Snarking Eric Raymond May 22, 2006 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Was this really necessary? What did Eric Raymond ever do to you people? How is "Let's all compete to come up with the most clever insult" best of the Web?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste to MetaFilter-Related at 7:57 PM (56 comments total)

Flag it and move on.
posted by gsteff at 7:58 PM on May 22, 2006


Yeah, I dunno what's going on either. I haven't thought about ESR in ages, as I wrote him off years ago as kind of a wacko. I don't really see the point of ragging on his death threat.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:59 PM on May 22, 2006


He's a lot less of a wacko than Stallman. Waaaaay less.
posted by cellphone at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2006


Actually, nevermind
posted by cellphone at 8:09 PM on May 22, 2006


I CAN'T PICK ONE.
posted by cellphone at 8:09 PM on May 22, 2006


Well, that was kind of a pointless deletion. Yes, there are more substantive posts to be made, but esr is a well-known figure in certain circles, circles in which MeFites are more likely than most to find themselves, and it's not as though this was the only less-than-meaty post we've had today. "Hurricane Headlines Differ?" If the argument is that the post was "mean," come on. esr has fought tooth and nail to become some sort of a public figure; this isn't some guy who finds himself thrust into the limelight despite himself.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:16 PM on May 22, 2006


Hey, man. That thread had that rascally death-dealing and incredibly cute UFO Ceiling Cat thing in it. That's gotta be worth something.

One day. One day I'll be beamed into hot, radioactive ashes by the UFO Ceiling Cat. And on that day... on that day I'll know I've made it.
posted by loquacious at 8:19 PM on May 22, 2006


Yeah, the tone of the post was pretty iffy. Still, this ESR is an, er, interesting fellow - open source advocacy and far right politics seem a very odd combination of interests.
posted by jack_mo at 8:23 PM on May 22, 2006


IshmaelGraves, ignoring that half the comments were "huh, who is this guy?", posts that are basically just saying "isn't this person dumb/lame/worthy of being laughed at" make for pretty poor discussions and just sort of fuels lame fights between websites and people.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:33 PM on May 22, 2006


Is there any more whiny call-out than "what did xxx ever do to you guys?"
posted by puke & cry at 8:38 PM on May 22, 2006


OMG NOES!!!!!!11
posted by dflemingdotorg at 8:44 PM on May 22, 2006


RMS versus ESR
I can't tell you why
Even the singer from Bow Wow Wow
Can't make up her mind

posted by cortex at 8:52 PM on May 22, 2006


How is "Let's all compete to come up with the most clever insult" best of the Web?
Best of the Web or not, it's what we do best.
posted by dg at 8:54 PM on May 22, 2006


Snarking isn't what I do best. You wanna see this neat trick I can do with my tongue?
posted by loquacious at 9:02 PM on May 22, 2006


What did Eric Raymond ever do to you people?

He wrote some shitty code and a laughably bad essay that made a terrible analogy which has been harmful to Linux to the extent that people bought into it. When his fifteen seconds were up he stuck around, and continues to stick around - leaving many of us wondering why he is still here, and why people thought he was relevant in the first place.

His ludicrous politics are merely a dent on the freeway wreck that has been his persona from the beginning. He is the Britney Spears of the open source movement and having this death threat fulfilled would give him too much dignity. Having a dog muzzle and a clown nose welded to his facial bones would be a far better solution.
posted by Ryvar at 9:18 PM on May 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Ryvar. Sometimes I just want to father and/or mother your three-headed cyborg deathbabies. That would be sweet.

He is the Britney Spears of the open source movement and having this death threat fulfilled would give him too much dignity.

What does that make Stallman?

What about John Draper?

While we're at it, what about Wozniak?

Yes, the last two aren't F/OSS celebs, but they are indeed so nerdy they actually sweat even smaller nerds.
posted by loquacious at 9:24 PM on May 22, 2006


IshmaelGraves, ignoring that half the comments were "huh, who is this guy?", posts that are basically just saying "isn't this person dumb/lame/worthy of being laughed at" make for pretty poor discussions and just sort of fuels lame fights between websites and people.

