Monday, March 20, 2006

James McGovern Is An Ass-Wipe

Well, it seems DHH beat me to the punch, so I'll have to one-up him by kicking the vitriol up a notch.

The title, of course, is a lie. I don't know James McGovern. I imagine he's a good guy. Judging by his presence on mailing lists such as the XP list, he certainly knows a lot about availability. But this post and his subsequent comments are total crap.

It was my initial intent to shoot his arguments down on an itemized basis, but an initial iteration of that proved laborious and low in value. So, instead, I'll just group the bullshit from his initial comments into five categories, per James's own Five Rules of Propoganda. Feel free to similary categorize his later comments on your own blogs.

The rule of simplification: reducing all data to a simple confrontation between 'Good and Bad', 'Friend and Foe'.
Hmmm. I would ask the same thing of the dynamic community. Right now, you folks are living on hype instead of stating facts.
This one's pretty obvious. The entire "dynamic community," if there is such a thing, is living on hype, the obvious antithesis to a Thought Leader such as James McGovern.
I predict that many folks in the agile community are busy bidding on enterprise application development as we speak using approaches such as Ruby on Rails with the flag waving fervor is saying that development is cheaper. I guess the average enterprise doesn't already have enough languages to deal with and throwing a few more on the pile won't hurt.... Thanks agilists for making the enterprise more of a mess...
Here, the "agile community" (bad guys) is doing unfettered detriment to the "average enterprise" (good guys) by "throwing a few more [languages] on the pile."
You may have noticed that pretty much everyone in the Ruby camp are insultants with many of them being book authors attempting to capitalize on hype.
"The Ruby camp" -- "insultants" -- "book authors" (oh, goodness forbid) -- "capitalize on hype." I'm especially amused by his definition of "open minded" in the following sentence, but I digress...
The rule of disfiguration: discrediting the opposition by crude smears and parodies.
The funniest thing is occuring in the blogosphere. Lots of folks who write for industry magazines have jumped on Ruby, yet you will never find a single large enterprise that is even considering it. Ever wonder why?
Ruby's growing popularity is being deemed "the funniest thing." He again associates the inherent evil in authors (this time, magazine columnists) to Ruby. And "yet you will never find a single large enterprise that is even considering it." Big, blatant, unproven smears.
Name one single enterprise application in the ERP, CRM, etc space that either is written in a dynamic language and/or is being considered ported? Name one system Fortune 200 enterprise that has a mission-critical system written in a dynamic language. Of course, you can't.
Of course! Smear.
I wonder if these folks have ever studied software engineering economics? What is even sadder is that many of these folks believe in agile software development yet refuse to consider costs over the lifetime.
The folks talking about Ruby have never "studied software engineering economics," and that's not the saddest part, says McGovern.
You may have noticed that pretty much everyone in the Ruby camp are insultants with many of them being book authors attempting to capitalize on hype... So, when will we start seeing conferences on Ruby? Bet they will be filled with these same insultants as speakers but will never manage to even get anyone from a Fortune enterprise to talk about it...
Wow. Speaks for itself.
The rule of transfusion: manipulating the consensus values of the target audience for one's own ends.
From his comment on redmonk:
I want to jump out a window. Folks still keep ignoring the point. I have never said that dynamic languages wouldn't be used in the enterprise or don't have a place. I can find Perl at work for an example, but ask yourself want is it used for. Sooner or later, Ruby will show up on our doorstep but I can tell you that it won't be used for anything worth hyping in magazines and certainly won't be used for any mission-critical enterprise applications.
See, bloggers? It's your fault. You're driving poor Jim to consider autodefenestration. Besides, you should be happy that Ruby might get used in the slightest, most throwaway applications. That's what you want, isn't it?
The rule of unanimity: presenting one's viewpoint as if it were the unanimous opinion of all right-thinking people: draining the doubting individual into agreement by the appeal of star-performers, by social pressure, and by 'psychological contagion'.
Well, I've pasted the entirety of his first post into blockqutoes, by now. Just re-read those quotes, and see how he's using words like "enterprise" and "mission-critical" to mean "right-thinking" and words like "agile" and "folks" to mean "psychological contagion."
The rule of orchestration: endlessly repeating the same messages in different variations and combinations.
Again, the consistency and the redundancy of the above quotes covers this. DHH's response does a good job grouping some of his comments together, to show the endless repetition being employed.

Also: I think we should add a sixth rule -- putting really freaky-ass pictures in the middle of your posts to confuse your readers and distract them from the sleight-of-word tricks you're so fond of playing.

In addition to being ridiculously miffed at his posts, I'm a little confused at why he uses "dynamic languages." Is there something about a particular language's dynamicity that makes it unscaleable, unreliable, un-Enterprise in your eyes, or is it just a (possibly only perceived) common characteristic among the particular dynamic languages at which you've looked?

I swear, is this some cultural experiment on your part, James?

But my intention wasn't just to prove him nuts. It was to ask a greater question — why does this phenomenon exist on so great a level? Sure, there are lots of people in the world, and so a few of them are bound to vocalize stupid ideas loudly. But here's a guy who's known for being so smart in many areas (one comment claims, "Knowing you, this is only to stimulate debate for the right reasons !!"), and so open to learning and change, and yet he backs up his arguments with fallacies, circumstantial claims, ad hominem attacks, and, oh yeah, plain old lies. What's up with that?

This isn't meant as an attack on James. He's not alone. I get the impression that either I (and a great many others) am misinterpreting all of their comments, or that, even in the cluetrain age, our society continues to brew loud, inhuman, self-serving mouthpieces. Or that these loud, inhuman, self-serving mouthpieces will, every once in a while, get mad drunk one night, lower their guard, post some incomprehensible rant, and get stuck justifying it in the morning.

Mind you, my ideas have not solidified, so take my rhetoric with a grain of salt.

(Follow-up posted.)


At 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If McGovern doesn't have the right perspective then it should be easy for the community to find and publish a case study on a Fortune enterprise that is using Ruby for an enterprise application.

Don't debate with him, show facts that prove him wrong!

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Devin said...

Hi, anonymous. Thanks for the comment.

You're right that I didn't actually prove him wrong on anything. This post was written for "the converted" and not an attempt to convince anybody.

Despite the gigantic middle section in which I let off steam by lashing out at the dude, my main intent was to ask the "greater question." Indeed, the gigantic middle section dilutes this; in retrospect, I would've formed the post differently.

At 5:09 AM, Blogger James McGovern said...

I do thank you for sharing your perspective on this issue as it is important for folks to get their thoughts out of their system. Hopefully now that is completed, a meaningful dialog can emerge.

I would love for other bloggers to attack with fact not just perspective...

At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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