[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Nuance Regarding RMS

Le jeudi 01 avril 2021 à 11:51:59+0100, Barak A. Pearlmutter a écrit :
> I can personally vouch for the fact that RMS can be very difficult. He
> takes social awkwardness to new heights. He’s remarkably stubborn in
> technical matters even when outside his domain of expertise and
> completely wrong. He is not a fun house guest. His manners as a dinner
> guest are atrocious. He was by far the most logistically problematic
> seminar speaker I have ever hosted. He takes umbrage at quite
> innocuous colloquial phrasing, and is obstinate about his own
> idiosyncratic interpretation of English semantics. He overshares, and
> has great difficulty reading others' emotions.
> But he's not transphobic. That accusation is basically scurrilous. At
> https://libreboot.org/news/rms.html is an impassioned but well
> reasoned (at least in this regard) defense of RMS from a trans woman
> he had a big public fight with. “If you actually tell Richard your
> preferred pronouns, he’ll use them with you without hesitation.
> Several of my friends are trans and also speak to Richard, mostly via
> email. He respects their pronouns also.”
> Calling him ablist is similarly unfair. He was defending women’s right
> to terminate pregnancies when the fetus has a condition like trisomy
> 21. Whatever your views are on the underlying political question, to
> twist that as ablist is quite a stretch.
> RMS is not violent.
> He's weird with everyone, which do I think has, in general, a
> disproportionate effect on women. As does his poor personal hygiene.
> He had a mattress in his office at MIT because he was basically living
> there. That might give lots of people squicky feelings, but would have
> a disproportionate effect on women. He makes unwelcome sexual
> overtures to women, but backs off when turned down (with perhaps
> isolated exceptions decades ago). That's totally inappropriate
> behaviour. He seems unable to sense when someone finds him repellent.
> Basically, he’s super creepy and unpleasant. He picks his feet and
> eats it while delivering seminars.
> Nina Paley hosted him in her apartment in New York on a number of
> occasions, and had a similar read.
> I'm not sure he'd be an ideal board member, but that’s a practical
> rather than ethical consideration, and surely best left to the
> judgement of the individual organization.
> What’s problematic to me about this whole “Cancel RMS” business is the
> lack of nuance. He’s clearly not neurotypical in a way that makes him
> very difficult to deal with. He doesn’t make appropriate eye contact.
> He’s strange in ways that I think, on average, affects women more than
> men. But should we bully or ostracise him for that? I think we should
> try to develop coping strategies for both him and people who want or
> need to deal with him. That’s actually supporting and accommodating
> diversity. And it’s hard! We should seek ways to leverage his
> strengths, which are considerable. Of course, that assumes lack of
> malice, which I think is the case with RMS. He’s not malicious. He
> really wants to connect, but he’s utterly unable to. He’s weird and
> clueless. And he’s obsessed with software freedom.

Thanks for this enlightening text Barak and for sharing your feelings on

Pierre-Elliott Bécue
GPG: 9AE0 4D98 6400 E3B6 7528  F493 0D44 2664 1949 74E2
It's far easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: