conspiracy theorizing, can look into the possibility that neocons have implanted electrodes in his brain,” wrote Robert Wright at the New York Times.
10. Assange is Harry Potter (but with legal counsel): “And when Assange was on the run, as he was for some time, staying with friends and presumably in hotel rooms, biding his time, plotting his next move, doubtless eating a lot of takeout, I kept thinking of Harry and Hermione, apparating to various places of exile and wandering through forests protected by spells that would render them invisible from Voldemort. Except that exile wasn't a permanent solution for them, just as it wasn't for Assange, who, unlike Harry and Hermione, at least has lawyers to present his case for him,” wrote Liza Mundy at Slate.