"At least Richard Stallman is not accused of raping anyone. But is that our highest standard? The standard that this prestigious institution holds itself to? If this is what MIT wants to defend; if this is what MIT wants to stand for, then, yes, burn it to the ground."
Let me get this straight; because Stallman did *not* rape anyone, we must utterly destroy the university that employs him. Yes?
What Stallman said:
> the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing.
How it was interpreted:
> he says that an enslaved child could, somehow, be "entirely willing".
The whole sorry mess seems to come down to a university student who couldn't understand that "presented herself to him as" means '*pretended* to be willing', not '*was* willing'.
Then, having realized her mistake, instead of admitting it and apologized, she doubled down. Claiming that it didn't matter that her key claim was false, because of other things she thinks are bad about Stallman, like:
> Richard Stallman has problematic opinions.
Because there are correct opinions about everything, and we all know what they are, and anyone who deviates from them deserves to be purged?
"Problematic opinions" is a charge people in power level against dissenters. Colonizers think indigenous people have "problematic opinions". The fossil fuel industry thinks climate change and peak oil activists have "problematic opinions". White supremacists think MLK and Malcolm X had "problematic opinions". Parliamentarians thought the Suffragettes had "problematic opinions". The corporate tech industry thinks the software freedom movement have "problematic opinions".
Zionists think supporters of Palestinian human rights have "problematic opinions". Authors have literary awards stripped for publicly supporting the #BDS movement.
"What is the meaning of a literary award that undermines the right to advocate for human rights, the principles of freedom of conscience and expression, and the freedom to criticise? Without these, art and culture become meaningless luxuries."
The whole situation is just very sad. The author has clearly experienced a lot of bigotry and bullying and is quite rightly angry about that. That shit shouldn't happen. But the person who became the target of that deep well of outrage was not one of the people who had mistreated her. He was just a random someone who happened to come to her attention. Wong place, wrong time. The truly sad thing is that when she emptied her discursive gun into his reputation, she didn't even know who he was.
@strypey I think this isn't the first case where a hacker inserts one word that changes the meaning of the sentence 180 degrees, and someone else (persumably a non-hacker) doesn't notice/understand that word and replies to the resulting misinterpretation.
@strypey It doesn't help that people tend to insert some until-recently modifier words without meaning them, just as a decoration, destroying their modifier semantics.
@strypey Many things are going on here.
- Social media & surveillance capitalism modifying our behavior for engagement. Outrage gets attention.
- Changing nature of American universities and new generation of students. See: https://www.thecoddling.com.
- RMS isn't guilty of what he's accused of in this particular instance. But he has been rude to people, and it didn't help. I can't speak for women.
(I was at Kuhn's LibrePlanet talk when RMS made a fuss. Also see: https://web.archive.org/web/20070507123606/http://edward.oconnor.cx/2005/04/rms)
@strypey My own introduction to free software movement is from Stallman's talks and writings. He gave a talk in my college in India back in 2001. I got excited and did a project on Hurd. He's been traveling around the world, giving talks, recruiting.
It is sad and ironic that surveillance capitalism and dirty yellow journalism got RMS at a time when the ideas of libre is more important than ever, and people who should know better joined the fray. 😞
@sajith I can't read Medium from behind the Great Firewall. Is there a copy on the fediverse, or anywhere else that isn't a US datafarm?
@strypey It is written by Thomas Bushnell, BSG, a long-time collaborator of rms on GNU Hurd project. I too wish that Bushnell had chosen a less questionable website than medium dot com to share his thoughts.
How about an archive.org link?
@strypey Also, why would they block Medium? 🤔
You're probably better off without Medium, in my opinion. I suspect people who choose to write there are (1) people that are okay with walled gardens, overtly bloated websites, and other silicon valley style bullshit; (2) people who are tainted by the lure of "metrics" provided by Medium. Writing for metrics is basically writing for A Herd.
Obviously I do not like Medium as a medium. 🙂
@strypey Also Hollywood thinks the software freedom movement have "problematic opinions" due to their distaste for DRM, despite they fact the reason why they're centered in California is to avoid Edison's insistance on them using a "rent don't buy" model (amongst other things).
> We can suppose that yes it's possible. But we don't know.
She says so in her Medium post, as part of her explanation for her decision to lash out at Stallman. I believe her. It's not like it's unusual for women from ethnic minorities to experience discrimination. We're not going to solve this problem of scorched earth Safer Spaces Policing without empathy for the real suffering that is exploited by it for political purposes (as it clearly was with Stallman).
@mangeurdenuage you misunderstand. I'm saying I believe the author has had bad experiences in their life which have made them angry. This much seems obvious. Why else would they have lashed out against Stallman, someone they hadn't even heard of?
I don't support her actions and I think Stallman has been treated very unjustly, as I've said many times here (including the thread you are replying to) and on the Trisquel forums.
> that is exploited for political purposes (as it clearly was with Stallman).
Sorry, I didn't edit this carefully. What I meant is that the unresolved trauma of people like the author gets manipulated by people who have political goals, like nobbling Stallman and dividing the software freedom movement into squabbling factions. But the trauma is real and needs to be acknowledged, if we want to immunize our movement against these tactics.
@strypey very very hot take
@adidal yeah, I need to get into the habit of finishing an article, and taking a breath, before posting about it. Then I might say something a bit more like this:
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