This is a distinction between "Let's mock esr" and "Let's mock the latest creationist school board" that hadn't occurred to me. I can see why you would want to avoid LGF-style net grudges. Thanks for explaining.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:25 PM on May 22, 2006


Was this really necessary? What did Eric Raymond ever do to you people? How is "Let's all compete to come up with the most clever insult" best of the Web?

FUCK YEAH IT WAS.

Oh well, that thread is gone but a new one has taken it's place. Here is my insult [nsfw]


Three years and three months ago I met ESR at a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy. He was all by himself, wearing a tux and holding a glass of fine Champaign. Drunk as a skunk and his appearance in person was, I have to say, quite a bit more horrid then you would suspect from the carefully screened images he posts on his web page.

Normally I would say something cutting and be done with it by my somehow this man had just pushed my buttons, especially since I am an adherent of the RMS school of thought w.r.t intellectual property. But not only had he insulted my idol, but his giant ego was just so... Well, one might say the only thing that lived up to his self-delusions was his ability to irritate people, in particular myself.

Anyway, seeing this as opportunity to take self-centered revenge I pounced. I told him that I'd loved all of his papers and what not, and that I wanted to suck his cock. I'm sure he didn't know who I was but it didn't matter. He accepted. I told him to wait right there.

I grabbed a huge steak off the buffet table and stuffed it in my purse, underneath my small dog.

I took him out back and he dropped trow. Wow. What a tiny penis. Beyond what would normally be considered "small"

I told him to close his eyes and he did, and I rubbed the steak all over his tiny member then I let my dog have at it.

After he finished I told him what happened. And laughed "You just got sucked off by a dog"

He grinned and said "Even better".

My plan was foiled by his over-weaning perversity .

[/nsfw]
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:33 PM on May 22, 2006


This is a distinction between "Let's mock esr" and "Let's mock the latest creationist school board" that hadn't occurred to me.

There's no distinction. Me and Jessamyn have been deleting "LOL xtians are so stoopid" posts regularly. This ESR post reminds me of someone posting a link to an AOL homepage of some odd person and everyone making fun of how their site looks/how they look. Those make for lame posts.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:39 PM on May 22, 2006


That was entirely unnecessary. Poor fuckin' dog. WTF?
posted by loquacious at 9:45 PM on May 22, 2006


What is it moustaches that make their owners difficult to take seriously?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:47 PM on May 22, 2006


I take Sam Elliott seriously.



Alice B. Toklas, too.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:03 PM on May 22, 2006


Great story Paris, but you told us what you did to ESR, not what he did to you...
posted by b1tr0t at 12:31 AM on May 23, 2006


Great story Paris, but you told us what you did to ESR, not what he did to you...

His mere existence is an affront! That's what I tried to convey with the term 'self-centered revenge'. His legion stupidity, and ego, irks me in such a way that it is as if he had offended me by some action.

Didn't want to try to explain that in the post as it would have detracted from my narrative.
posted by Paris Hilton at 12:34 AM on May 23, 2006


How is "Let's all compete to come up with the most clever insult" best of the Web?

I thought the links were supposed to be 'the best of the web'. Nobody (well, OK, nobody sober) has ever made similar claims about the ensuing conversations. Disappointment that way lies.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:06 AM on May 23, 2006


Well , you're right Steven .

Perhaps it's all time for us to go away and take a good look at ourselves. I've been one of those sniggering little metajackals myself recently and should i ever set foot in a certain country - a fatwa over the barbie surely awaits me.
Now how does that help anybody ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:41 AM on May 23, 2006


In fact , in the words of Yoko Ono : "Johnnnn whennnn willlll thereee beeeeee peeeeeace ?"
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:43 AM on May 23, 2006


He's a lot less of a wacko than Stallman. Waaaaay less.

WRONG.

