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Sep 27 2012

Linus Torvalds on Mitt Romney and Mormonism

You folks are going to LOVE this one.

On Mitt’s “joke” that he doesn’t know why airplane windows don’t open and how that’s a big problem when there’s an electrical fire in the cabin, Linus Torvalds — Linux’s progenitor and Grand Poobah — had a few words to say on Google+.

He really seems to be a f*cking moron.

I suspect he’d crate his dog on top of the aircraft too. Because what could possibly go wrong?

He followed up:

Ok, since I publicly called the guy a f*cking moron, I guess I should also publicly follow up: it does seem Romney was joking.

Whew.

I dunno. I have my doubts it was really a joke — sure, give him the benefit of the doubt, but the way he said it was patently ridiculous and, even if intentional, terribly formed and terribly premised. Granted, I’m horrid at jokes off-the-cuff myself most days. But this depends on making yourself look way too uneducated, illogical and simple-minded to be leader of the free world. So I can’t buy it, unless Mitt — the self-aggrandizing fucker that he is — goes for self-deprecating humour in a deadpan.

But regardless of that incident’s joke status, Torvalds also said the following about Mormonism:

This is a really interesting Reddit AMA: much more so than the Obama one that got so much press, although they are obviously both related to the upcoming US elections.

Mormonism as a religion is a fairly close second to the Scientologists in the race to “Batshit Crazy”, and quite frankly, it’s not brought up enough in politics because of idiotic politically correct fears of religious criticism.

What is interesting is also that the whole “closet atheist” like in the AMA (or at least “doubting”) seems to not be unusual among Mormons. I’ve met people like thism who basically cannot admit even to their family that they aren’t believers, but are then able to talk to me just because they know I’m atheist.

So despite that apparent widespread acknowledgement that there’s some serious crazy stuff there based on the rantings on a convicted con-man, the social bonds seem to hold it together fairly closely.

Now, any religion tends to be more about the social bonds than the actual belief, but I think Morminism shows that more than most just due to how obviously ridiculous some of it is, and because the history is in fairly well-documented historical times.

Older religions have had more time to adjust their crazy (or bring it mainline, so that it isn’t quite as obviously ridiculous, because you don’t think about it)

I fucking love this guy.

Slashdot’s losing their shit over him though, amazingly enough.
Yes, Slashdot. Where geeks go for geek news. It’s acquired a decidedly libertarian bent to its editors and commentariat though in recent years. I’m guessing because entitled libertarian douchebaggery and the IT industry intersect so heavily.

Last night Linux creator Linus Torvalds took to his Google+ page and called Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney ‘a f***ing moron.’ Torvalds’ stated reason? Romney’s much-ridiculed suggestion that air passengers would be safer in emergencies if aircraft windows could be opened (a suggestion which some, including Snopes.com, have taken as a joke). Torvalds also recently called Mormonism, Romney’s religion, ‘bats**t crazy.’ Is this just Linus being Linus? Or does such outspokenness on non-technical matters reflect poorly on the Linux community that Torvalds leads?

Because that’s not a false dichotomy or anything. Outspokenness on non-technical matters just makes him politically interested, not talking out of turn. You want to suppress his freedom of speech? Hells no. I’d much rather the leaders in any community be free to speak as they see fit, so you can determine whether or not their philosophies align with yours, and cut the whole hero worship nonsense. So your glorious leader is an atheist and a liberal. So that makes you have a sad. Linux ain’t affected one whit — not any more than, say, Wikileaks’ existence and good (though controversial) works are tarnished by Julian Assange’s evidently-rapey ways.

Hero worship and the halo effect are psychological biases we need to watch out for. They’re biases we need to challenge, in fact. We’d be poor skeptics otherwise.

24 comments

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  1. 1
    Argle Bargle

    I have my doubts it was really a joke — sure, give him the benefit of the doubt, but the way he said it was patently ridiculous and, even if intentional, terribly formed and terribly premised. Granted, I’m horrid at jokes off-the-cuff myself most days. But this depends on making yourself look way too uneducated, illogical and simple-minded to be leader of the free world. So I can’t buy it, unless Mitt — the self-aggrandizing fucker that he is — goes for self-deprecating humour in a deadpan.

    If almost anyone else had made the joke, there would have been a grin or two, a couple of chuckles, and then people would forget about it. But since Romney is such a straight-laced, stuffy, prissy guy, it’s difficult to tell when he is joking. He’s probably intelligent and educated enough to know that aircraft windows don’t open. However he doesn’t seem to have a sense of humor. So if he does crack a joke then it seems unnatural. It gets worse for him since the joke is not particularly funny.

    I’m willing to give Romney the benefit of the doubt that he was joking. But I’m not laughing at his joke. George Carlin he ain’t.

  2. 2
    had3

    Btw, all religions are bats**t crazy.

  3. 3
    dsmccoy

    “I’m willing to give Romney the benefit of the doubt that he was joking.”

    He’s either totally clueless about airplane windows, or totally clueless about humor.
    Does it really matter which?

    I certainly don’t want him cracking such lead balloon jokes to other world leaders in a way which could be so deeply misunderstood.

    The man is a tool.

    Linus on the other hand.
    The libertarian douchebag IT types can go screw themselves, or boot up windows, but I repeat myself.

  4. 4
    Anonymous Atheist

    Talking about how your wife nearly could’ve died in a plane crash hardly seems like the time for a joke, regardless.

  5. 5
    olivercrangle

    Uh, if you don’t think he was joking, it actually says far worse about you and your skepticism.

