Why I Write Essays On Controversial Topics

While nonviolence only sometimes works in the immediate moment, it always works.”
(Michael Nagler)

One of the reasons I wrote my essay on PyCon is because of a young hacker I’ve worked with.  He’s a smart, funny, thoughtful person, and he was quite worked up about the PyCon incident.  He was convinced that Adria Richards was at fault, and that the community reaction was at least somewhat justified.

That’s who I have in mind when I write about controversial topics–someone who is smart and kind, but just happens to hold a different point of view.  That’s why I take the time to write thorough and nuanced essays, and that’s why I do my best to avoid inflammatory language and self-righteous outrage.

After I finished my essay, I emailed him the link.

I saw him today, and the first thing he said was, “I read your essay.  I wanted to stay angry, but you were too darn reasonable and logical.  Now it’s almost like I’m angry because I don’t have a good reason to be angry.”

That’s why I write.

Because I believe that people are capable of deeper understanding and greater compassion, with just a little help.

3 thoughts on “Why I Write Essays On Controversial Topics

  1. Anonymous

    Chris, write more! You are clearly one of the smartest guys in the entire world, but your compassion, intelligence, maturity and friendliness really shine through your writing. I know you're all about making money, but it seems like in another time, you would be a great negotiator, mediator, thinker….

  2. Thanks Anonymous! The only reason I'm all about making money is that a) I have a family to support, and b) in America, money provides freedom.

    Rest assured, I continue to engineer my life so that I can do all the things I enjoy, not just making money.

  3. Hey Chris, I was corresponding with you during the Adria Richards catastrophe. Funny how quickly news is forgotten. I haven't seen anything on that in awhile.

    Anyways, we're launching a citizen journalism website for technology. We have contributors such as TechStars, GREE (gaming) and 500Startups, etc. publishing on the site. I thought it could be fun to publish you. LMK if you're interested. You can preview the website here:

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