Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 9th Jul 2009 12:09 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y During the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (and the Superfluous Introduction Award goes to...) gave a keynote speech. Said keynote speech raised a few eyebrows in the Free software community because of a number of questionable remarks regarding women in technology. David "Lefty" Schlesinger, member of the GNOME Advisory Board and active in the mobile open source community, took issue with RMS' remarks and decided to call him out on it. The response he got was... Less than satisfying.
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RE[2]: What's wrong with sexism?
by PrimalDK on Thu 9th Jul 2009 21:12 UTC in reply to "RE: What's wrong with sexism?"
PrimalDK
Member since:
2005-07-12

dagw:

You say "it's all about timing", and I ask: "Who's timing"? Yours? What is "inappropriate"? Who told you so? Did you make that decision on your own? Did your parents teach you? What makes it right/true? What is true? What is right?

I am not preaching relativism, but "anybody with any social awareness" only holds water locally, that is, it's specific to social contexts like culture.

I actually find RMS's indignation refreshing; he finds the hysteria out of proportion, as do I, and wonders - probably - to himself why people will try to restrict others' freedom of speech at every opportunity, but immediately thereafter exercise their own.

Reply Parent Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

You say "it's all about timing", and I ask: "Who's timing"? Yours?

No. That of the expected audience. Both present and possibly reading transcripts, watching any recorded video, or listening to any recorded audio.

What is "inappropriate"?

That which could reasonably be expected to offend the audience, as specified above.

Who told you so?

In retrospect... I believe we can say: The Audience.

Did you make that decision on your own? Did your parents teach you?

No. The audience has.

What makes it right/true?

Not the point. The point is that he, as an FS leader, advocate, and as close a thing to an official representative as one can imagine, has exercised damned poor judgement and then denied responsibility. Metaphorically speaking, this is something like simply disappearing into the night after the "deflowering", leaving others to face the consequences.

Edited 2009-07-09 21:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

PrimalDK Member since:
2005-07-12

"Exercised poor judgement"?

The audience is a meassure of what is poor judgement?

I think you are preaching the masses being right *because* they are the masses. RMS seems to me to be just the character to revolt against that notion, with which I - like him - disagree.

I like my freedom of speech, which is why I'll joke about subjects that are "inappropriate" like, say, religion, no matter who might take offense. The people who do can then exercise their freedom of speech and joke about something else. The key is to *not make it personal*, and "women" is not a personal pronoun.

RMS works *for* the masses, which will just as soon judge him for cracking "the wrong joke" as hail him for the relentless work he's put into securing their freedom.

History repeats itself.

Reply Parent Score: 2

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

You say "it's all about timing", and I ask: "Who's timing"? Yours? What is "inappropriate"? Who told you so? Did you make that decision on your own? Did your parents teach you? What makes it right/true? What is true? What is right?

It's all very simple. It has nothing to do with right/wrong, true/false or any sort of absolute terms. It's all about reactions from your audience. Did you get the reaction you wanted from your audience? Did the audience get the message your where trying to convey? Has the audiences opinion of you changed in the way you wanted?

I am not preaching relativism, but "anybody with any social awareness" only holds water locally, that is, it's specific to social contexts like culture.

Which is why you change your behavior to fit the culture and local context in which you are. A big part of social awareness is to be aware of the local context you are in and adjusting your behavior on the fly. The same message delivered the same way will get you vastly different responses depending on where you are. This should be obvious to most people. It takes only a little bit more awareness to predict that response.

I behave differently when I'm at a pub with close friends than if I'd be discussing business with possible future clients at a nice restaurant. Jokes that I'd happily tell in one setting I wouldn't tell in the other, due to the different cultural and social context.

himself why people will try to restrict others' freedom of speech at every opportunity

Nobody is trying to restrict anybodies free speech. It's not about what you are allowed to say. Just because I criticize your message and how you delivered it does not mean I'm criticizing your right to free speech.

Reply Parent Score: 3

PrimalDK Member since:
2005-07-12

It's all very simple. It has nothing to do with right/wrong, true/false or any sort of absolute terms. It's all about reactions from your audience. Did you get the reaction you wanted from your audience? Did the audience get the message your where trying to convey? Has the audiences opinion of you changed in the way you wanted?


The above strikes me as an attempt to market the methodology that we see most apparently displayed in totalitarian regimes and the FUD of certain marketing departments of huge corporations: Manipulation.

I'm sure people will keep enjoying being manipulated in the next century as well, but it strikes me as belittling their intelligence on grounds of a feeling of knowing what's best for them.

And that, my friend, is what being a hippie in sandals and matching beard is all about: Nobody will believe you because of your nice exterior.

So when they watch you dance, it'll be to get the story, not the coreography. That is, when they're not busy telling you what jokes you can crack.

Which is why you change your behavior to fit the culture and local context in which you are.


Sure. Sam Harris doesn't, and neither does Richard Dawkins. Neither did George Russell or Albert Einstein, or Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Liszt, Mahler [continue ad lib].

That's why they're looked upon as misbehaved youngsters while still alive, only to be hailed as geniuses when they've been comfortably put to rest in their graves, unable to cause further disturbance.

Alan Turing was gay. He (probably) killed himself after being prosecuted for his socially inappropriate behavior. He also invented the Turing Machine, the Turing Test, cracked Enigma, and other stuff irrelevant to the Free World (as we love to call ourselves) and the IT world in particular.

Nobody is trying to restrict anybodies free speech. It's not about what you are allowed to say. Just because I criticize your message and how you delivered it does not mean I'm criticizing your right to free speech.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it was only the delivery (a joke) of the message, not the message itself, that was on debate here. And the delivery of a message, that is, the way something is voiced, is speech, my friend. Trying to restrict the form of delivery is, thus, restricting freedom of speech.

Reply Parent Score: 1