What's this all about?

I am not so special. I have just decided to write this since I see so many people getting it terribly wrong. Yes, I know a lot about Python, but what enables me to write authoritatively here is that I understand Python. Why? Mostly because I have read George Orwell. Language is important, because it shapes our thoughts. Language deeply affects the way we think.

Today, probably as a consequence of a proliferation of a great multitude of languages, too often people think that all languages are the same - we just have to learn the differences in vocabulary. printf in C, cout in C++, ? in BASIC, writeln in Pascal, System.out.println in Java, WRITE in FORTRAN, DISPLAY in COBOL, document.write in JavaScript, . in FORTH,  in APL, putStrLn in Haskell, write in Prolog, SELECT in SQL, content: in CSS, \write in LaTeX - they are all the same, right? Of course, there are syntactic differences - cout must be followed by that weird <<, WRITE has that strange (*,*) after it, and  is not found on a normal keyboard, for example - but that's all. Just superficial differences. No?

[Note: yes, I really did put SQL and CSS in there. On purpose. I hope you realize that CSS content: is not the same as FORTRAN WRITE. Well, guess what: neither is Python print. If you treat them the same, you're missing the point. And the fact that CSS "isn't a programming language" doesn't really matter. If you know that difference, and still fail to see the others, that's even sadder.]

If we want to learn a language, learning only the words and grammar is really missing the point. Words and grammar rules are just consequences of something much more fundamental, the culture from which the language emerges and which it feeds. And it really shows in a language. It cannot be hidden, and you shouldn't want to hide it, anyway. I'm sure you know at least some of very good reasons why you need to type 1 character in BASIC and 18 characters in Java to do similar things. Without them, BASIC wouldn't be BASIC, and Java certainly wouldn't be Java.

Here, I'll try to show you that the language matters. You shouldn't write C in Python, because it sounds just as bad as Chingrish. Native speakers will understand you, but will also - despite good manners - find what you speak really facepalm-worthy.

Graham in trouble

You know about Paul Graham. If you don't, please read some of his stuff. His writings are really thought-provoking. One of his best pieces, IMO, is Beating the Averages. There, he writes (emphasis mine):
to explain this point I'm going to use a hypothetical language called Blub. Blub falls right in the middle of the abstractness continuum. [...] 
As long as our hypothetical Blub programmer is looking down the power continuum, he knows he's looking down. Languages less powerful than Blub are obviously less powerful, because they're missing some feature he's used to. But when our hypothetical Blub programmer looks in the other direction, up the power continuum, he doesn't realize he's looking up. What he sees are merely weird languages. He probably considers them about equivalent in power to Blub, but with all this other hairy stuff thrown in as well. Blub is good enough for him, because he thinks in Blub.
He is, of course, completely correct, as he is every time he writes about general things. The power of his mind to grasp truly general concepts and put them in simple words is astonishing. But now look at this (from Re: Revenge of the Nerds, again emphasis mine):
 I know that Python currently imposes these restrictions. What I'm asking is what these restrictions buy you. How does it make Python a better language if you can't change the value of a variable from an outer scope, or put more than one expression in a lambda? What does it buy you to distinguish between expressions and statements?
Later, he seems even more desperate:
I was actually surprised at how badly Python did. I had never realized, for example, that a Python lambda-expression couldn't contain the same things as a named function, or that variables from enclosing scopes are visible but not modifiable. Neither Lisp nor Perl nor Smalltalk nor Javascript impose either restriction. I can't see what advantage either restriction brings you.
Of course you can't see it, Paul. Of course you can't. Just read Beating the Averages again, and everything will be clear. Yes, the day has come. Now you're the Blub programmer. It's really kinda funny that you don't see it. Your "I was actually surprised at how badly Python did" clearly shows you don't get it. And your pleas "what does it buy you" fit your description "about equivalent in power to Blub, but with all this other hairy stuff thrown as well" so perfectly.

I'll explain all these things. On this blog, we will first unlearn every wrong concept from thorny history of programming, and then we'll see how programming should be done. In a language whose concepts are powerful enough to confuse even Paul Graham.