Mozilla, Fire Eich

As recorded by J.D. Bentley March 31st, 2014

Today, in a fit of rage and righteousness, I dragged Firefox to the trash can icon in my Dock and let go forever.

The kerplunk noise seemed sounded by a choir of angels and my eyes were hardly worthy to see the immense glory of that metal bin filling with crumpled papers. What satisfaction! When that browser, that bigot, that whore of Babylon–the Great Satan!–was safely confined to the garbage… I right-clicked. I right-clicked and I meant it and I regret it not one bit.

I slid my arrow sensually over the bottom item of the context menu, teasing each letter with its point, spelling out its final judgment.

E - M - P - T - Y.

Mmm.

T - R - A - S - H.

But just then, just as I was to click, the most delicious thought occurred. Why a bullet to the head when I could tie the heretic to a stake and set it ablaze, let it suffer a bit then throw its ashes to the wind and have not a remnant left over? And so, I held the Command key and there appeared the word, “Secure.”

Secure Empty Trash.

I clicked and leaned back smiling as the progress bar filled from one end to the other, all the way overwriting and rewriting that place where Mozilla Firefox once lived until, finally, no trace was left. No preference files, no libraries, no graphics. Not a single 1 or 0 to be found. Nothing. Firefox was no more.

Does it sound heartless? Does it sound cruel? Perhaps, but it was required. Atonement was necessary, for Brendan Eich is now CEO of Mozilla and Mozilla ought to reap what harvest their evildoing has produced.

They chose Eich, a man who contributed $1000 to Prop 8 in opposition of gay marriage. That is to say, they chose a bigot, broken from postmodern orthodoxy and clearly full of hatred, to lead an organization committed to “openness”, “inclusiveness” and “freedom”.

At this point, one might ask what “openness”, “inclusiveness” and “freedom” have to do with it. One might further wonder if the only qualities required of a CEO of a technology company are a profound understanding of the technology in question, a coherent vision for the future of the organization, and a heaping dose of professional decorum (all of which Eich seems to have).

On the first question, I should say this: that in this particular instance openness, inclusiveness and freedom mean not openness, inclusiveness and freedom in any technical or specific sense, but rather three sets of a definitive positive goodness of whatever sort you imagine them to be. Thus, when those employees–those saints!–who rightfully oppose Eich say that his opinions are not compatible with Mozilla’s “openness”, “inclusiveness” or “freedom”, what they are meaning is that Eich’s opinions are against all goodness, however you see goodness to be. And so, clearly, one cannot be for Brendan Eich and also for goodness (whatever that is). That would be absurd. If “openness”, “inclusiveness” or “freedom” were invoked under their technical definitions, less refined men might argue that demanding for Eich’s resignation is actually less open, less inclusive and less free. Perhaps even an act of childish, oppressive, narrow-minded jackassery. Clearly, this is not the case.

To the second question on what qualifies Eich or any other person to be Mozilla’s CEO, I believe it foolish to assume that the only necessary credential for running a company is a supreme ability to run a company. There’s much more to it than that. People, especially today, are in need of organizations who take clearcut stances. They want an organization with the testicular fortitude to draw a line in the sand and say, “This is what is good and this is what is bad and Brendan Eich is an immeasurably evil and awful son of a bitch.”

In a world where organizations aren’t choosing sides on philosophical, moral, theological and political issues, from where do you expect the masses to absorb their own worldviews? If not for chocolate sandwich cookies, fried chicken, and–Yes! Starting today!–web browsers, how would people know whether or not gay marriage is a thing worthy of support? If Eich remains CEO, people may be forced to consider an opposing view, however articulately and delicately laid out, as something other than outright bigotry and madness. That’s wholly unacceptable. If an individual’s viewpoint is clearly–clearly!–on the wrong side of history, it ought to be discounted and buried immediately. And Mozilla ought to be the one doing it. I’m not in need of a philosopher, a priest, or a politician. I need only my web browser.

That is why I fully support those employees–those saints!–who are rightfully calling for Eich’s resignation. They are so deeply committed to this postmodern orthodoxy that they are willing to risk another man’s job that their ideals may live! What courage! What sacrifice! Let us prostrate in reverence of their truly inspiring bravery and ever endeavor to their greatness.

