N is for the young and stupid, where n = array("love", "war", "software")




The unargued, unsupported association of youth with uncultured frivolity is not merely parochial: it's a sad place to be yelling from, especially if you're playing life on the lowest difficulty setting.

Are you saying his argument isn't valid based on his race, gender, and sexual orientation? If the argument was about these actual issues and if the arguer dismissed the inherent privileges therein, I might understand why this was brought up. But for an argument that has nothing to do with race, gender, or sexual orientation, bringing up the "lowest difficulty setting" argument is pretty much saying that you have dismissed a person's argument based on your stereotype that their life has been easy.




Okay, then I still don't see why you included that statement. Would it be a less sad place of yelling if it were written by someone who played life at a more difficult setting? Or more specifically, does the author's actual life circumstances make it sadder than it should be?

I'm not trying to be a jerk here, I just think the difficulty setting of life discussion has importance to be understood from a general social perspective, but that we have to be careful using it as an argument in a specific case because then it may only amount to stereotyping.


Agreed. Intentional or not, it comes across as an ad hominem.


If you were going to ding the NYT for tech coverage, how do you fail to mention that the person (Pogue) they hire to review also writes manuals for that product? So, he has multiple conflicts of interest: he needs to remain friendly with the buggy software makers (Microsoft) to get access and he wants to sell his books on how to use the buggy software.

[Full disclosure: the above paragraph was written in 2007.]


Completely OT, but thanks for the link to that John Scalzi article.


I’m not sure what Winer is going on about. I’m a non-young reader, with a life, and I read both the arts pages and the tech pages of the New York Times with equal enjoyment. Both manage to avoid the po-faced presumption that suffuses so many of the Times’s news articles – the presentation of an official line, which has been the paper’s irritating and misleading practice in news stories for at least the past forty years. Both the arts coverage and the tech coverage are refreshingly lively. Well, usually.


Perhaps, though the specifics always matter. It's sad in his case because things like degrees, mates and children, as he put it, are more readily achieved (and certainly more normal choices), when you're playing life on an easy setting. He evokes these things in a discussion of the intelligence and depth of news reportage, of the worthiness of its subject matter.

So I think it's informative to show his own life's context, when he suggests that young people haven't "lived their lives" until they've reached certain milestones--milestones that were relatively easy for him to attain or forego.

He implies that the young, and their frivolous software, aren't the New York Times' ideal readers, or subjects, as far as his whining applies to either. Fair game for a privilege check, IMO.


Remember when David Winer used to be relevant instead of just an old whiny asshole? Me neither.


remind me to get off of this "winer's" lawn


Sometimes it helps to listen to the older guys, though. I'm a semi-regular listener to This Week in Tech on TWiT, and John C. Dvorak brought up an interesting point: more PCs were sold in the last 6 months than the total number of iPads sold. This in a post-PC era, on a network where the younger, savvier folk have declared the PC to be dead, dead, dead and PC manufacturers should just get on with building phones and tablets.

Dismissing the older white guys because they're older white guys seems...um...well, I can't think of anything nice to say about that. Skin pigmentation and where one carries one's genitals does not confirm or deny the existence of wisdom, intelligence, or business savvy. If it did, well, what would that say about my (deceased) racist, misogynist great-grandpa? Because he thought skin pigmentation told you nearly everything you need to know about a person.

Ever use RSS?

EDIT: Having said all of the above...I'm 38 years old, about to turn 39, and despite going into the Real World straight out of college and sticking with it, I still get treated like the greenhorn; hell, I've been passed over for jobs both for being too young and inexperienced and for being yet another partially fosssilized straight white dude. And I didn't come from a place of privilege, at least as far as us white Americans go. For the former reason I can see telling guys the age of Winer that maybe it's time to make room for some of the younger folks. As for the latter...hey, all I'm asking for is a chance to prove myself on my own merits, same as everyone else. No amount of contrition will change the past. All I can do is promise that I won't be an asshole and will treat you like equals if you'll do the same.


