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  1. 3 points
    That's what it says at the top of the page. Your point? It's not like this thread has devolved into a medley of cat videos. Yet.
  2. 2 points
    I voted for Trump to use him as my very own personal political I.E.D. I think of our Donald as a Stink Bomb which I helped to toss into the midst of government.
  3. 1 point
    Double standards drive people batty. I wish it could be blamed on water fluoridation so I could post a clip from Dr Stangelove where General Ripper is telling Lt. Mandrake about it's evils because Kubrick's mocking was an early manifestation of cognitive dissonance by Dunning-Kruger. Here's a snip I found on Youtube: "What would Mr Thompson do?" After reading James Valliant's book slagging TheBrandens™ I was much more sympathetic to Ayn Rand, human, than I was before -- regarding The Affair. Her deeply personal diary/journal excerpts showed her battling cognitive dissonance, suffering for it. It also made TheBrandens™ much more sympathetic for me. Only knowing as much as one can first-hand from each person (leaving Frank out, obviously), from TheBrandens™ memoir and biography, the private Rand journals (such as they were cribbed from), from the two subsequent biographies covering it ... should one even attempt to be a Moral Arbiter over the relationships of the principals. Branden was a deceiver, but not evul sociopath or whatever epithet Valliant went all histrionic with, which epithet destroyed any pretension to sobriety in his scholarship. I mention Rand 'suffering' for cognitive dissonance, meaning it in the sense of emotional discomfort. I think -- despite Scott Adam's dollar-store retailing -- dissonance is conflict, and it is uncomfortable. Holding two contrasting/opposed thoughts in one's head at once, each thought 'battling' for the chance to dismiss the other, is it something you just pass over by instant dismissal after an intuitive "nonsense" ID -- or is it more something that jams up the cognition, which sets up bodily-felt flags to the extent it is an important contradiction. I mean according to personal values and perceptions, especially self-perceptions. Ayn Rand struggled to believe her 'stomach feelings' about the magical man she had fallen in love with. Hero worship turned to disgust ... Or at least that's my expert opinion on cognitive dissonance and the pain all around that came from The Affair. It's not that there is one single lesson to learn from the conflicts, but that we have to give everyone a break in the same way: they are human beings caught in their fates. Their fates meaning the consequences of their actions, choices, and beliefs.
  4. 1 point
    D'Souza was on Laura Ingrahm tonight. The Show, I mean.
  5. 1 point
    Here are a few and they come directly from Rand: 1. The theme of a work is a topic without action. It's the "core of a work's abstract meaning." If can you ever understand what that means, I suppose you can use it as a writing guide. But it's really abstract. Essentially, for Rand, a theme is a concept like the type of concept given in ITOE. So for an aspiring writer, this can mean almost anything. Also, this idea has nothing to do with what people normally mean by theme. 2. But it gets worse. Plot theme: "A conflict in terms of action, corresponding to the theme and complex enough to create a purposeful progression of events." Frankly, this sounds like a recipe for a training manual. The theme is the piano. The conflict is that you are a beginner and want to play Rachmaninoff on the piano but can't. Here is a purposeful progression of events to resolve the conflict. Step 1, Warm up every day with scales. Step 2, Practice arpeggios. Step 3...) Does that sound like a plot theme based on the examples she gave? (Look them up or I'll quote them later if need be.) Maybe not, but this piano example fits the description Rand gave perfectly. The point is, Rand could give examples of a plot-theme, including where she got the idea of "the situation" from (Cecil B. DeMille), but she did not show aspiring writers how to make one. (I kinda have an idea where DeMille's idea came from since Polti's 36 dramatic situations was in vogue among the writers and movie makers DeMille learned from and hung around with. Also, I think he jazzed up the idea with dilemma, making sure the core situation was a full-blown dilemma.) And even considering Rand's examples, they are not all that consistent, but at least action enters the scene. 3. For character, Romantic Realism means emulating Rand on fundamentals, and that means making the purpose of one's art the portrayal of the perfect human being. Good luck with that for a beginner... 