Subject: Re: CLISP: Why a menorah?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 00:07:44 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Sam Steingold <>
| conspiracy theorists and those who are offended by the menorah are not
| our user base.  in fact, if this will help us lose some losers, so much
| the better.

  I am much more offended by this confusion of private and professional
  issues than I could possibly be by the menorah.  That confusion, however,
  is not limited to abusing symbols of Judaism, but to such things as
  refusing to work in the People's Republic of China:

     (PRC () (values -8
                     (error "Timezone for PRC not implemented -
Don't forget that 10000 students were murdered by the government
of the \"People's Republic of China\" in June 1989!"
     )       )       )

  This immature expression of political activism means that I cannot even
  refer to the local time of the Tiananmen Guangchang event itself, or any
  other event in PRC for that matter.  It thus works better for those who
  want to quell criticism than those who want to make it.  The latter are
  not likely to remove that stupid error in the source, while the former
  are -- in their own copies and the ones they distribute.  (Provided that
  "PRC" is a useful way to refer to Chinese timezones, of course.)

  While I may not object to this particular immature expression of
  political activism, what is next?  Who _are_ the people I have to be
  prepared to agree with on some random political agenda in order to be
  able to continue to use a piece of software?  I believe the use of the
  menorah gives me _some_ clues, because it is no longer just a religious
  symbol; it must be seen in the context of the political agenda of which
  there is strong if not ample evidence elsewhere.  Now that Israel has
  gone from simply angry to downright mad and tolerate about as much
  criticism of their actions as a regular psychopath, organizations that
  have supported Israel in the past, in countries that supported Israel in
  the past, are suddenly labeled "enemies of Israel".  Since the use of the
  menorah is "secret", how can I help feeling I have to prepare for the
  situation that CLISP may suddenly stop working in Oslo after some
  otherwise innocuous upgrade, because of the Oslo agreement, which was
  just killed in the Likud party?  Considering that at least one of the
  developers have expressed extremely irrational sentiments about Emacs, I
  have a dim view of his general level of rationality in _professional_
  matters.  The personal I could not care less about, but when they are
  seriously confused, what am I to do?

  Of course, I just classified myself as a "loser" in Sam Steingold's view
  because I _disagree_ with something that is clearly out of place in any
  software product, and thus I am not in his intended "user base".  The
  arrogance of this attitude is just as bad as the "I know better than the
  standard, everybody else, and you in particular, so I implement this
  differently for your own good"-attitude that has been with CLISP from the
  outset, too.

  I may actually want to join the moral equivalent of a political party in
  the sense that Kent Pitman has described the Common Lisp community versus
  the Scheme community, but I do _not_ want to join a real political party
  or movement or whatever just because I may want to use a particular
  software product in that community.  Not only has that software product
  made it clear that its constituency is intentionally not overlapping with
  the Common Lisp community, it has now made it clear that it is the
  intersection of a subset of the Common Lisp community _and_ some random
  political movement _and_ some random group with some sort of religious
  ties.  I am well known for my limited patience with stupidity, but this
  really takes the cake.  Of course, it matches the "C is not good enough
  for me, so I have slightly altered the comment syntax" cruft, not to
  mention "I know where the right parens should go, and you don't".

  If your goal is to get only people who agree with _all_ these very
  strange ideas to use CLISP, and label everyone else "losers", feel free,
  but you should really put this in a end-user license agreement and
  require that people "sign" it before they run into problems because of
  their implicit agreement with something they may explicitly disagree with
  if they get the option to voice their opinion.  It may be a "smart" move
  to make the "accept" button read "I'm a winner" and the "reject" button
  "I'm a loser" so that you can appropriately express your arrogance, too.
  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.

  70 percent of American adults do not understand the scientific process.