NSA leaker gives us real-life Carmen Sandiego

You saw CNN Monday afternoon. People in my general age range saw the nerdiest part of their lives flash before their eyes.

The on-screen headline said, “Where in the world Is Edward Snowden?” The man who leaked essential information about our government’s spying programs is on the run from charges of espionage and theft, with the help of Wikileaks, and is giving a mystery to news networks desperate to fill the air (but not desperate enough to investigate things).

It brought me, and a certain population in my age range, back to Carmen Sandiego. She was the mysterious girl of my childhood with the auburn hair, wearing a red trench coat and fedora as she criss-crossed the earth to avoid the International Po-Po.

Although we hated how “Where in the world Is Carmen Sandiego?” sneakily taught us geography, we relented because the educational value let us play computer games at school. In the game, you were told Sandiego had stolen something, and locals in each city giving you clues on where to fly next. You worked under deadline to catch her — the novice level let you fly to the wrong country and still have a day to catch her, but Sandiego escaped on the hardest level if you talked to one person too many in Reykjavik.

The wonder continued on PBS, which gave us the game show version. We loved it because it was in the rare pantheon of entertaining game shows for children, along with “Figure It Out,” “Double Dare” and “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” We also loved the show for Rockapella, the group that introduced us to a cappella music and created the show’s theme song:

Well she sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina,

She’s a sticky-fingered filcher from Berlin down to Belize,

She’ll take you for a ride on a slow boat to China,

Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

In the last few days, Rockapella has been bombarded by the online masses to do a Snowden remix — and by that I mean a dozen people politely asked them about it on Twitter.

I presume the first verse would go something like this:

Well, he sneaks around the world from D.C. to Beijing, China

Asking famous WikiLeakers, “Will you fly me to Belize?”

He’ll take you for a ride on a slow boat into Cuba

Tell me, where in the world is Edward Joseph Snowden?

It’s still a work in progress, and I’ve spent some time wondering how I could replace a lyric with, “drone strike from Obama,” but I think we need to get Rockapella back in the studio.

I’m sure some people will say this is immature and a complete joke. To that, I’d say the real jokes of this whole ordeal include Congress, which made these spying programs legal, the president, who promised as a candidate to strengthen protection for whistleblowers, and the punditry class who earn checks telling us Snowden’s the one betraying America.


Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by email:


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