why cannot assign to function call

Steven D'Aprano steven at REMOVE.THIS.cybersource.com.au
Mon Jan 5 08:47:11 CET 2009

On Mon, 05 Jan 2009 01:13:48 -0600, Grant Edwards wrote:

> On 2009-01-05, Derek Martin <code at pizzashack.org> wrote:
>>> I'm sorry, but I really don't see how Python's assignment model could
>>> be considered bizarre by anybody who's familiar with more than one or
>>> two languages.
>> And... what if one wasn't?  The OP of this thread clearly didn't
>> understand... Whereas if you've read the thread, clearly I do. Of
>> course, had you read my post, you probably would have understood that
>> my comment about the model being bizarre was intended to be viewed from
>> the perspective of someone who *had not* seen anything like it before,
> X is bizarre because it is unfamiliar to anybody who has never seen X
> before?

Bizarre: "conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual".

The bizarre is contingent on what people consider familiar, and naturally 
if you've never seen X or anything like X before, you will find it 
unfamiliar and likely bizarre.

There's no shame in finding spaghetti alla vongole bizarre if you've 
never seen noodles or clams before. What is shameful is the refusal to 
consider that just because it is bizarre to *you* doesn't mean that it is 
bizarre to anyone else, and that your sense of bizarreness probably 
reflects more your ignorance of the wide range of edible dishes than 
anything strange about the food itself.

(On the other hand, maggot cheese really is bizarre.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casu_marzu )

By all means, if Derek doesn't like the assignment model used by Python 
(and Java, Ruby, C#, Perl, RealBasic, VisualBasic, Lua, and many other 
languages going back to at least CLU in the mid 1970s) he's free to say 
so. There are plenty of other languages out there, and perhaps he will 
find one that he likes. Or he will continue to use Python, hating every 
minute of it. Or perhaps he'll even come to like the assignment model, 
and wonder how he ever could have found it bizarre. But it's rather rich 
for him to claim that his subjective feelings about Python's assignment 
model should be treated as objective fact.


More information about the Python-list mailing list