What does Python fix?

Martijn Faassen m.faassen at vet.uu.nl
Sat Jan 19 16:37:36 CET 2002


Tim Peters <tim.one at home.com> wrote:
[snip]
> Any language even *inspired* by Lisp is doomed to eternal obscurity.  The
> Lisp'ers have been gnashing their teeth over "why?!" for decades.  It's no
> longer my job to explain it, since I abandoned Lisp years ago (I couldn't
> understand the concept of nested parentheses <wink>).

It has been my observation that long time Lisp use seems to affect the
mind in weird ways. Lisp use seems to have a higher than average chance
to make the user become rather, ahum, eccentric. Take for instance Richard
Stallman, or Erik Naggum. 

Perhaps it's the conceptual single-mindedness of Lisp that affects the brain.
Or perhaps the infix notation? We need to investigate Forth users, another
conceptually single-minded language but definitely without any infix
syntax whatsoever. Chuck Moore seems to fit the bill for eccentric more than
the average person. Then again, Perl is hardly conceptually single-minded,
and Larry Wall can be considered to be fairly eccentric. Any chance we
can blame that on Lisp use in his past somewhere? Probably not. And Smalltalk,
also conceptually single-minded, does not seem to have the same effect on
its users.

Another reason might be that Lisp is an old language. Perhaps you had to
be prone to eccentricity to be attracted to programming back then.
We need to sample old Fortran and Cobal programmers to verify this
theory. I cannot think of any obvious examples, so this theory has a 
bad start.

It is still uncertain what effect Python has on long term mental processes.
One example of what we could all turn into would be Tim Peters, an entirely
normal and well adjusted personality. We therefore seem to have nothing
to worry about.

Well, for some obscure reasons people seem to think Tim is a bot, but that
is no reason to call him eccentric. And all the other reasons people could 
come up with suffer from obvious logical flaws as well. And if people judge
him eccentric anyway, then we can point to his use of Lisp in the past as
the cause.

Me-eccentric?-ly yours,

Martijn
-- 
History of the 20th Century: WW1, WW2, WW3?
No, WWW -- Could we be going in the right direction?



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