As for me, I have done my part. I have deleted Firefox and returned to Chrome until this mess is sorted out.

And you ought to, too.

March 31st, 2014

A Modest Dreamer

As recorded by J.D. Bentley March 10th, 2014

Spend a decent amount of time in a foreign country, maybe 6 months, preferably more. Make sure you only have the most rudimentary understanding of its language and culture. Bottle up all that frustration generated by your many failed attempts at communication and assimilation, and let it transform you from the inside out. Only then will you one day awake and find yourself to be the least ambitious person in the world.

Last night, my transformation was complete. I had a very long, very satisfying dream wherein I stood at the back of a line, maybe 5 people deep, and waited to order a pizza. You must understand that here in Rio de Janeiro, this would be no small task. It would be humiliating. I’d spend hours preparing for it and the rest of the week regretting it. So it was nice to stand in an English-speaking, American pizza line, imaginary or not.

I stood and I carefully thought about what the order should be. “Pepperoni and sausage, of course. No, wait. This particular kind of sausage might be a little too sweet for Carla. So let’s say half pepperoni, and half pepperoni and sausage. Well, Carla’s not particularly fond of pepperoni, and she wouldn’t appreciate any kind of non-meat or non-cheese anyway. So let’s do half pepperoni, sausage and mushroom; and half double cheese.

I stood there for hours reviewing and refreshing the order. When I reached the counter I spoke the order confidently, proudly (which is something I’m completely incapable of doing here, what with my broken Portuguese and all.) It was satisfying.

While I waited for the pizza to bake, I noticed I was dripping cream on the floor. I kicked it under the counter and hoped no one else saw. For whatever reason, my arms had turned to butter and were melting. And then I woke up.

How I look forward to ordering a pizza back home.

March 10th, 2014

The Tyranny of Idleness

As recorded by J.D. Bentley March 9th, 2014

On Tuesday, my throat was scratchy. By Wednesday, sore. I awoke on Thursday with a sharp headache radiating outward from my left eye, my nose spewing like a geyser. For all the pain and inconvenience of being sick, I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything, and that was a real shame.

Until that point, I’d been keeping up a very solid, very productive routine. Awake at 5:45, upstairs and writing by 6. I’d been able to wipe out half of my todo list before most people had gotten out of bed and that’s how I wanted to keep it. On Thursday, I did the same. I woke up at 5:45, freezing cold, driest throat you can imagine, head throbbing. And I just laid there contemplating whether or not I should attempt to do anything at all. By around 6:15 when I’d have normally already been working, I finally decided to try and stand up. I took things real slow on Thursday.

I was finally able to make it upstairs and set up my work area on the roof in the usual fashion. Must have been around 6:45 by then. So there I was, all ready to go.

But I couldn’t.

I was exhausted. The sickness had gotten the best of me. I hoped my mind would be able to pull through even if my body was a mess, but no such luck. I was out of commission for who knows how long until the bug passed. I went into minimal work mode, doing only what was absolutely necessary, which meant writing. Writing for Wired Writers Guild and writing here.

After interviewing so many excellent writers and seeing them all give the same advice—Write! Show up! Don’t Stop!—writing has been my top priority. Since January 1st, I’ve written in a personal journal every night. For nearly two weeks, I’ve written and published here every day (and plan to do so indefinitely). And, as I mentioned yesterday in Some Thoughts on Writing Fiction, reading Stephen King’s On Writing was the last bit of encouragement I needed to try my hand at fiction for the first time. So I’ve been quietly working on that.

While sick, I’ve done the minimum amount of writing, usually at the last minute. What was considerably more enjoyable was the amount of reading I’ve been able to get in. This week, I finished On Writing by Stephen King, and Trialogue and 7 or 8 More Ways to End the World by Colin Wright (who I’ve interviewed for Wired Writers Guild). I’ve also gotten a good start on B.J. Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories and Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell.

My illness devolved into a cough by Saturday night and had disappeared by Sunday morning. Now I’m feeling great, but my routine and my work ethic have been wrecked by the tyranny of idleness. Being unable to do much for even a few days makes not doing much the path of least resistance. The habit of idleness inevitably leads to depression, to a lack of purpose, to a stagnant apathy of life, which is something I must remember as I try to regain the traction I had just before getting sick.

March 9th, 2014