Charles Petzold

Run! Hide! Politics on the Loose!

November 10, 2006
New York, NY

Those of us who write blogs mainly devoted to programming and other technical matters soon learn to abide by an unwritten law: Thou shalt not discuss politics.

No one knows the origins of this prohibition. Some believe it derived from a custom from ancient times when the consumption of half-baked political ideas caused trichinosis.

What are the penalties for breaking this law? An example was recently provided when Chris Sells expressed some elation at the results of last Tuesday's election. He was immediately set upon by a largely anonymous mob who pummelled him without mercy while others attempted to come to Chris's defence and break up the brawl. Some even vowed never to buy another Chris Sells book again. Presumably, by some twisted logic, if Chris Sells receives book royalties, then the Terrorists win.

Holy Karl Rove! Is this really the extent of the divisiveness that exists in American political discourse today? You can't buy a programming book from someone whose politics are different from yours? When did this happen?

Well, let me tell you: If you're going to boycott Chris Sells' books because of his politics, you're going to have to boycott mine as well. I live in New York City, so you can just imagine what kind of scary politics I have.

Those of us who write programming books and programming blogs are not some kind of emasculated apolitical coding and writing machines. We are complete human beings. And some of us have been pretty sick over the disgraceful and un-American actions of our beloved country under the Bush administration.

So please forgive us if we experience some slight optimism that the majority of Americans now seem to oppose Bush (as they did six years ago).