[linux-elitists] The hairball speaks

Nick Moffitt nick@zork.net
Thu Sep 11 23:59:03 PDT 2003

begin  Rick Moen Lives Three Hours from Nowhere  quotation:
> To defend the honour of the Nick Moffitt clone clan, I offer:
>    Blam.  The single most amazing opportunity to get our message
>    out, and it can't even be played on daytime TV even if the
>    producers wanted to.
> Can't?  I don't think so.  Won't is another matter -- and I honestly
> doubt that (in most of North America, at least) the word "asshole"
> -- in reference to nitwits as opposed to body parts -- is forbidden
> from TV news clips.  The more telling point (which you make
> separately) is that it just wasn't a good use of that moment, which
> also (much more than the very mild profanity) rendered it not
> newsworthy.

	Fine, so I'll definitely amend that statement.  I'm sure the
producers could broadcast it if they wanted to.  Nobody wants them to.
I don't want them to!  Microsoft's probably the only group that would.

	However, I never made the claim that you attributed to me that
somehow OTHER opportunities (such as one-on-ones with reporters) were
somehow absent.  As I said, good planning made the situation succeed
despite Eric Raymond.

> The surrounding context of this was, you may recall, Mr. Knotzke and
> a couple of others griping to the cosmos how they object to
> this-or-that aspect of Eric as a public representative of open
> source.  Your post had the merit, at least, of being on a relevant
> aspect, as opposed to bitching about (e.g.) the man's often
> out-there essays on non-computing topics, second-guessing his
> psychology, etc.  But it's not as if the "moment" was _that_
> precious, and I'm left wondering whether Eric produced worthwhile
> soundbites thereafter.  I suspect he did.

	He did somewhat, and I spent some time looking over the news
coverage on Marc Merlin's Web site.  It struck me at the time that we
were watching TV at the coffeenet after the event that the news
reporters were showing largely wide-focus shots of crowds and
individual interviews with Microsoft employees and "experts" who
weren't even at the events, followed by anchor drivel about how
"Windows has nothing to worry about".  At least one of the clips Marc
has shows some decent sound bites, but that's the long one.

	Most coverage just showed him intoning "Weee don't want YOUUUR
Windows!"  I think the man-in-the-crowd interviews (and yes, they were
all men) came across as more informative and sympathetic.  At this
point, that's subjective and not worth another am-not-are-too round
with Rick Moen.

> As was probably apparent from my earlier reaction, I completely
> missed that initial eschange at the time.  I was pretty busy keeping
> an eye around the periphery to make sure nobody was shooting us in
> the foot.

	...thus missing Eric's attempt.  (sorry, couldn't resist that

> I'm glad I wasn't called upon to ad-lib for the camera, as I was
> very distracted by all the ways things could have been going
> haywire.  It's a pity that outburst is all Eric could think of, but
> frankly none of the rest of us -- for diverse reasons, I'm sure --
> was willing to step to the fore and say anything at all.  

	None of us also billed ourselves as great orators ready to
speak to the suits in their own language.  Hell, I would have just
quaked in my boots and read off the QUESTIONS FOR THE MAN, my eyes
obviously on the sweat-stained page.  Maybe I would have spouted some
obsequious pseudointellectual tripe if I did find the nerve to speak

	I mean, hell, I finished a call with a reporter a few weeks
before the event that had me biting my fist and bonking myself on the
head calling out "Stupid, stupid, stupid!"  I wasn't a professional
spokesman, and it took a long time to get to the point where I could
talk to the press without seeming slow, smug, or uninteligible.  

	So yeah, I probably couldn't have done any better.  Don't pick
me as a "mouthpiece for Open Source" either!

> It's a little facile to accuse Eric of screwing up just because he
> spoke initially in annoyance when those arrogant assholes delivered
> a bland, we-love-our-customers-and-you-should-talk-to-OEMs prepared
> statement and then attempted to ignore the entire reason we were
> there.  I was amused more than angry, but I wouldn't have known what
> to say, either.

	Okay, fine.  Fortunately for all of us, his puerile outburst
didn't screw everything up.  It's a big win *despite Eric Raymond*.

	We can argue "screwup" versus "error in judgement" until we're
blue in the face.  

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