Actually, ESR regained some whuffie in my brain for his Art of Unix Programming, which really does have some very nice advice in it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 4:48 AM on May 23, 2006


For those of us who don't use Linux, who know very little about "open source," it's amusing to watch the reactions on these websites (MeFi, Slashdot, K5) when either of the two names are mentioned. The funniest part is how much attention you geeks seem to pay these guys, how much you know about their lives. I see almost no difference between the RMS/ESR threads and a couple of housewives in the supermarket chatting about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston.
posted by cribcage at 6:30 AM on May 23, 2006


WRONG.

Agreed.
posted by Ryvar at 6:33 AM on May 23, 2006


N.B. I still like Stallman better, as wacko is not necessarily pejorative. Look how prescient he was about bitkeeper. He understands the dynamics of software evolution, if not the dynamics of PR.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:45 AM on May 23, 2006


I see almost no difference between the RMS/ESR threads and a couple of housewives in the supermarket chatting about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston.

I can dig it, cribcage, but I would put forth one difference: Raymond and Stallman (Stallman in particular) have actually ever done anything of substance.
posted by cortex at 7:29 AM on May 23, 2006


cribcage writes "The funniest part is how much attention you geeks seem to pay these guys, how much you know about their lives. I see almost no difference between the RMS/ESR threads and a couple of housewives in the supermarket chatting about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston."

When a thread is nominally about Stallman the thread is usually about freedom and not about the man himself. The only things I know about RMS is all related to apparently whacky stuff he has done (like his safe cracking) that is consistent with his world view and serves as an example of how he thinks things should be.

ESR on the other hand is a nerd poster boy and rarely are threads about him really about something else.

Comparisions to Beniffer are superficial at best. The writings of these two have had lasting influence on the software and technology sectors.
posted by Mitheral at 7:42 AM on May 23, 2006


I told him to close his eyes and he did, and I rubbed the steak all over his tiny member then I let my dog have at it.

Ah! Now I finally understand why Tinkerbell would only tell her story to a guy named dong_resin.
posted by soyjoy at 8:08 AM on May 23, 2006


I see almost no difference between the RMS/ESR threads and a couple of housewives in the supermarket chatting about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston.

Affleck and Aniston are much hotter.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:12 AM on May 23, 2006


How does being an anarchist make him "far right"?
posted by knave at 10:17 AM on May 23, 2006


I can dig it, cribcage, but I would put forth one difference: Raymond and Stallman (Stallman in particular) have actually ever done anything of substance.

First of all that's absurd. Stallman may not have done anything software wise lately but he is unquestionably the father of the 'free software' movement, as well as the author, and more importantly, the manager of many of the original open source utilities. Stallman is to OSS as Steve Wozniak is to personal computers. Sure, someone might have come up with it eventually, but These guys had the foresight to go ahead and actually do something about it.

As far as craziness goes, well that's open to debate. Stallman is an eccentric who believes in something zealously, and ESR is a narcissistic egomaniac with more mainstream views and a willingness to sell out.

Which one is 'crazier'? That's really a value judgment. I can tell you which one is more annoying, though.
posted by Paris Hilton at 11:18 AM on May 23, 2006


So you're saying that Ben Affleck is a serious actor who co-wrote an Oscar-winning screenplay, and Jennifer Aniston is just the bimbo from Friends?
posted by cribcage at 11:41 AM on May 23, 2006


Mitheral: When a thread is nominally about Stallman the thread is usually about freedom and not about the man himself.

I don't think you can really separate them. It's almost impossible to talk about "freedom" in FOSS circles without running headlong into the cult of Stallman that defines "freedom" in certain idiosyncratic ways. Freedom in FOSS circles is freedom as defined by Stallman, and I'm intreasingly frustrated by the rather extreme tunnel vision that results.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:43 AM on May 23, 2006


First of all that's absurd.

Second of all, reread my comment. You're telling me that the exact opposite of what I asserted is absurd—we should be highfiving.
posted by cortex at 12:15 PM on May 23, 2006


What I meant is I don't know what RMS has for breakfast, if he carries a gun, whether he practices a martial art or his views on the abortion debate. Stuff that ESR is likely to toss out at the weirdest times.
posted by Mitheral at 12:30 PM on May 23, 2006


cortex, in paris' defense, I read your comment as if it had a typo, as well. the wording was peculiar enough that i assumed "have" was just missing an "n't."
posted by shmegegge at 12:42 PM on May 23, 2006


Well, that'll teach me not to use intentionally awkward phrasing to humorous effect in a metadiscussion of HUGE GIGANTIC NERDS.

