Earlier this month Zed published a rant called Rails Is A Ghetto. He basically went through a short list of people and companies who are well known the rails community and said why he doesn’t like them. Zed talked a bit about technical merit, but mostly he talked about attitudes and behaviors. How this guy was passive aggressive, or that guy is pompous, or this company is taking advantage of it’s customers. His rant received a lot of attention and a lot of people responded for or against Zed and his opinions. Although I know some of the people Zed talked about I have no interest in defending or attacking any of them, nor do I have an interest in defending or attacking Zed. Except to say that I agree with everything Zed has to say in spirit.
Without saying anything about anyone specifically, I think that the underlying problems Zed outlines are not problems related to any person or company or web framework, but rather these are problems related to human beings. These are human problems, or “human vulnerabilities.” We all, as humans, have innate weaknesses or vulnerabilities to certain situations or patterns of behaviors. Greed, selfishness, arrogance and others all conspire to challenge each of us whenever possible. This is why there are a lot of politics in every large business. Why generosity is so often repaid with selfishness and not gratitude. Why in even the most open and welcoming churches there is an unwritten and unspoken “our church is the better than their church.” Somewhere through our school careers we have each been in situations where we were bullied and we have been in situations where we were the bully. We have all had our circle of friends where we collectively thought our clique was better than the others, even if it wasn’t the most popular. It seems clear to me that the ghetto that Zed talks about is really the ghetto of life, or just life. This is the struggle of being human. These are the challenges we all get to face and fail or succeed again and again. This is what life is about; learning how to maintain kindness, generosity and even temper when faced with these situations.
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