4. One of the worst: Villains are not important since real drama involves a struggle of the good against the good. This comes directly from Rand's idea that evil has no efficacy. I recall her saying somewhere that the reason the dramatic interest in her own works was a struggle of hero against hero and the villains were minor characters was precisely to illustrate this principle. But I would have to look because I don't remember where. This one has probably made for more bad stories in O-Land than any other. Not because it's a bad idea. It's actually quite clever. But because a person needs to learn how to write a decent fight between a hero and villain before they can attempt something like that and pull it off. I could go on because I have thought through a lot of this stuff. And I can get plenty of Rand quotes to back up what I say. But wait, there's more! Then we get off into her progeny and creative writing advice from folks like Tore Boeckmann (at ARI) who claims value is the core of storytelling or something like that (I have to listen to the lecture again, but I remember he forced some ideas way out of shape). I could make a list of bad advice from several of them, but the core error is always the same. They try to prove Rand right against her enemies on some idea or other of hers, then they try to outdo Rand by going even further in their theories and advice than she ever would. As an aside, Rand herself never discussed Aristotle's catharsis (at least I don't recall anything), probably because the emotions to be purged by the audience were pity and fear. But she had to include Aristotle, so she used his idea of final causation as her method of deriving a sequence of events for plotting. This is not a bad method, either, but it's for an intermediate-level writer. For a beginner, it's a disaster unless the beginner is naturally intuitive. (As another aside, for me, the best popular Rand-inspired fiction writers are folks like James Clavell, Terry Goodkind and a few others. But they did not write Romantic Realism in her mold. They went their own way, starting with learning how to tell a story correctly. They added the Rand stuff after they learned the basics of drama, suspense, adventure, romance, etc., i.e., the basics of storytelling in general.) As for comedy, I can't think of a single Romantic Realism author who writes comedy. In general, comedy is looked down on in O-Land when learning how to write. So people simply don't learn it. Hell, they don't even learn elementary stuff like the rule of threes. There's a lecture on Rand and comedy at ARI by Mayhew, if I remember correctly, but it's not very good. More of the same--Rand was right and everyone else was wrong. yawn... Who can learn to write comedy from something like that? Besides, Rand's view on comedy itself was that it was destructive and could be evil. If one wanted to look at Hitchcock and other more contemporary story writers she mentioned, who the hell would ever want to write "bootleg romanticism" (Rand's term for them)? So aspiring writers in O-Land just don't study those folks. All that, to me, is terrible writing advice, especially for aspiring writers. I went below the surface here, but I didn't cut very deep, either. There's a hell of a lot more I can say about all this. In short, the conclusion I arrived at after a tonload of study and figuring things out is the following: Ayn Rand was a great writer. She was a mediocre fiction writing teacher at best and stifling for beginners. Those who learned fiction writing from her teaching methods are even worse, at least the ones I've seen. Michael
  6. 1 point
    So you don't have to copy/paste: Here is the Link
  7. 1 point
    Uh. Not quite that. Characterization matters. For instance in The Maltese Falcon, Joel Cairo's line: "Our conversations in private have been such that I am not anxious to continue them," and Sam Spade confronting Brigid O'Shaughnessey: "Miles hadn't many brains, but, Christ! he had too many years' experience as a detective to be caught like that by the man he was shadowing. Up a blind alley with his gun tucked away on his hip and his overcoat buttoned. Not a chance... But he'd have gone up there with you, angel..." I think I'm as well versed in macguffin as anyone else, a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock. Notably, Dashiell Hammett's last and best novel, The Thin Man, has none. My own work has evolved to the point where I am much more interested in human ambition, pain, resolve, and triumph, instead of trick situations (Rear Window) or bizarre phenomena (The Birds). You may be entirely correct, that the penalty for escaping King horror (Carrie, Cristine, Creepshow) and Coen barbarity (Fargo) is obscurity, unwanted in today's fantasy first-person shooter zeitgeist.
  8. 1 point
    That's a fun old thread. But reading it again I'm a bit embarrassed to find on page 3 that I wrote "recidivus" when I certainly meant "redivivus".
  9. 1 point
    I certify that it is impossible to know a woman after five minutes, five years, or five decades. They have movable parts.
