15 Mar 2001 ianb   » (Journeyer)

shoen (re: IBM Linux Ads):

It seems like the only way to be a real dissenter anymore is to be truly subversive. "Image Is Nothing" is it's own image, and all that bull. Every way you can rebel, there's someone there to sell you something to express your rebellion, to profit from your dissatisfaction. So how do rebel against the leaches that profit off of your rebellion? If you say they suck, they'll just agree with you and try to sell you something about how much they suck.

IBM would be happy to sell the idea of the socially disfunctional hackers with no corporate sensibilities, in the midst of their almost quintessentially corporate reality. They don't give a damn.

But they are only willing to go so far. In all the pandering to rebellion, they still find it hard to consort with the real believers. They'll never get RMS on an ad, they probably would never try. He's far too sincere. He would seem awkard and disjoint from the environment an ad would place him in; the ad is utterly insincere, entirely cynical, like all ads (except maybe the ads made from stock clipart for roofers in the local paper -- they are genuine).

The weird thing is, the advertisers wouldn't look bad in that ad -- RMS would. The true believer would look stupid and pointless, utterly unhip. He'd be likely to make special note of the GNU in GNU/Linux. Not because he's dumb or doesn't get it, but because RMS doesn't know how to turn it off. He's so utterly sincere that he can't play the game and he can't compromise.

Maybe that's the salvation available -- to be so sincere that the cynicism can't corrupt you. Everyone will laugh at you and think you're stupid, and it will be like a kid in a Special Olympic commercial, or the old woman who couldn't get up, and couldn't act either so that people pounced on her awkard vulnerability. They can't corrupt that because to embrace it would destroy their image. Punks tried to achieve this by flicking off their audience and saying fuck a lot -- by pissing everyone off -- but they only made it all worse, helped us all along towards this cynicism which makes it so hard to rebel. But you can be totally the opposite and fuck things up a little once again.

It's hard, though, because like all the hardest things if you try too hard you'll fail.

Anyway, that's what comes to mind. When someone says "Open Source", tell them "No, Free Software", and when they look confused say "like speach, not beer", and keep saying that until you annoy them.

Just walk in and sing, "Join us now and share the software". You know if one person, just one person does it, they may think he's sick and they won't take him. And if two people do it, in harmony, they'll think you're both faggots and they won't take either of you. And if three people -- can you image three people walking in, singing a bar of The Free Software Song and walking out? They may think it's an organization. Can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day, walking in, singing a bar of The Free Software Song, and walking out? Friends, they may think it's a movement. And that's what it is.

I'd apologize to Arlo Guthrie, but I doubt he frequents Advogato.

Latest blog entries     Older blog entries

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!