Just Ignore Him; He'll Go Away Eventually.

Sun, 13/11/2011 - 21:50
Sun, 13/11/2011 - 21:50

One of my favorite verbal exchanges in an episode of The West Wing occurs in S03E08, The Women of Qumar. In the story, after President Bartlet said at a fundraiser: Everything has risks. Your car can drive into a lake and your seatbelt jams, but no one's saying don't wear your seat belt, someone had a car accident while not wearing a seatbelt and filed a lawsuit naming the President as a defendant. Sam, the Deputy Communications Director, thinks the White House should respond preemptively before the story. Toby, the Communication Director, instead ignores Sam and then has this wonderfully deadpan exchange with the President:

[Toby,] Come with me for a second, would you?
Sir, it's possible you're going to hear some stuff about seatbelts today. I urge you to ignore it.
No problem. [changes topic] Are you straightening things out with the Smithsonian?

I remember when I first watched this episode in late 2001. It expressed to me a cogent and concise fact of press relations: someone may be out there trying to get attention for themselves on a topic related to you with some sophistic argument, but you should sometimes just ignore it.

With that, I say: Dear readers of my blog, you may have heard some stuff about Edward Naughton again this week. I urge you to ignore it.

I hope you'll all walk in the shoes of President Bartlet and respond with a “No problem” and change the topic. If you really want to follow this story, just read what I've said before on it; nothing has changed.

Meanwhile, while Naughton seems to be happy to selectively quote me to support his sophistry, he still hasn't gotten in touch with me to help actually enforce the GPL. It's obvious he doesn't care in the least about the GPL; he just wants to use it inappropriately to attack Android/Linux and Google. There are criticisms that Google and Android/Linux deserve, but none of them relate to the topic of GPL violations.