*runs off weeping*
posted by cortex at 12:47 PM on May 23, 2006


Suh-suh-setting aside [sniffle] the simple fact that you'd have to be completely n-n-n-nuts to suggest that RMS/ESR have done [wheeze] comparably nothing substantial compared to [snort] [sniffle] Ben/Jen, of cuh-course.
posted by cortex at 12:49 PM on May 23, 2006


Strangely enough, I read cortex's post as he (I guess) intended it - that is: Raymond and Stallman (Stallman in particular) have actually done something of substance. It took me a couple of tries, though.

I figured he'd partly rewritten an earlier sentence, but left the parts that make it confusing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:07 PM on May 23, 2006


The only things I know about RMS is all related to apparently whacky stuff he has done (like his safe cracking)

I've never heard this about Stallman... are you confusing him with Richard Feynman?
posted by gsteff at 1:52 PM on May 23, 2006


I figured he'd partly rewritten an earlier sentence, but left the parts that make it confusing.

Nope. I rendered it exactly as I'd intended. I was aiming for a sharp double-take effect in forcing the reader to analyze what I did say as conspicuously prompting the implied complementary indictment of Affleck and Aniston.

What I'd intended and what was perceived have differed to a significant enough degree, however, that I may avoid that particular structure in similar circumstances going forward—I can't blame the reader if my meaning isn't clear, and I suppose an open-ended discussion isn't generally the place to be so obfuscatory.
posted by cortex at 2:07 PM on May 23, 2006


or at least restrict such remarkably adept manipulation of the bard's language to your modernist novel.
posted by shmegegge at 2:12 PM on May 23, 2006


And yeah, I can't find any reference to RMS being a safe-cracking nerd.
posted by cortex at 2:15 PM on May 23, 2006


shmegegge, its working title is "From a Prius, Dying" and I've got three chapters done.
posted by cortex at 2:16 PM on May 23, 2006


gsteff writes "are you confusing him with Richard Feynman?"

Yes, my mistake, I was thinking of his known network password policy and somehow typed the safe cracking bit.
posted by Mitheral at 2:37 PM on May 23, 2006


I've got beef: Eric Raymond cut me off in the sandwitch line at the second Perl conference in San Jose, elbowing the person next to me aside with no modicum of politeness. This was just as CATB was gearing up and he clearly thought his celebrity should have entitled him to a line-free sandwitch, though nobody agreed with him enough to bring him one.

Admittedly, a silly reason not to like a guy, but ever since then I've seen him through the dork-filter. I mean, have you ever read his stuff? For your perusal: 1 2.

Actually, I think it was the child-eager-to-please look he had at that cemented it. That and he fashioned himself a la Jethro Tull later in the afternoon. Flute just is -not- a rocking instrument.

I think perhaps the larger issue with Raymond is that he managed to parlay a finger-in-the-pie approach to resume padding into this image of A Serious Developer Who Really Knows His Shit And Therefore Fit To Speak For Us All. The reality is that he is not really Ubergeek in the world in which he plays: he's no Torvalds, RMS, JWZ, Wall, or hell, even Tom Christiansen, though he likes to think himself so.

His fifteen minutes is long since gone though he hasn't quite gotten the memo.

Also, the increasingly overused "best of the web" only applies to the FPP, yeah? I don't see any such disclaimer on the comment submission: "This comment had BETTER be best of the web, or else..."
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2006


52 comments and counting. Was this really necessary?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:39 PM on May 23, 2006


Cortex: I read and understood it as intended.
posted by Bugbread at 9:56 PM on May 23, 2006


Armitage Shanks writes "52 comments and counting. Was this really necessary?"

Yes.
posted by Mitheral at 6:47 AM on May 24, 2006


I once gave ben affleck a blowjob.
posted by Paris Hilton at 11:43 PM on May 24, 2006


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