Dude, I'm 42 and I spent nine years working on Internet Explorer and the last six working on Firefox. I'm well aware of who Dave Winer is and his history, including a lot of the less savory aspects of his constant self-promotion and "angry old man of the 'net" routine. Once upon a time, I thought he was potentially relevant and he's spent the last 12 or so years proving that to have been a mistaken view.

I've met him in person more than once, including listen to him turn a session at Mozilla into his personal bitchfest about what we were doing wrong (according to Dave). I'm also the first person that told members of the Internet Explorer team that, hey, maybe we should add something to consume RSS into the browser (which IE later did).

I think I come by my opinion of him honestly as a 19 year veteran of the Internet industry and someone who as been on the net since the late 1980's.


"John C. Dvorak" and "interesting point" in the same sentence... The point to remember is the trend lines. Overall tablet sales aren't expected to overtake PC's until 2015 at the earliest.


oh man, I come in with the at-this-point-cliché "stay off the lawn" bit (not even bringing race, sex, gender, or orientation into the mix) and I get an earful of how hard it is being an old cishet white male who "didn't come from a place of privilege." Worth the price of admission; still laughing.


Relatively. Within my home area I could find a black person to help with a sure-fire shoplifting scheme: have my co-conspirator walk around a store, while I fill up my coast with merchandise. I know it works because big-box retail kept my gas tank full through college, and the security guys I worked with were racist assholes. I helped bust one of those schemes because I knew they were gullible. Helped get one of those guys get booted out of that job, in fact; he followed around the local high-school's long-time, well-respected choral teacher.

Keep in mind that a black African American comes from a place of incredible privilege, compared to someone from the DRC.

And there was nothing more "precious" than coming from a place where I cleaned out chicken houses and hauled hay for gas money in H.S., hauled buckets of water for my grandma because she didn't have indoor plumbing, be told that I was starting at a distinct disadvantage against other uni students--even against students from less-affluent countries--because the school system I went through really did suck that bad, only to have a lib arts prof who was a female equivalent to Dave Winer (born into academic families, never struggled, never hungry) tell me the highest grade I could earn was a C because I was too privileged.

I already knew the U.S. sucked for non-white, non-straight people, and got to see some of that firsthand. I mean, there's nothing quite like watching a friend go through anguish after a sexual assault, only to be ridiculed when he turned it in to law enforcement because lol ur a guy and ur gay lol and have women laugh it off as well. Having said that, the way some lib arts profs handle it--punish them white kids as if they're all affluent suburb kids--end up turning people conservative imho.


I'm saying that there's more to software than they're covering.


Interesting story, but obviously there's more than one side to it. I met a bunch of people that day at Mozilla with a lot of good ideas for my own software. I kept in touch with Chris Double, who's a great guy, I met him that day. I try to listen when people say how my product could be better. I'm sure that's where I was coming from, because at the time I was using Firefox as my main browser. So I had a chance to talk with the people who made the software. I thought the best thing I could do was to advocate for what I believe. You were free not to listen, of course.


People went into the room wanting a conversation and got an hour of you lecturing folks in a bossy way. Quite a few were less than amused. Of course there is more than one side, especially when one of the sides is oblivious to his effect on people and their reactions to what he says.

In the end, it doesn't matter. You're privileged and put upon act is old and most folks, like the author of this article, see through it at this point. You aren't the target audience of a product with over 150 million daily users. The Internet of 1994 or 96 is not the Internet of 2013 or 2015. It can't be a realm of well to do middle class white dudes only (and I say this as one of them). Embrace a little diversity and quit acting like you're lecturing all the stupid young folks different than you.

All in my humble opinion, of course. You'll discount what I say and continue with your schtick.


Unfortunately I do care about things like this. I wish I didn't because you're being horribly unfair, and a bit hypocritical (you're white and male yourself, unless that's not your picture). I wish you well nonetheless, you never know when and how you'll cross paths with people in the future. wink