  10. 1 point
    Robert, Let's see if we're on the same page. To me, the concept is something happening that doesn't make any sense, but ends up making a lot of sense in the end. Here's one example, but it's pretty heavy. I once helped a woman I didn't know very well die of brain cancer (over several months) while I was detoxing from crack cocaine addiction and breaking up with her daughter who was my girlfriend at the time. That made no sense to me. (Nothing did back then. ) Later, it became clear that I would not have turned out the way I did without that, and exactly that, being in my path at that time of my life. (There's an article I wrote 13 or 14 years ago called Letter to Madalena ... An Homage to the Value of Valuing where I go into it. It's too late to look up the link, besides, it's posted on several forums, so Google it if you want to read it. Ah, hell... That's not right... Well here... Here's the OL link, even though I first published it elsewhere.) Michael
  11. 1 point
    Good news and bad news ... from Sciencenews.org and from Isaac Green aka Elliot Marxx aka anti-school, one of the new media demi-urges.
  12. 1 point
    Thanks for the mention. Parenthetically, it's Decoration Day, national reconciliation and tribute to 600,000 war dead, both sides, in the Civil War.
  13. 1 point
    Yeah, you're not getting what I'm doing. J
  14. 1 point
    J, why are you wasting so much time trying to fit me into the prefab box of a fictional prototype Trump-hater? I don't seethe with hatred against Melania, I think she is pretty and glamorous and in a tough spot and married to an overbearing boor, and does as good a job as possible. I certainly dislike Trump and disapprove of his policies, but I don't feel any burning hatred towards him. I have got kind of used to him. I am not a good hater even in personal life. Political invective when used by Trump is, to you and Michael, a tactical weapon; when used by a critic of Trump, it's a symptom of pathological hatred. I have not turned into a liar, seething with hatred, and the stereotype you create is your own projection. Continually calling me these things does not make me these things. I don't know why you have decided that my distaste for a political figure has turned me into a raging left-wing version of Breitbart . I suppose you are so used to hating Obama and the Clintons that now that they are gone, you need more present targets to defeat. I haven't changed into your fantasy construct. I am the same person you knew. I don't feel the reverse is true.
  15. 1 point
    Including those birdbrains in North Korea ...
  16. 1 point
    No Michael, the magic word was "equally". I believe it is wrong to condone a spouse's betrayal and bad treatment of other women. But I really can't denounce it all that much, in those three or any betrayed wife, and feel sorry for them too in equal measure also. The pain of betrayal must be the same no matter what rewards accrue from keeping silent about it.
  17. 1 point
    Your impression of Black is quite right. I have nothing but admiration for him for how he weathered his 6 years in prison, and even learned from them. Before that he was someone who cared not and had no compassion for those lower than himself, especially those whose pensions he appropriated as part of his own assets ( Dominion grocery workers, whom he characterized as "the bozos in the warehouse ", e.g)Clever business move, ho-ho. He is hugely intelligent and literate and a good writer. Ezra is neither of these things.
  18. 1 point
    How on earth do you construe my words" I understand" to mean "I approve?" *I understand her reasons, without approving , as I do Mrs Weinstein's Again.I believe both .Georgina and Hillary knew their husbands had raped and abused women, and for that I condemn them equally for not coming out at the time and telling the truth of what they knew.
