"If the offence was unintended, an apology
should be cheap."
An apology is cheap, it's true — but it's also
counterproductive, because it reinforces the false belief
that such an apology was necessary or appropriate.
Pandering to these people just
contributes to the utterly idiotic culture of political
correctness which blights our society.
Let's take a look at what he actually said,
crying out loud...
“A release is an amazing thing; I’m not
talking about the happy ending..”: 3:02
It's crude, but I don't see it as being sexist. The terms
'release' and 'happy ending' could just as well be used to
describe the female experience as the male experience,
although ladies are less inclined to make such reference to
it in public. It's not excluding women
“Your printer, and your mom’s printer, and
your grandma’s printer”: 35:30
Oh, for crying out loud.
Would it really
have made that much difference if
he'd said 'dad and grandma'
, or 'mom and
? No, it wouldn't. Some people must have been
hard to find something to take
Of course your mum is
likely to be less technical than your dad. That's just the
way the world is. Does your mum complain when she gets
cheaper car insurance? Men and women are different,
and we shouldn't be burned at the stake if that fundamental
fact of life affects the minor details of how we phrase what
My own mother died a few years ago; did I cry myself to
sleep after Mark's keynote because I felt excluded by his
choice of words? No. I didn't. Some people really do need to
“we’ll have less trouble explaining to girls
what we actually do" at 35:55
There's another one which excludes me. I'm not single, so I
don't spend my time trying to impress girls. Should I have
been offended? Of course not.
In this context, I'd usually have said "normal people",
rather than "girls"; I tend to be quite
my geek nature.
But when I say "normal people" I often have to then
explain what I meant by it. It makes more far sense to say
"girls", because then people instantly recognise what
I'm trying to say.
So I think it's entirely reasonable that Mark said
"girls" in that context. When trying to communicate
to a room full of people, of course you communicate
in a way which will be understood by all of them without
having to go back and explain yourself.
He certainly didn't mean to say "Hey, I think the Linux
community is entirely comprised of single (or philandering)
males, and lesbians."
If you draw that inference, then you are being
(I should probably point out that the 'single or
philandering' qualification in my above sentence applies to
both males and lesbians. I didn't mean to suggest that
lesbians aren't capable of a monogamous relationship. Please
put the torch down and back away from my front
door. But thank you for demonstrating just how stupid some
people can be when they're looking for a way to
There are problems in the geek community which make it hard
for females to join in, and there are real
with some of the things that people say sometimes. The geek
feminist lobby certainly has a point, in the general case.
But Mark's keynote was not an example of this. By throwing
their toys out of the pram over Mark's keynote, they cheapen
the whole debate and perform a stunning
ad hominem on themselves.
If you want to be treated with respect and integrate into
the society, you don't achieve that by behaving like a
Jemima and kicking up a fuss over nothing. You could try
contributing to the real debate, like talking about
some of the other crap Mark was spouting in his keynote.
So no, I don't think an apology is a good idea. Unless it's
offered by the people who have been making all this stupid
fuss — and it's offered both to Mark, and also to the
who really want to promote the integration of women
in the community.