Old jokes revisited

It seems that I’ve created the Muhammad cartoon of the programming world. Oops. I never intended it that way.

Six years ago, I was programming in Ruby. There weren’t so many of us back then. I spent a lot of time in the #ruby-lang IRC channel learning, teaching, and chatting.

One day, someone found a humorous Python propaganda poster that someone had made by adding captions to an old Chinese propaganda poster; captions like:

Don’t use Perl; it’s counter revolutionary

Chinese Python propaganda poster

We all found this fairly entertaining. Around this time, some North Korean propaganda posters had been going around the media, and one of them struck me as a perfect base from which to work.

North Korean propaganda poster

And this is what I came up with. It’s not subtle:


Ruby propaganda poster

But in the small IRC community, and in the context of the friendly rivalry with the Python community, it was well received. People asked me for different size versions so that they could use it as a desktop image. It was just a bit of fun, really.

However, …

Yesterday, someone rediscovered it and it started making its way around Twitter. Peter Cooper posted it (with my permission!) on Ruby Inside.

Oh dear. Some people really aren’t happy with it. I’ve had comments and emails complaining about it. I’ve been told that I should ‘remove it’. Well, it’s not going anywhere.

It’s old. It’s not trying to stir up a language war. There never was a language war. It was just an in-joke, really. From 2004.

I’d say I’m sorry for offending people, but, really, I’m not sorry at all. I just wish that people weren’t so easily offended. And that they could read dates.


  1. Kevin

    Wrote at 2010-06-20 17:37 UTC using Firefox 3.6.3 on Mac OS X:

    Good post, Paul. Thanks for having a backbone and not kowtowing to the over-reactors.

  2. Jochen Hayek

    Wrote at 2010-06-22 23:59 UTC using Firefox 3.6.4 on Mac OS X:

    Under what circumstances is it allowed to use the “USE RUBY!” graphic artis?