[svlug] Richard M. Stallman has resigned from FSF and from MIT CSAIL

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Sep 18 23:54:07 PDT 2019

Quoting Michael Eager (eager at eagerm.com):

> Everybody else in the Epstein-MIT scandal is using measured and
> carefully crafted language to comment on the situation, specifically
> to avoid further inflaming the situation and causing more damage.

I appreciate people doing so.  Speaking for myself, even in posting the
news summary [/me checks time stamp] very early on Tuesday after barely 
having heard the story and doing only about an hour of wide reading, I
pretty much stuck to the bare factual details and, while correctly
observing that much of the coverage was inaccurate, provided direct
links to _primary documentation_, so readers could judge for themselves.
I carefully avoided the highly contentious bad-parsing of Stallman's
csail-related postings that IMO has been and is being a problem

Which unfortunately brings me to your post, where you attempt to run
through perhaps using Vox.com/Motherboard's csail-related curated
archive, giving your thoughts -- the very thing I carefully avoided.

And this is exactly where things get perilous, because if I start
pointing out some bits in your paragraph starting 'RMS was
responding' and 'This, in itself' that are simply not as far as I can
see an _entirely_ accurate re-summary of what Stallman wrote, a bunch of
people, if not here and now then reading this posting later in the
archives, are rather likely to react with 'Rick Moen defended Stallman
when he was accused of $FOO' and proceed to worse and more inflammatory
personal accusations from there.

I've actually seen how that sort of thing goes, on a disturbingly similar
but different matter fomented by an SVLUG volunteer (or at least by
someone purporting to be that volunteer), a point I'll get to shortly.
Anyway, point is, I am not stepping forward to become that kind of
punching-bag for Internet ragemobs, thanks -- so, I'll just say, no,
Michael, your parsing and restating what 'RMS was responding' (etc.) was
a little off, and IMO it would be wiser to just let people read the
primary sources, if they're that interested.

Folks here remember Wayne Earl?  I liked Wayne the number of times I ran
into him at SVLUG and elsewhere.  To my knowledge, he had no cause to
hate me let alone try to make the most alarming possible accusations
against me and my wife Deirdre.

In 2014, Deirdre noticed a puff-piece at the Web site of publisher
Tor.com on the birthday of the late Berkeley fantasy author Marion
Zimmer Bradley (MZB) making some anodyne statments of praise about her.
Deirdre found it rather annoying that the Tor author seemed oblivious to
the extremely disturbing evidence that MZB had participated in foul
deeds by her infamous husband Walter Breen against a young man.  Deirdre
had read a few very damning parts of a deposition the then-elderly MZB
had given in a lawsuit over the young man's molestation, enough to
object in Deirdre's blog that Tor was telling _far_ from the whole truth
about MZB.

A flying aquadron of MZB readers and former associates arrived to
contest Deirdre's objection, and accuse her of ginning up a scandal.  At
this point, Deirdre re-found the full set of depositions and checked
with MZB and Breen's daughter Moira Greyland and eventually their son
Mark Greyland.  Deirdre found both personal and third-party testimony
that things had been _much_ worse than she'd suggested, because MZB and
Breen's victims had also included, among others, both their own
children.  She provided direct links to primary sources.

There followed a long period (many months) where MZB's many fans came to
grips with this information, and, to give them credit, took back and
ceased their attacks on Deirdre.  (Again, I had no part in any of this
except to be Deirdre's spouse.)

Moira Greyland entered a book contract with far-right speciality
publishing firm Castalia House, to contain an expose of the MZB/Breen
story (the first half of the book), with a contentious tract against
what she saw as the root cause of sex abuse against children (which I
won't detail here) as the second half.  It was:  _The Last Closet:  The
Dark Side of Avalon_ (2017).

Castalia House used the upcoming event of the book's publication to make
sweeping claims on its house blog that science fiction / fantasy fandom
and its institutions are hotbeds of child sexual abuse.  And there was a
reader comment feature.  This is where we re-encounter Wayne Earl, or at
least someone professing to be him:


  [responding to a comment by Moira Greyland herself;]

  January 10, 2016 at 12:07 am
  Wayne Earl says:


  I am a survivor of a similar Silence Culture – in 1980, at age 4, I was
  molested by military police officers in Ft. Hood Texas for two years.
  When this was discovered and stopped by my parents, my father was
  ordered not to press charges, the other men involved were simply
  transferred elsewhere. Beyond this, I’ve no know,edge of what occurred
  then or sense.