  6. 6
    olivercrangle

    I love Rachel Maddow, but this segment of hers beggars belief.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/09/27/j_k_rowling_might_write_directors_cut_of_harry_potter/

    You probably have plenty of good reasons to disagree with the people you are politically opposed to. There is no need to make shit up, it just reflects what a dumbass you are.

  7. 7
    Jason Thibeault

    olivercrangle: So now I’m a bad skeptic because I’m astonished that someone ordinarily so self-aggrandizing would make a joke about his wife’s danger predicated on him being so out of touch as to not know why airplane windows aren’t openable? When every other “joke” (his pretending to have his butt grabbed by a waitress at a photo op, for instance) was delivered while laughing, and this one in complete solemn “my wife was in danger” deadpan? Yeah, I remember why I threw you in moderation now after this comment. You’ll use whatever’s at hand to club the person you oppose, regardless of how irrelevant or contrafactual or Godwin or self-inconsistent. You get a pat on the head and shown the door.

  8. 8
    left0ver1under

    George Bush was an uneducated, rabid theocrat.

    Romney is callous, uncaring theocrat.

    666 of one, half doesn’t care of the other.

  9. 9
    Ysanne

    I love how Torvalds is on all kinds of matters. :-)

    So your glorious leader is an atheist and a liberal. So that makes you have a sad. Linux ain’t affected one whit [...]

    Just one question: How could anyone be surprised by this anyway?
    I mean, just look at the whole mindset behind Linux (and GNU and Open Source and Free Software in general): Who else if not a bunch of idealistic liberals with a sense of altruism would spend so much time and effort to develop software and then distribute it freely (and then put up with the endless whining of myriads of stupid entitled users who complain about their specific wishes not having been catered for in a piece of free software no one ever asked to use…)

  10. 10
    Matt Penfold

    I love Rachel Maddow, but this segment of hers beggars belief.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/09/27/j_k_rowling_might_write_directors_cut_of_harry_potter/

    You probably have plenty of good reasons to disagree with the people you are politically opposed to. There is no need to make shit up, it just reflects what a dumbass you are.

    It seems you are confused. The link you posted is about a BBC interview JK Rowling gave to the BBC. Now what was that you were saying about making shit up ?

  11. 11
    hexidecima

    I still see nothing joke-like about what Romney said. I seem claims of “context” from some “pool report” but where is that transcript?
    not one bit of this sounds like a joke,especially not with the bolded part.

    ““I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver.. But she’s safe and sound.”

  12. 12
    oolon

    Watching the video I’d say he was joking… But the idea he was not is sufficiently funny for me to laugh at it anyway. Linus is god.

  13. 13
    John Horstman

    Jokes are funny; if not serious, Romney’s window-opening comment was at best not intended to be a factual statement.

  14. 14
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    It never sounded remotely like a joke to me.

  15. 15
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Maybe Mittens may be trying to see what new jobs he’s good for after failing to become POTUS?

    If so, he can scratch “stand-up comedian” off his list.

    (Yeah, I know he’s uber-super-mega-rich now but perhaps he’ll need a new career to pay off his debts after this failed election bid? Wecan hoepcan’t we?)

  16. 16
    Sheesh

    He won’t have any debts after running, fwiw. He’s invested next to nothing of his own money in his campaign this time. Something like $50 grand, which is obviously nothing when you earn 10 million bucks a year from interest and shit.

  17. 17
    Sheesh

    Thought I’d better check myself. I was wrong about Romney’s self contribs. It’s only $5,000. Oops! That’s the stuff that’s disclosed anyhow. I have no reason to think he’s illegally self-funding when he’s getting simply gobs, and gobs of cash from the conservative machine.

  18. 18
    Joey Maloney

    Sheesh, there is of course no way of knowing if or how much Romney has put his own cash into the numerous “dark money” channels that have opened up since Citizens United. He could be putting millions into any of the superPACs or other conduits that don’t require disclosure.

  19. 19
    Sheesh

    Hey Joey,
    That’s a very fair point. And you’re absolutely right that I should be agnostic about what Romney has spent of his own fortune; there really is just no way to know these days.

    That is so depressing. I hadn’t even thought of this avenue for the amazingly wealthy to secretly self-fund.

  20. 20
    Jason Thibeault

    That’s why Citizens United was such a shitty name for what amounts to a consolidation of power by the super-rich.

  21. 21
    Sheesh

    Just a failure of imagination on my part. :p

    It’s always been obvious to me that the “money is speech argument” enables the super-rich to buy and sell pawns to run government as they demand (they have more speech than the rest of us, after all), but just this one facet — that the sufficiently wealthy could cut out the middleman and just hypothetically buy the position for themselves outright without any of us ever knowing — I had not considered.

  22. 22
    Jason Thibeault

    Actually, it speaks to your character, Sheesh. Those tactics take an active will to subvert democracy.

  23. 23
    Dude

    I hope the same thing that happened to Brendan Eich doesn’t happen to Linus.

  24. 24
    Jason Thibeault

    What are you trying to say here, Dude? That making fun of a rich guy with a ton of political power for making a joke at his wife’s expense, then thereafter talking shit about the cult he adheres to, is as morally objectionable as giving a lot of money to a political group trying to actively oppress a segment of society for the way they were born?

    I suppose an argument could be made that you’re born into obscene levels of religious and monetary and societal privilege and that a total lack of empathy might be a genetic trait, much like homosexuality, but there’s a lot of good reasons to punish lack of empathy, and no good reasons to punish liking people who can’t make babies with you.

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