Of course, I know that. Not all jokes are there to elicit laughs --unless one is a clown or a stand-up comedian. It's a joke in the sense that it's not meant seriously.
As, in, if somebody DID kill himself following his advice, Linus would be genuinely upset, sad, and most of all surprised.
Telling someone to commit suicide, even if not meant literally, because of a technical disagreement, should not be (in my opinion) considered acceptable in any culture. Unless it's just an established colloquialism of everyday speech, as maybe it is for Finns. I don't think that should be brought to other cultures.
Representative Joseph Cao said to BP America CEO Lamar McKay: "Mr. Stearn asked Mr. McKay to resign. In the Asian culture we do things differently. During the Samurai days, we would just give you a knife and ask you to commit Hari-Kari."
Glenn Beck: "There's not enough knives. If this, if the IPCC had been done by Japanese scientists, there's not enough knives on planet Earth for hara-kiri that should have occurred. I mean, these guys have so dishonored themselves, so dishonored scientists."
I believe the difference is that, in the US, suicide has a strong association with moral and internal failings, while 'hari kari' is associated with honor despite external failure.
In either case, and as you rightly point out, this is your own opinion. It does not appear to be outside the pale to the US at large, else the above two quotes would have been major reports.
No, you will be likely to get hurt badly if you speak to a US developer like that in person.
The reason this is tolerated for Linus and select others is because if you try to speak out about it as I did, you will get verbally raped by 800 Europeans who totally misrepresent what you said, as happened to me in this thread. (Specifically, relating it to "political correctness" and "American's can't take a joke," neither of which is the issue here; I hate political correctness, and Americans can take jokes, believe me.)
Seriously, I'd like to see Linus try that language on the street here in the US. If a bartender gave him the wrong drink and he said "Please go kill yourself now," he might have to be sent to the hopsital afterwards.
Nevertheless, there are examples of people saying 'go kill yourself' in American culture, as in:
Bill Hicks, to a class of people: “If anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. ... There's no rationalization for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself, seriously.” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo
Rush Limbaugh to a specific person: “Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?” - http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/limbaugh_suggests_nyts_re...
A court decides that it's protected speech with no implied physical threat: "Using various pseudonyms on Twitter and on blogs, Cassidy published more than 8,000 tweets and posts about Zeoli often wishing death upon her. (One tweet, for example, read, "Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day.") ... The judge in the case, Roger W. Titus, agreed with Cassidy's assertion, concluding that the First Amendment "protects speech even when the subject or the manner of expression is uncomfortable and challenges conventional religious beliefs, political attitudes or standards of good taste." - http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/16/tech/web/stalking-on-twitter-p...
A quick examination of these plus 40+ written by people without any influence shows that 1) it is less used by politicians and people who are actually in a position of power, and 2) it is strongly accompanied with a sense of superiority.
This leads me to wonder if that "800 Europeans" you mentioned come from a culture with strong subgroup differences, wherein people from the other group are considered 'less worthy.' While in the US, there's a relatively strong cultural desire to remove those subgroup differences.
However, a third category of people is comedians, who manage to get away with it because it comes across as a joke. Based on what I've seen by Torvalds, he quickly comes across as exaggerating to get a rise out of people. This, many people are going to ignore that asked of what he says, because they know he can't seriously mean it.
As someone who has depression and a past history of suicidal thoughts, you insult me by suggesting I can't tell the difference between a turn of phrase and someone genuinely wishing I was dead.
I did. Have you? Definition #2 from Mirriam-Webster: "something not to be taken seriously".
Telling someone to commit suicide, even if not meant literally, because of a technical disagreement, should not be (in my opinion) considered acceptable in any culture.
You know what they say about opinions. Lots of people the world over enjoy the occasional colorful comment, and do not get their knickers tied up in a knot (UK-ism meaning they are not annoyed) when non PC language is used. Hell, lots of cultures the world over think political correctness itself as silly and/or prudish.
Kudos to that. I find it hilarious, and very sad at the same time, that Americans can't say policeman/policewoman any more, and that they have at least 4, maybe more, words for for different values of "fat" (overweight, fat, obese, morbidly obese, ...). In Slovenia, one is just fat, maybe very fat.
Making a big deal out of irrelevant things... Now, someone that is not "tall" is "vertically challenged"? I mean, what's wrong with being short?
The point that "politically correct" people are missing is that you cannot really make someone "feel bad", because they already feel bad. You can only make them "feel worse" with your comments.
And the fact that you can get arrested/denied entry to the US because of Twitter messages, that's just fascist (England is in that club as well).
"Shut up and go away, I don't want to hear any rebuttal or any other point of view, because I have waaaay more experience than you do, I know that I'm right, and I don't have time for it."
Basically: he's asserting his right as the "benevolent dictator" of Linux.
Which is fine by me until it goes so far as telling people to kill themselves. That seems unnecessarily and extremely harsh to me (guess it's just an American thing, maybe...), and it seems like something that would be said by a pure psychopath (or a comedian, or a young schoolyard bully).
I understand he doesn't mean "kill yourself" literally, of course.
Though I've always assumed that when he calls people morons, braindead, idiots, etc., he really means those things. Right? Although I can tolerate those things just fine, I'd be really interested to learn if other people interpret those things as not meant literally.