  I began attending SF conventions about 15 years ago. At that time, I was
  an officer of svlug, and knew this guy named Rick, who was just then
  starting to date this woman named Diedre.

  I’m sure you can connect the dots from here.

  I do not attend these conventions anymore, your courage put words to an
  uneasiness I experienced that I could not quite put my finger on. Yet I
  still have friends who do, people I’ve had conversations with at
  Greyhaven, engineers I’ve hired that are there often, who refuse to see,
  to listen, and to speak out.

  They disgust me. But I try to be forgiving, for my sake at least.

  I admire you. You are one of my heroes. In my own attempts at blotting
  out my early life, I found myself in daily need of a alcoholic reprieve.
  The 9th step promises talk about not regretting the past, but we will
  see how our experiences will benefit others.

  You have helped me. Thank you.

This was pointed out to me; I was rather non-plussed.  After carefully 
summoning my composure, I carefully wrote:

  April 30, 2016 at 3:05 pm
  Rick Moen says:

  Wayne, back in 2001, the year you speak of, I was not ‘dating’ Deirdre
  Saoirse Moen.  We had been married for a year at that point, my first and
  only marriage, her second (her having been widowed a few years before).

  I’m not sure what ‘dots’ you are implying, but strongly suspect you
  utterly misunderstood Deirdre’s role in getting out Moira’s story, and
  imagined her some sort of shadowy oppressor or something.  Deirdre had
  posted a blog post
  sharply critical of a bland puff-piece by Leah Schnelbach about MZB.  As
  Deirdre put it (http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley/):

  [RM: snip recounting of history; see above link for full text]

  In other words, Deirdre has been fiercely a proponent of Moira, in the
  task of getting the word out about Bradley and Breen’s horrific
  misdeeds, and made very clear anyone committing or complicit in such
  deeds should be in prison, full stop.  (I’ve been not involved except to
  support Deirdre.)  After some stunned initial disbelief, everyone in
  fandom and SF-writing to my knowledge has grappled well with the new and
  unhappy information about MZB — that is, doing the decent thing by
  reassessing her legacy and expressing empathy towards Moira and her
  brother Mark.

  Yes, Deirdre and I attend literary SF conventions: Worldcons,
  Westercons, Loscon, and BayCon.  Sorry to hear about whatever
  ‘uneasiness’ you experienced.  If I ever observed anything particularly
  illegal / immoral at such a convention, especially involving children,
  I’d call the cops in a heartbeat, and hope you would, too.

  — Rick Moen

For whatever reason, Wayne has not commented or communicated further.
My point is to illustrate that this entire topic is so incredibly toxic
that I found myself accused in public by, of all people, a friend from
SVLUG (or someone professing to be him) of, it appears(?), committing child
sexual abuse -- and I hadn't even so much as said 'Boo'; I was just the
supportive husband of a blogger who backed up Moira Greyland in getting
the MZB story out.  Wayne attempted to summon an Internet ragemob
against someone (me) who would merely been quietly on the side of getting
the MZB truth out, which would have been a rather ironic own-goal.

(Note:  Mark Greyland subsequently committed suicide, haunted by his
traumatic childhood.  https://www.facebook.com/magreyland)

Disclaimer:  I have no expertise in any of the highly contentious
matters covered here -- and, I would strongly guess, neither do you.

But also, angling back to common ground with what you were saying, 
I heartily agree that Stallman was unbelievably reckless in not treating
the subject as radioactive and staying far, far away from it.  I would
not entirely concur that this makes it 'self-inflicted damage'.  I see a
stew of malice and carelessness in how his comments were for the most
part portrayed in most of the press and various online places.[1]
Addressing that done-deed, however, is not my job.  I feel I did The
Right Thing in furnishing direct links to primary data, so people can
(if interested) judge for themselves.

> Everybody else in the Epstein-MIT scandal is using measured and 
> carefully crafted language to comment on the situation....

If only that were so.

[1] Someone less oblivious than Stallman might have intuited the danger 
in offering himself up as a sacrifical tossing-over-the-side at a time
when MIT CSAIL management are under widespread community criticism
calling for their mass-termination over their _actually_ culpable
dealings with Epstein.  So, for management, throwing Stallman to the
wolves was an easy and expedient choice.

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