In Renaissance Florence of the Quattrocento, the city hall located in the Palazzo della Signoria (or Palazzo Vecchio) threatened from its outer wall with a fearsome mailbox where anybody who pleased and completely anonymously, could lodge a complaint of any kind and caliber against any citizen of the Tuscan city. On April 8, 1476, this mailbox received a terrible allegation for that time and place: Leonardo da Vinci would had committed sodomy with a young man who was the focus of the text of the telltale letter, and in Florence homosexuality was considered a serious crime, although widely practiced. The young Leonardo, about to turn 24 years old, suffered painful consequences of this complaint, which was dismissed for lack of witnesses, although it was repeated two months later in the same way. Even without penalty of the law, Leonardo’s father and brothers believed the complaint instead of the artist rebuttals and they decided not to talk to him since.
History left evidence suggesting strongly that the insidious complaint was due more to political reasons than to any interest in Leonardo ‘s sexuality . However that complaint was aimed to make public a private issue, and the fact alleged was considered at that time as a serious transgression that would threaten the order, the mental and the physical social health.
With indisputable characteristics of immortality, Leonardo reappears in our century, although a few years later, in the universe of Shadowrun , the celebrated RPG, this time in the form of a novel under the title of “Black Madonna” –written by Sargent and Gascoigne . Here Leonardo appears blackmailing multinational corporations as a source of resources to finance the prototypes of his inventions , which are not war machines or flying machines anymore but highly destructive computer virus.
In this same vein to make public what was kept private, in order to harm someone, these days some mysterious hands took between 30 and 40 million confidential data from the website Ashley Madison, and let them go flying like white pigeons. At first ruthless hackers were accused and now is gaining ground the suspicion on a former female employee of the company that made a simple theft of information. The remarkable thing is that Ashley Madison is a site dedicated to facilitate adulterous relations for who choose to do so. Here there is no slander or gossip. In these times, adultery is considered a serious violation that threatens the order, the mental and the physical social health, as it was homosexuality in the Florentine Quattrocento, a serious crime widely practiced. So hacking or theft of information and publishing data of Ashley Madison was a clandestine action performed with moralizing intentions? One tends to think of hackers as liberators rebels operating with a counter-cultural drive that connects them with us, and not an inquisitors’ and crusaders’ punitive cause. It doesn’t seem to belong to the same category of the residents of a neighborhood in any Latinamerican city photographing license plates of cars cruising where transvestites are offering sexual services. Here are other motivations, like the complaint against Leonardo da Vinci tried to harm Lorenzo de Medici.
In recent hours, Ashley Madison users harmed by the data breach, have begun to receive blackmailing messages and threats from people who claim to have information that implicates them . Until now it said that only 0.01% of the threatened has agreed to pay the price of $ 450.- for blackmailers not to disclose information to the marital counterpart involved. Meanwhile, Ashley Madison offers a reward in cold, hard cash, of 500,000 Canadian dollars (about US $ 377.000.-) to who helps catch the bandits. Short against the $1,400,000 that would rise the blackmailers only from the one ten-thousandth of the injured who accepted the imposed payment.
In this new RPG where today’s world is getting into, competing blackmailing versus rewards, seeing who bids more for his good name and his conjugal peace, if not for a clean conscience, not be surprising that Disney people would offer a cash reward for who helps to identify the artist Banksy with full name and photograph. Anyway, I maintain that the name “Dismayland” I devised for a Beat satire 16 years ago in my days in California, is better than the “Dismaland” that Banksy created to name his park.
What is certain is the great discovery Banksy made: that in today’s world the dreams or nightmares that many people must be dreaming on these nights, should look more to Dismaland that the fantasy world of the park created by Old Walt.