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davorg (18)

Yahoo! ID: daveorguk (Add User, Send Message)

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Journal of davorg (18)

Tuesday January 27, 2004
07:57 AM

Python Programmers

[ #17036 ]

I just got an email from someone who read my "Why Perl Advocacy Is A Bad Idea" piece and failed to see the joke. He accused me of saying that Python and Tcl programmers are idiots and as a Python programmer himself he took massive offence at this.

Now, I don't think that I say that at all in the article, but does anyone else get that sense from it? What worries me more is that an article that was supposed to be gently mocking the Perl community itself can be seen as offensive to Python programmers.

Maybe I should put a big flashing "this is a joke" banner at the top of the page.

At times like these I wish gnat's Python talk was online, but I can see why it isn't :)

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  • ENOHUMOR (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jjohn (22) on 2004.01.27 8:41 (#27778) Homepage Journal
    Don't sweat it, Dave. History is littered with otherwise bright people who lack a funny bone. Irony can be difficult to project through the written word. Just look at the mess Salman Rushdie got into with Satanic Verses. Or what happened to Voltaire []:
    « In 1814 a group of "ultras" (right-wing religious) stole Voltaire's remains and dumped them in a garbage heap. No one was the wiser for some 50 years. His enormous sarcophagus (opposite Rousseau's) was checked and the remains were gone. (see Orieux, Voltaire, vol. 2 pp. 382-4.) His heart, however, had been removed from his body, and now lays in the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris. His brain was also removed, but after a series of passings-on over 100 years, disappeared after an auction.»

    So at least you've got something to look forward to. *wink*

  • Joke =~ truth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ajt (2546) on 2004.01.27 9:04 (#27780) Homepage Journal

    Like all good jokes it contains plausible elements and truth. If you read it with little understanding of irony, and/or too quickly you may misread it.

    In the three years I spent in the US I found most Americans I met had little appreciation of subtle humour like this - I don't think it's their style. If English isn't your first language then it's easy to miss a joke like this too.

    While I thought the article was funny, I can see how someone could miss the point. You have to be just the right kind of person to see the joke, and I suppose your critic wasn't..

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
  • by delegatrix (506) on 2004.01.27 9:55 (#27784) Homepage
    About 10 years ago I posted an April Fool's version of my faq for comp.infosystems.gis. I got mail back from someone saying that it was obvious I didn't know anything about GIS. Someone else said that it was offensive. Sometimes you just have to put big blinking HUMOR lights at the top of something as a clue for the humor-impaired.
  • by ziggy (25) on 2004.01.27 10:14 (#27785) Journal
    First, I want to say that this piece was one of the funniest performances at any OSCon. Ever.

    One basis for humor is shared experience. The Jewish lament about a bad restaurant «The food is horrible! And such small portions!», for example, doesn't play very well in Ethiopia.

    Case in point: I used to wear a tshirt that said «Once you've seen one nuclear war, you've seen them all». It got a few laughs, a few groans, and one complaint: from a Russian who used to serve aboard a Soviet nuclear sub in a former life. He thought that tshirt made me a war-monger.

    I wouldn't take this python programmer's comments too seriously. It's just that he doesn't share the experiences that make your audience laugh.

  • No matter how right you are, someone will always have something bad to say about you.

    In one case, my wife, an international opera singer, was headlining an opera written especially for her. The Wall Street Journal reviewed the piece (I think because the royal family of Thailand and the Crown Prince of Belgium were there), and called her "wooden", in a bad way. However, her character was a certain rose bush of Thai mythology.

    I think this is analogous to Andy's "Can't you just..." thing. People open their mouths when they should not. :)
  • It made me think of Linux on the desktop.