CNN asked me to write 600-800 words about Aaron Swartz. I demurred at first, suggested some other people who knew Aaron better — I met Aaron when he was young, stayed in touch, had the occasional meal with him, admired him and loved him more than he knew — and agreed when CNN came back to me.
I have trepidation about what I wrote, which CNN has now posted. I don’t like the implication that we can sum up any life so glibly. But I also wanted to do a little to nudge attention from Aaron solely as a champion of open information. I also decided not to assess the blame that is so well deserved, because that’s well discussed already.
A handful of better sources and expressions:
Anything Larry Lessig has written or said, including this.
Cory Doctorow’s immediate post, breaking the news and our hearts
Matthew Stoller’s important and deeply-felt reminder of Aaron’s political breadth and depth
Quinn Norton’s vivid remembrance of Aaron’s happiness and more
Dave Winer’s astute pointing to curiosity as a defining motive for Aaron
danah boyd’s hhonest expression of loss, and her fear that Aaron will be taken merely as an example
The unbearably honest statement from his parents and soulmate
There’s so much more, because no life can be told.
Here is Aaron in his own words, in a presentation at the Freedom to Connect conference last May.
And here is Larry Lessig on Democracy Now: