[SIGCIS-Members] "Inventor of Email" campaign targets Ray Tomlinson, "racist" journalists, reality

McMillan, William W william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu
Tue Mar 8 10:35:05 PST 2016


No, I'm sure I saw a video of a speech by Shiva out there while he was getting ready to invent email, saying that this was going to be yuuuuge, and we were all going to be so proud of email and how successful it would be and that we would see so much success from it that we would even get tired of all its success, and that he was going to make ISPs pay for it...

Isn't that on Youtube somewhere?

- Bill

________________________________________
From: Members [members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] on behalf of Dag Spicer [dspicer at computerhistory.org]
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2016 11:32 AM
To: Thomas Haigh
Cc: members at sigcis.org
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] "Inventor of Email" campaign targets Ray Tomlinson, "racist" journalists, reality

Just when you think SA can’t sink any lower… and now playing the race card.

An indication perhaps that he’s decided he can longer defend his other lines of argument?

He’s the Donald Trump of Email — careless with his language (“lynching??”), self-absorbed, unconcerned with facts, and pandering, like a technological Rasputin, to people’s old wounds (in this case colonialism/racism).

Rally appreciate these updates Tom.  They give us the tools to speak about this if we are ever asked.

Let’s keep up the fight!

Dag
--
Dag Spicer
Senior Curator
Computer History Museum
Editorial Board, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
1401 North Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA 94043-1311

Tel: +1 650 810 1035
Fax: +1 650 810 1055



On Mar 8, 2016, at 7:56 AM, Thomas Haigh <thaigh at computer.org<mailto:thaigh at computer.org>> wrote:

Hello SIGCIS,

Perhaps predictably, Ray Tomlinson’s recent death has prompted a new publicity push by Shiva Ayyadurai, the self-proclaimed “inventor of email.” (Backstory at http://www.sigcis.org/ayyadurai). Here are some recent tweets from his wife Fran Drescher, best known as “The Nanny”: “Thank you. Raytheon are plagiarists and liars. Big biz w/o integrity! The worst of the worst! Low roadsters,” and “PO'd! Ray Tomlinson WRONGLY credited 4 email whn EVERY1 honest knos Shiva Ayyadurai @va_shiva<https://twitter.com/va_shiva> invented, has copyright &is a victim of racism.” Also “Th larger issue is the oppression of people of color. There is a narrative in America that white washes innovation. That's the real issue!” Ayyadurai himself has tweeted “White journalists since 2012 have joined in the lynching and whitewashing of facts on #email<https://twitter.com/hashtag/email?src=hash>. I challenge all and any to a f2f debate !!”

The new push is reported in a Fortune blog piece, http://fortune.com/2016/03/07/who-really-invented-email/, which quotes SIGCIS at length. (I like its description of us as “an organization comprised of many prominent Internet historians and college professors” rather more than the “internet cabal” description used by Boston Magazine).

Ayyadurai seems to be getting almost entirely uncritical coverage in leading Indian publications, including

•         http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/who-invented-email-ray-tomlinson-or-shiva-ayyadurai/article8323987.ecehttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/On-Mahashivaratri-email-pioneer-Shiva-Ayyadurai-prays-for-recognition/articleshow/51297305.cmshttp://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/the-inventor-of-email-is-still-alive-says-india-born-scientist/

There’s a somewhat more nuanced, but still not entirely accurate, report (quoting SIGCIS) at http://thewire.in/2016/03/08/did-shiva-ayyadurai-invent-email-it-isnt-simple-and-youre-probably-missing-the-point-24149<http://thewire.in/2016/03/08/did-shiva-ayyadurai-invent-email-it-isnt-simple-and-youre-probably-missing-the-point-24149/#disqus_thread>.

So there’s fascinating story of historical techno nationalism developing here, in that Ayyadurai’s new focus on alleged racism as the only reason for disputing his claim to have invented email seems to be enough to win him widespread acceptance in India despite the obvious reality-based problems with claiming to have invented something that was already in widespread use.

Best wishes,

Tom


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