SNL ridicules TIME in support of Assange
From anger and contempt to ridicule – TIME’s decision to overlook WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange and recognise Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg as the 2010 ‘Person of the Year’ continues to reign the media. After a large portion of the international media criticized the magazine’s move, Saturday Night Live (SNL) was the latest to join the bandwagon with a little comic touch.
The late-night television sketch comedy ridiculed the TIME’s decision leading to several media outlets interpreting the piece as and yet again reiterating that despite the final decision Assange has emerged the hero.
”SNL’ pits Assange against Zuckerberg’: read a headline on CNET. Mashable wrote: ”SNL’ Skewers Zuckerberg: Is WikiLeaks’ Assange the Hero?’.
Bill Hader plays Julian Assange in the SNL scene, in which the founder of the whistle blower site is depicted as congratulating Time magazine on its selection of Mark Zuckerberg as ‘Person of the Year’.
“Tonight I want to congratulate Time magazine on the excellent selection of Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year. Time magazine – always on the cutting edge; discovering Facebook only weeks after your grandmother.”
Among the many observations Hader (Assange) makes, one notable remark is: “What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? Let’s take a look. I give you private information about corporations for free. And I’m a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year.”
The popular live variety show, known for parodying American culture and politics, mainly chose to draw contrasts between the two men.
Zukerburg and Assange are, in fact, very different from each other.
Take for instance, Zuckerburg’s disappointing, if not completely empty, statement on WikiLeaks, released with Time’s press release:
“I mean the wikileaks story is fascinating, but I also just don’t think we’re anywhere near the end of it. And I personally feel like, from the coverage that I’ve read, that I don’t understand enough to fully comment on it, so I won’t.
But I do think it’s a fascinating kind of turn of events, and watching how the different institutions react to it is also fascinating….We definitely don’t wake up in the morning and think about toppling institutions.
But one of the things that I think happens from people being able to share their opinions with their friends or more broadly. You know I really do think there is this concept where the best stuff spreads.”
With this, Zuckerberg seemed to have intended to tell Facebook users that the social networking site is not very different from Wikileaks, while it also tried to appease those against the whistle-blower site by saying that Facebook does not “think about toppling institutions.”
By snubbing Assange, TIME seems to have contributed positively to the 39-year-old Australian’s image and rather negatively to Zuckerburg’s. SNL’s little piece has asserted that yet again.