• Picador
Privacy - Garret KeizerSee larger image
See Hi-Res Jpeg image
See Hi-Res Tif image

email/print EmailPrint

Privacy



Book Buy
Ebook Ebook 
    
Share this book with friends through your favorite social networking site. Share:           Bookmark and Share
Add this title to your virtual bookshelves at any of these book community sites. Shelve:             
sign up to get updates about this author
add this book's widget
to your site or blog

About The Author

Garret Keizer

Garret Keizer is the author of six books, mostly recently of The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise. He is a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine, a contributing writer to Mother Jones, and a recent Guggenheim Fellow.

Stay In Touch

Sign up to recieve information about new releases, author appearances, special offers, all related to you favorite authors and books.

Other Books You Might Like

cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Sixties

Picador
A brilliant, alternative take on sixties swinging London, Jenny Diski offers radical reconsiderations of the social, political, and personal meaning of that...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Humiliation

Picador
Wayne Koestenbaum considers the meaning of humiliation in this eloquent work of cultural critique and personal reflection. The lives of people both famous...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Bodies

Picador
Esteemed Psychotherapist and writer Susie Orbach diagnoses the crisis in our relationship to our bodies and points the way toward a process of...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Moral Relativism

Picador
Moral relativism attracts and repels. What is defensible in it and what is to be rejected? Do we as human beings have no shared standards by which we can...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Time

Picador
Novelist, cultural commentator, memoirist, and historian Eva Hoffman examines our ever-changing perception of time in this inspired addition to the BIG...
  Bonus
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Violence

Picador
Philosopher, cultural critic, and agent provocateur Slavoj Žižek constructs a fascinating new framework to look at the forces of violence in our...
cover Pre-Order
Getting Schooled
The Reeducation of an American Teacher

Metropolitan Books
In this powerful, eloquent story of his return to the classroom, a former teacher offers a rousing defense of his beleaguered vocation  Perhaps no profession...
cover Buy
The Paris Review Interviews, II

Picador
Since The Paris Review was founded in 1953, it has given us invaluable conversations with the greatest writers of our age, vivid self-portraits that are...
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
Talk Like TED
The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds

St. Martin's Press
Ideas are the true currency of the twenty-first century. So, in order to succeed you need to be able to sell yourself and your ideas persuasively. The ability...
  
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
The Way of Kings

Tor Fantasy
A new epic fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time® Series
cover Buy
I'd Know You Anywhere, My Love

Feiwel & Friends
There are things about you quite unlike any other. Things always known by your father or mother. So if you decide to be different one day, no worries… I’d...

EXCERPT

1

LET’S BEGIN BY DOING A LITTLE SHARING
A PREFACE

Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, not to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.
—THOMAS PAINE, COMMON SENSE
 

Does anything say so much about the times we live in as the fact that the word sharing has almost everything to do with personal information and almost nothing to do with personal wealth?
Of course, some will answer that we live in times when information is wealth. Generally these are people who have good teeth and drive nice cars. When they sit down to eat, which they do regularly and well, you can bet they’re not eating information.
To say the same thing in slightly different words: You and I belong to a society in which the gap between the rich and the poor is widening even as our personal privacy shrinks. It is the contention of this book that these two phenomena are connected, and connected in a number of ways.
To state just one of those ways: We tend to think of our right to privacy as a value that came about with the historical growth of the middle class. If, as current indices of income suggest, the middle class is vanishing, then it should come as no surprise if the privacy of all but a few people is vanishing with it.
This book also contends that privacy is important and worthy of preservation. It is important and worthy of preservation for the simple reason that human beings are important and worthy of preservation. These may seem like rather obvious statements, though if they were that obvious or universally believed we would not be so easily resigned to losing our privacy and to watching so many of our fellow human beings fall further and further behind in health, in education, in political power, and in privacy.
That privacy is a good thing for human beings is not hard to establish. Were it not a good thing, the wealthier among us would not enjoy more of it than the less wealthy do. The best things in life may be free, but that seldom prevents those at the top of the food chain from appropriating a lion’s share of the best things. Air is free, but it tends to smell better in Malibu than in East L.A.
Some would contend that Americans, like citizens of other democratic nations, all have an equal right to privacy regardless of the air they breathe—and in some notable if not always typical instances, courts in the United States have agreed. But the right to privacy depends in large part on one’s opportunities for enjoying a private life. Americans are all guaranteed freedom of the press, too, but what does that mean if you have never been taught to read or write?
In the hopes of giving as thorough an introduction as possible to the big idea of privacy, this small book will range over a number of topics, but it will always come back to the basic themes I’ve stated above: the sacredness of the human person and the value of privacy; the things we share and the things we don’t; the ways we make ourselves lonely and the ways we mistake alienation for a private life.
I should add that giving a thorough introduction to privacy is not the same thing as giving it an airtight definition, a project I regard as both impossible and unwise. That’s not to say I won’t try for a tentative definition later in the book, or that I agree with a scholar who says, “Perhaps the most striking thing about privacy is that nobody seems to have any very clear idea what it is.”
In fact, I think most of us do have a clear idea—if not clear enough to define the word, then clear enough to express the need behind it. Clear enough to say “Let me alone.” Not to be confused with “Leave me alone,” “Let me alone” is ever the cry of privately disposed women and men, of anyone who struggles to keep some reasonable hold on his or her short and not always sweet life. We are entitled to that cry.
That said, we will cry it in vain so long as we settle for anything less than a beloved community, with liberty and justice for all.

 
Copyright © 2012 by Garret Keizer

You May Also Be Interested In

cover Buy
Fordlandia
The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City

Picador
The stunning, never before told story of the quixotic attempt to recreate small-town America in the heart of the Amazon In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest man...
cover Buy

More formats
Audio
Better
A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

Picador
National Bestseller The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But...
cover Buy
The Hours
A Novel

Picador
A daring, deeply affecting third novel by the author of A Home at the End of the World and Flesh and Blood. In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely...
  Bonus