Not so long ago (in geological time), I mused in these very pages about how the word “activist” had lately evolved from noun to suffix, used to describe crusading of certain stripes. Unlike “gate,” a suffix applied to various crimes and inconsequential misdemeanors (Deflate-gate being a recent example), “activist” only applies to words ending in the sound “ack,” such as kayak. You might paddle out and form a chain of boats around an island in the middle of the Quabbin Reservoir to protest rattlesnakes (“Deport Rattlers To Arizona!”), but no NPR reporter worth her salt is going to call you a “canoeactivist.” You’re either a “kayaktivist” or you don’t make the news.
Back when I wrote that post, I somehow missed the essential label “hacktivist,” which just yesterday surfaced on NPR to describe the hacker organization “Anonymous.” Where have I been? Hacktivist even has its own Wikipedia entry (something I don’t yet have, which is a real embarrassment to me).
Apparently I don’t pay enough attention to the rise of hacking, except when it involves cigarette-induced coughs late at night outside my home office window, which, if I may say so, really raises my hackles.