Julian Assange Lives in Bizarro World

I have less than no interest in discussing, yet again, the merits of the sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange. So it was with trepidation that I waded into Rolling Stone's new interview with the WikiLeaks-founder/guaranteed cocktail party conversation-killer. Against all odds, though, the interview is actually chock full of fun stuff! Let's learn about Julian Assange's favorite numbers, and his relationship with a much-beloved sea captain.

One really interesting thing about Assange's latest interview is how much he likes the word "interesting." For example:

Do you think governments should be allowed to keep some secrets?
This is a question that is much more interesting than the answer.

Wow, that's an answer that's much more evasive than the question. Assange goes on to talk about how maybe governments should get to keep some secrets for a little bit when they're investigating organized crime, but here the word "interesting" seems to mean "that's a question I'm not going to really answer." Which is a shame because it's pretty much the most crucial question you can ask about Assange's larger ideology. Also "interesting" is the question "Even many of those closest to you say you're difficult to work with. Are you?". Then there's this, on Guardian writer Heather Brooke, who's written a book about Assange:

I don't think Heather Brooke is particularly interesting. The general phenomenon is interesting. Someone has an involvement to some extent in our work, which they then overstate tremendously to gain authority. They get something from the involvement –- a reputation by proximity, information we've collected or some other item of value. Then we're not able to continue the relationship with them at the same degree of involvement, so they feel rejected.

"Not interesting" is apparently a pretty big dis in Assange-land, and it means "woman scorned." Assange also really likes to talk in big numbers. Here are some:

Back when we last did a survey, in February, there were a total of 33 million references on the Internet to the word "rape" in any context, from Helen of Troy to the Congo. If you search for "rape" and my name, there were just over 20 million. In other words, perceptively, two-thirds of all rapes that have ever happened anywhere in the world, ever, have something to do with me.

Clearly Assange is trying to measure what he feels is hysteria over the allegations against him, but it's exactly the kind of meaningless statistic that sounds embarrassing for Assange's detractors while actually saying nothing about his innocence or guilt. Also, why does he have people counting how many times the word "rape" appears on the Internet? Apparently they're also counting other things: "We have, on the one hand, some 700,000 references to me being an anti-Semite, and on the other hand, some 2.5 million references to me being a member of the Mossad." Some other big numbers refer to people who allegedly have crushes on Assange — one lady, for instance, apparently spent £450 to come see him in a taxi. And "hundreds" of women want to marry him. Gawker's Adrian Chen thinks that's the most important part of the interview. I disagree. This is:


Hundreds of women would show up?

Sometimes also men. We had one, Captain Morgan, who claimed to work for Intel, and was a sea captain. He sold his boat to turn up at the front door, saying we were the only organization on Earth worth working for.

Hope he brought plenty of rum.

Julian Assange: The Rolling Stone Interview [Rolling Stone]