Subject: Re: With friends like Erik, c.l.l doesn't need enemies
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/09/23
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erann Gat
| What does this have to do with Erik?  If you're going to try to change
| people's minds about a self-perpetuating myth the first thing you have to
| do is convince them to pay attention to what you are saying.  If people
| tune out then you've lost no matter how right you may be.  And if people
| think you are a raving lunatic, or even just an unpleasant person, then
| they tune out.

  let's assume for a second that Erann Gat is not the raving lunatic.
  let's consider a few facts that may shed some light on how his mortal
  fear of losing the battle he has fruitlessly been fighting for ten years
  and now needs to blame me for failing to win, bears out in practice.
  let's therefore consider the fairly obvious fact that Erann Gats are
  everywhere, also in Norway, and the fact that we have Norwegian
  newsgroups for both Lisp and Linux, on which I'm obviously active.

  for some time, I have answered people's requests for information about
  which programming language to use under Linux with "I can send you a CD
  so you can try out Allegro CL under Linux".  some people could not stop
  themselves from pulling an Erann Gat and posted a lot of drivel which
  they had no possible way of knowing -- and they were certainly utterly
  disdainful of first-hand knowledge, and much preferred to perpetuate
  slander and present their prejudiced idiocy as fact and universal fact at
  that.  now, I don't suffer Norwegian fools any easier than any other
  nationality, so obviously, a debate ensued with one local Erann Gat.

  the consequence?  an enormous interest in Lisp!  I have mailed out almost
  150 CD's by now.  people have been saying "I have to try this!" and have
  come back to me for help and with gratitude and suggestions and wish
  lists.  I set up an IRC channel to help people, but it's become more than
  that -- new people to Lisp have tried things I have not even looked at
  because it would require too much work in the first couple weeks, some
  people have needed to know a lot about fundamentals and have happily been
  able to optimize their code well beyond C++, which sort of proved to some
  that Lisp was a viable alternative.  in Erann Gat's view, and in the
  views of our local version of the same screwed-up mentality where fantasy
  is a lot easier to deal with than reality, I am of course nothing but
  harm, but the crucial question is: harm to _whom_?  if I harm prejudiced
  fools, who cares?  if I cause a lot of interest and positive feedback
  among smart people, who not only go away with the best myth-killer they
  could get, but some real hard evidence to back up their opinions, who see
  ideas that shape their thinking and which they will use to recognize
  other people who have been "exposed" to good thinking, why are the few
  prejudiced fools who have suffered such a big deal?  they can just stop
  being prejudiced fools, can't they?  seriously, what's holding them back?
  they don't think it's _better_ to be prejudiced fools than to know that
  of which they speak, do they?