Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lisp Is Not An Acceptable Java

Today (April 16) on the Lisp reddit I saw a link to Lisp Is Not An Acceptable Java, a post that repeats every known myth and piece of misinformation about Lisp. Even the title is snort-worthy. After reading the post and shaking my head sadly, I moved on to other things but my mind kept jumping back to the article and I thought that, really, this shouldn't go unanswered. So I got all fired up to give it a good Fisking. But when I read it again, I thought, “this guy is obviously a troll and shouldn't be fed.” Then I noticed that the date on the post was 2011-04-01. OK, an April fools' joke and a good one. The author, Matthias Benkard, is, of course, a Lisper.

What's sad about this is that it works so well. The attitudes and misinformed opinions that the Benkard parodied are common and you do see them expressed all the time. Just last week I blogged about LispWorks' article Common Lisp—Myths and Legends, which was written to rebut the very things that Benkard was satirizing.

I'm not sure what to do about all this. Nobody, it seems, is. All we can do is smack down gently correct those who repeat these misconceptions and hope that the meme of Lisp's irrelevance and manifest shortcomings is not too firmly established to be destroyed.

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