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P. Graham's "What you can't say" & Joel's "Résumé"

Might fulfill each other :)

Ref.: http://paulgraham.com/say.html

Graham's article is very good, don't you think ?

Dewd
Friday, January 30, 2004

Mmmhhh... I don't know. I think Graham's article is more about the philosophy behind the ideas that reign in a particular society at a particular time, and Joel's is a small rant against people that can't express well with written words.
Actually, I didn't like Graham's article that much; he makes some very valid and intelligent points, but in the way, IMHO he sounds too much like a parent talking to his kids and extends some ideas to the point where you might think "OK, I got it, move on, where is this leading to?". I had never read Graham but apparently he has some friends that do write interesting things... (he thanks Eric Raymond for proof-reading his essay) I did like his essay on Stoping Spam, though.

Dario Vasconcelos
Friday, January 30, 2004

I thought P.Graham's article was more about saying things like "All H1-B indians smell like curry."  How does it relate to the resume?


Friday, January 30, 2004

It reminds me of a great TV serie from 10+ years ago: "The Day the Universe Changed". It was a very interesting and thought provoking show about some paradigm shifts in human knowledge (earth circling around the sun, etc.)

It seems the guy made also a book:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316117048/002-5103249-9926449

R Chevallier
Friday, January 30, 2004

"When you find something you can't say, what do you do with it? My advice is, don't say it."

Seems to me that the author follows his own advice well.  A lot of long winded talk about how to recognize and expose moral fashions in the present time, yet there is little attention paid to actually executing any of the analysis.  No more than a mention of things the author disagrees with (i.e. DCMA) is given.  I can see why, as the article was not meant to pick a battle over any particular topic.  Unfortunately though, with a lack of evidence, it all comes off as mere speculation regarding the methods of identifying moral fashions during their time.  An awful lot of fat to cut through for a little bit of meat.

Elephant
Friday, January 30, 2004

I think Paul Graham's articles are *usually* very insightful, but this is not one of them. He kind of skirts around some concepts without using colorful analogies or any examples from the post-galileo era. I got the feeling that he was trying to blurt some heresy out, but was afraid to, so he wrote this uninspiring prose instead.
Something's missing...

Jordan Lev
Friday, January 30, 2004

I read it that way, too. Something like
Here's a list of things you should never talk about in public:
-
-
-
-
-

Philo

Philo
Friday, January 30, 2004

well maybe he is someone who has said unfashionable things; and maybe he is hinting that he wishes he hadn't?

i like i
Friday, January 30, 2004

It reminds me of a high school essay on conformity, normality, etc. that teachers like to assign.

Yawn.

Nick
Friday, January 30, 2004

Yeah, this was not one of Paul Graham's better articles.

While I still enjoy his writings, an obvious undercurrent is his advocacy of the Lisp programming language.  More than advocacy, really, it's a kind of reveling in Lisp being oddball and kinda underground (though admittedly very, very powerful).  But this continual angle of all of his articles stemming from justifying his love of Lisp...well, it does get a little tiring.  I read "What you can't say" as kind of a higher-level, rambling justification for his love of the alternative.

Junkster
Friday, January 30, 2004

Paul Graham and Philip Greenspun suffer from the same problem: obtaining a PhD in computer science seems to stunt your intellectual growth in every other intellectual area. They may be wise beyond their years when it comes to LISP, but when it comes to philosophy they read like junior high school students.


Friday, January 30, 2004

So will it now be popular to say that there are just certain things you can't say in polite society (the internet laughingly being polite society?)

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, January 30, 2004

Not only is it long-winded and everything else, but his conclusions are just plain bizarre.  Take, frex, the idea that if we consider something shocking, but lots of other cultures think it's OK, we're probably wrong.  Does this apply to slavery?  Child labor?  The list goes on...

And his off-hand statement that anyone who gets a PhD in physics could get one in French Lit. just boggles the mind.  (Because no-one's ever met a science wiz who has trouble with foreign languages).

Gav

Gav
Friday, January 30, 2004

I haven't read "What you can't say", but the quality of his other articles seems to be directly proportional to how much they have to do with LISP.

Semi-Anonymous Coward
Friday, January 30, 2004

Heh. Couldn't have said it better, semi.


Friday, January 30, 2004

Oh, I get it!  All the negative responses are just trying to "Think the Unthinkable"!

Well done.

It seems the essay hit its mark.

David B. Wildgoose
Friday, January 30, 2004

Here are some things not to say in public unless you want to get into a long discussion that you can't win:

-Spanking children is a correct form of discipline.

-I wonder if Hitler was perceived by the Germans in the early years of his chancellorship in the same manner the GW Bush has been in his presidency?

-The Partriot Act is not meant to stop terrorism but to erode the rights of individuals.

-Joel can be wrong.

Not giving my usual id...
Friday, January 30, 2004

Follow the link at the bottom labeled "A Civic Duty to Annoy", an essay by Wendy Kaminer.  It is a bit more interesting read.  PG essay was interesting but too much theory and not enough examples.

mackinac
Friday, January 30, 2004

Here's something interesting that actually agrees with Graham's article: I live in Mexico, so items 2 (Hitler - Bush) and 3 (Patriot Act) are perfectly common here and nobody would complain if you brought them into conversation.

Now, about no. 4 (Joel can be wrong), you just go to Slashdotland, where everybody agrees...

Dario Vasconcelos
Friday, January 30, 2004

See http://paulgraham.com/resay.html for why he didn't include specific examples. (Briefly, because then all the discussion would be about the examples, instead of about the subject.)

He provides some interesting links at the bottom of the article. I especially liked this one: http://www.eco.freedom.org/el/20040101/aliens.shtml

Martha
Friday, January 30, 2004

I'm impressed how he managed to string out "people are sheep" into such a long essay.  I doubt such insight, such pure unadulterated wisdom will be seen again within our lifetimes, Paul Graham is a god of our time.

Now if only he wrote management books.

pompous blowhard
Friday, January 30, 2004

The vacuity of Graham's article illustrates why Physics PhD's would not do well in French PhD programs.

Humanities disciplines require that something actually be said.

I like beaches
Friday, January 30, 2004

> Now if only he wrote management books.

Management cannot say what cannot be said. As a manager, you can only say what you can say. Therefore everything you say is ok, and your underlings must accept what you say. If they disagree with you, it's their problem because you've obviously said exactly what needed to be said.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, January 30, 2004

Pinku Surana made some interesting comments, which were then read by Paul Graham himself - it was funny.

http://rover.cs.northwestern.edu/~surana/blog/past/000138.html

Prakash S
Friday, January 30, 2004

As a couple of people have mentioned, Graham's arguments are basic philosophy. Still, there are plenty of programmers who haven't studied any philosophy, and the essay will expose them to some worthwhile ideas.

Julian
Monday, February 02, 2004

Googled: Searched for pages linking to paulgraham.com/say.html.      Results 1 - 10 of about 471. Search took 0.26 seconds.

Dewd
Monday, February 02, 2004

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