PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, January 18, 2013

A Friend Remembers Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz at a Creative Commons event in 2008. (Fred Benenson/Wikimedia Commons)

Aaron Swartz at a Creative Commons event in 2008. (Fred Benenson/Wikimedia Commons)

Journalist and author Rick Perlstein got an offer out of the blue, back in 2005. A young man named Aaron Swartz contacted him and offered to build him a website for free.

The two ultimately became friends. Swartz would read through Perlstein’s material and send him reading lists.

After learning of Swartz’s suicide last week, Perlstein wrote a remembrance of his friend in The Nation, describing his initial thought when Swartz made the offer – that he must be a “loser” with “nothing better to do” if he was offering a free website:

How long was it before I learned instead that he actually was a ball of pure coruscation, the guy who had just about invented something called an “RSS feed” and a moral philosopher and public-intellectual-without-portfolio and tireless activist and makeshift Internet-era self-help guru and self-employed archivist and what his deeply inadequate New York Times obituary called “an unwavering crusader to make that information free of charge”—and, oh yes, how long was it after I heard from him that I learned that he was, what, 20 years old?

Swartz was a computer genius, an activist and, at the time of his suicide, a young man awaiting trial.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

From controversial new textbooks to a Maverick family reunion, here are stories from Jeremy Hobson's week in Houston and San Antonio.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 6 33 Comments

Andrew Bacevich On Iraq, ISIS

Is the recent surge of ISIS tied to decisions made by Barack Obama?

July 6 5 Comments

The Rise Of The MP3 And The Fall Of The CD

Stephen Witt discusses his book "How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, The Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Privacy."

July 3 Comment

Kids Books Feature Famous Figures As Children

Brad Meltzer is known for his political thrillers, but he also writes kids books about real-life people like Rosa Parks and Amelia Earhart.

July 3 Comment

Not Your Typical Summer Reading List

NPR Books editor Petra Mayer and Cleveland poet and bookstore owner R. A. Washington share their picks.