May 29th, 2020

(no subject)

A relatively recent (March 2020) culture wars story:

Open Source Initiative bans co-founder, Eric S Raymond

The exact cause for the ban isn’t clear; but Raymond wrote, among other things (published in his blog):

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that there is an effort afoot to change – I would say corrupt – the fundamental premises of the open-source culture. Instead of meritocracy and “show me the code”, we are now urged to behave so that no-one will ever feel uncomfortable.

The effect – the intended effect – is to diminish the prestige and autonomy of people who do the work – write the code – in favor of self-appointed tone-policers. In the process, the freedom to speak necessary truths even when the manner in which they are expressed is unpleasant is being gradually strangled.

And, in a brief interview that follows the report, he also says the following to the author of the article:

Q: What do you see as the root cause of the issues you see with the OSI (which you call out in your blog post)?

Eric S Raymond: The fetishization of ‘nice’ behavior, where ‘nice’ ends up defined as being any behavior some self-appointed censor doesn't like. Usually (and in this case) accompanied by a lot of bafflegab about “inclusion” and “diversity” so thay anyone who isn't a fan of the new, censorious rules can be cast as some sort of bigot.

Q: How would you go about fixing those issues?

Eric S Raymond: Abolish “Codes of Conduct” and all the Orwellian doublespeak that goes with them. It's less bad that people sometimes got their feelings hurt than it is to institutionalize a means by which dissenting opinions are crushed under the rubric of “not nice”.

Here, bless him, is a mind formed be the culture of the 80s and the 90s, a culture that is on its way out, and it is so very sad to see it go.

(no subject)

What surprised me about the British media last week — and apparently the public at large, who consumes this crap and then regurgitates the cud back so as to feed subsequent news cycles — is how much of a fuck they gave about Dominic Cummnigs’ car journey that had taken place almost two months prior in violation of lockdown rules. I understand that they hate the guy, whom they paint as a modern-day Rasputin; but this bloodthirstiness, this eagerness to see him get sacked, the degree of schadenfreude is just obscene. I don't know whether he had a key role in the introduction of the lockdown, as I heard some suggest he did, but he never impressed me as a sanctimonious prick who preaches one thing and then does the opposite, and who therefore is so deserving of the punishment. He is just a consistently mildly villainous figure with a possible touch of evil genius; someone potentially interesting who it would be a shame to lose.

Although I do confess that my impression of him is heavily influenced by the portrayal of him by Benedict Cumberbatch.