  19. 1 point
    So, you didn't know that Trump was more than a reality TV show star? Heh. You've got a case of the Trump Derangement Syndrome. Your rage over Trump has turned you into a liar. Oh, that's sad. Throwing a little tantrum. I call you out on your mischaracterizations of Trump, so your response is to try to believe that that means that I must think that there is nothing wrong about Trump? Heh. I'm a dedicated Trump-lover now? Silly, irrational ploy. You used to be more mature than that. Seriously, what's eating you? Why the foolish hostility toward Trump, and toward those who correct your angry little lies about him? My dreaded MSM? Are you assigning me a position? You've really gone downhill since I've conversed with you in the past. You're being a ridiculous bitch. You're maneuvering. Slithering. I didn't ask about their being vilified by anyone. Rather, I mentioned accomplishments and lack thereof. I mentioned theories enacted in reality. Trump's have succeeded. Obama's have failed miserably. These are realities, not opinions. Your or anyone else's beliefs and opinions don't change the reality that if I like my plan and doctor I don't get to keep them, for example, or that I won't save the promised $2500 per year on health insurance, or the lie that a variety of policies won't cost taxpayers a single dime more, etc. Your choice to believe false narratives doesn't make them true, regardless of how badly you want to believe them. No. Trump is very good at bluster, but he does have a lot to back it up. Obama, on the other hand, had nothing, and still has nothing after having convinced fools to elect him twice. He was one of the worst presidents ever, but he has idiots believing that he's their savior. There's the total victor. J
  20. 1 point
    The original issue that you brought up was experience and qualifications. You began by mischaracterizing and downplaying Trump's. Cherry picking. Or maybe a more apt term would be shit picking. Leaving out his accomplishments. Believing what you wanted to believe, despite knowing that you were telling falsehoods. In comparison, Obama had no experience or accomplishments, other than convincing fools that he would deliver a hope and change utopia in the future. But yet in your post above, you're trying to make the two appear to be equal. Why, heck, Trump has had some failures, so therefore he's just like Obama. Never mind that Obama hasn't any accomplishments. He has produced nothing. His theories and policies are failures. He is the blustering showman that you tried to make Trump into, but you've never spilled the bile in regard to Obama that you have over Trump. And Trump's theories and policies have not been failures. Yet you're pissed off at him. Why is that?
  21. 1 point
    Isn't the line supposed to be: "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him"? And Julius Caesar? No, no, no, wrong hairdo. How about another Gaius? Still not quite the right hue. P.G. Wodehouse said it best, describing the cat Percy: Orange of body and inky black of soul.
  22. 1 point
    Interesting that you mention pigeons, now that the full truth of the Avian conspiracy is coming out. Wonder how complicit you might be there.
  23. 1 point
    From the top… Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer" never impressed me. I read a couple and could not understand Rand's fascination with that versus, say, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, both of whom reduce Mickey Spillane to entropic dust. Ian Fleming was interesting for several novels. I can see why he sold to Playboy and from there caught the eye of John F. Kennedy. Whether that redeems JFK's "fascist New Frontier" is another question entirely. After three or four, they lose their luster. The same is true of the "Jack Reacher" novels of Lee Childs. Like the "Jack Ryan" stories from Tom Clancy I learned a few things about post and patrol, infiltration, surveillance, and generally being a guardian of other peoples' safety. But, ultimately, the artificial universe becomes cloying. Oddly enough, perhaps, I never experienced that with Heinlein and Asimov, though I did with William Gibson: after four cuts, it just lost its edge. That said, I am enjoying a re-read of Difference Engine by Bruce Sterling. It is not just just the steam punk. It is as much the scripting of the narrative, the weaving of the story lines. I am not a fiction writer. I only was paid for two published two science fiction stories and neither in a science fiction pro-zine. (I wrote unpaid science fiction vignettes in The Libertarian Connection. Francisco Ferrar can tell you about those.) Similarly, I usually do not "get" poetry, though I published several poems in PC Today and other computer magazines. So, as a writer of nonfiction, I admit to being out of my element in recommending gurus to follow. I only offer this (unpublished). So you want to be a Jedi, Want to warp through hyperspace, And you want to be a hero, Want to save the human race. My advice to you, my friend, as strange as it may seem, is to play the kind of ballgames that don't require teams. When the taxman's at the airlock And custom's on the vid, Your ego will not help you As much as will your id.
  24. 1 point
    I like the "Valliant and his demented wife" line too. Ou sont les bedsheets d'antan? Magister Scherk does have a corner, it is his splendidly furnished blog here where he sits at his ease and gives audience to favoured courtiers.
  25. 1 point
    This discussion is generating more heat than light. I think it would be more useful to concentrate on some specific text by Kelley, so that we ourselves can judge the merits of his ideas, instead of arguing whether he deviates from the Objectivist canon or not, which is more a discussion for a religious forum like RoR. What is more important: the question whether is ideas are valid or the question whether he is a "real" Objectivist? So far I've only heard rather general and vague assertions on both sides which aren't very helpful to form an opinion on the matter. Perhaps I'm some strange mutant, but my only interest is whether ideas are valid, not to what kind of "ism" they belong.