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Ellen Stuttle

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About Ellen Stuttle

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  • Interests Psychology, Physics, Philosophy, Literature, Music
  1. Peikoff's Personal Esthetics Authority

    Digressing further to (1) correct the first statement (it was Allan not Joan) and provide the context, and (2) quote Barbara's account of her reconciliation with Joan and Allan. The following material comes from a 2008 discussion. I've provided it not using the quote feature, since if someone responds to a post which has material in a quote box, that material gets deleted in the response. (I hate the awkwardness of the blinking new software.) =============================== ==== Part of Post by JERRY BIGGERS, January 24, 2008 at 1:11 am - link: Well, David Kelley's invitation for Nathaniel to speak at TOC events was viewed as an endorsement by TOC Board member Allan Blumenthal, who promptly resigned and has not spoken at TOC events since. An interesting aside is that Allan Blumenthal is a relative of Nathaniel, and a member of Rand's Inner Circle until, finally, he was told by Ayn that his presnce was no longer welcome. Subsequently, he told Barbara Branden in her biography of Rand, that he had come to the conclusion that Rand may have been evil from the start and that that aspect of her personality was a causative element in her creation of Objectivism. It is curious that such a statement did not detract from his acceptance on the IOS/TOC board. ==== end ==== Reply by ELLEN STUTTLE, January 24, 2008 at 3:15 AM - link: Oh, dear, the way things get mixed-up and false stories get spread... You might be right about Allan's viewing Nathaniel's invitation [should have read "being invited"] as an "endorsement," or at least a "sanction," but that isn't quite how David described the issue to my husband and me back at the time when it was decided to invite Nathaniel. Instead the sound of it was more that Allan just didn't want to be part of an organization where Nathaniel was speaking. That Allan is a relative of Nathaniel's is true; he's Nathaniel's first cousin. They grew up together and never got along well. You have it backward about the split between Ayn and Allan. The Blumenthals split with Ayn, not the reverse. She made things unpleasant enough for them with her nagging about their musical and artistic tastes (and some other issues), Joan says it almost seemed as if she was trying to drive them away. But the break originated from their side. You can find this in Barbara's biography (pp. 386-87). (I also know the story in more detail than Barbara provides, having heard further details from Allan himself not long after he and Joan had broken with Ayn.) What you write about Allan's opining on Ayn's evil is NOT in Barbara's biography. Instead it's a further gloss on something Roy Childs reports in his final interview, conducted by Jeff Walker. It goes significantly farther than what Allan is reported as saying in Jeff Walker's book -- which in turn goes farther than what Allan was saying in 77-80 (after which I lost touch with him). Back then (the late '70s) he said, "I thought the ideas were great and the woman was crazy." He clearly didn't mean "crazy" as in certifiable, instead colloquially. He was negative but not as negative as it sounds as if he became later on. I question the accuracy of the story Roy Childs tells -- about Allan and Joan arguing that Ayn was evil (on an evening when Roy visited the Blumenthals along with Barbara, who counter-argued, said Roy, that, no Ayn wasn't evil). Maybe, if Barbara reads this, she could say how accurate the report is. Something I know for a fact is that Roy could elaborate stories and even get them thoroughly wrong. For instance, he tells a story in the same interview about a good personal friend of mine and gets every detail wrong -- and I know that the friend wasn't the source of any of the errors because I was there the night Roy met her, at a private dinner party attended by only four people, my friend and I, her then-current boyfriend, and Roy. I wasn't even out of earshot of any of the conversation, so I know what he was told, and how wrong he got it (though he makes a good story of what he reports). Also in the same interview he describes AR as high on speed from her diet pills plus caffeine. As I mentioned on another thread (see), possibly Roy himself was the source through which, on the West Coast (Roy's homebase), Ayn's use of diet pills became magnified. Long and short: I don't know if Allan really did eventually come to the opinion that Ayn was evil, or if that's a Childs-style exaggeration. But it is not in Barbara's biography. Ellen PS: Barbara gives the date of the split between Ayn and the Blumenthals as 1978; that's off by a year -- it was 1977. ==== end reply by Ellen Stuttle ==== Part of Follow-up Post by JERRY BIGGERS, January 24, 2008 at 9:39 am - link: Thanks. I stand corrected on the details that you provided. The story that Allan Blumenthal later described Rand and her philosophy as "evil" does not appear in Barbara's book (at least, I could not find it after reading your post). In which case, as you said, that story probably originated from Jeff Walker's interview with Roy Childs and subsequently, in Walker's book, The Ayn Rand Cult. === end ==== Second Reply by ELLEN STUTTLE, January 25, 2008 at 0:27 am - link: I'm afraid I have to correct further. Please note, I didn't say that the "evil" story appeared subsequently in Walker's book. It isn't in Walker's book either. Here is what Allan is reported as saying in Walker's book The Ayn Rand Cult: Walker quoting Allan B. said: pg. 247 According to Allan Blumenthal, Rand "created an entire system, including her philosophical system, to deal with her own psychological problems." To which this interviewer stammered, "All of Objectivism was to deal with her own psychological problems?" Blumenthal insisted, "That's my view." Though surely an exaggeration, this perspective reframes the statement she once made: "Objectivism is me..." [ellipsis in original] {end} ==== end second reply by Ellen Stuttle BARBARA BRANDEN had meanwhile posted scotching the "AB said that AR is 'evil'" story and telling about her reconciliation with Joan and Allan Blumenthal. ==== Post by BARBARA BRANDEN, January 24, 2008 at 9:46 am - link: Ellen, you are right in your post correcting Jerry Biggers' description of Allan Blumenthal's break with Rand and his estimate of her. Jerry, this is not in any way a criticism of you. I have an idea of the sort of stories that float aroumd, and it's impossible for someone who wasn't directly involved to know what is true and what isn't. But it was Joan and Allan who ended their relationship with Rand, it was not Rand's decision. Further, I never heard Allan state that Rand was evil -- it's not the way he talks or thinks. Chris, you asked when the Blumenthals and I reconciled. It was in 1976. I had returned to New York in 1975, where I remained for two years, and Joan and I -- after not seeing each other for more than seven years -- almost literally bumped into each other on Fifth Avenue one day. We had been close friends in Winnipeg from the time we were twelve or thirteen; we had taken an apartment together when we attended UCLA; I had introduced her to Ayn and Objectivism; and we had married cousins. Our rupture in 1968, after Rand published "To Whom It May Concern," was very painful for both of us. We began talking, and over the next few weeks I told Joan -- and then Allan -- a great deal that she had not known about "the break' and my part in it, and we began picking up the pieces of our friendship. It was a development that made me very happy, and still does; my friendship with Joan has always been one of the most importamt relationships of my life. Barbara ==== end post by Barbara NOTE: I'm completely surprised at Allan's having said something so overwrought and indefensible as the statement Walker quoted, if the quote is accurate. The context makes it look as if it is accurate. Ellen
  2. Peikoff's Personal Esthetics Authority

    Duh, I know that. However, there are anatomical traces. I don't know specifically what Mary Ann meant, just making a guess. Ellen
  3. Peikoff's Personal Esthetics Authority

    Yes, that's what I said!!!!!!! I said that Peikoff ignored the Objectivist method of Esthetic Judgment, and opted instead to state his own subjective interpretation. You again miss the point. Repeat: Peikoff wasn't making an esthetic appraisal at all. He was talking about his personal reaction. He wasn't assessing the work's technical merit, which is the only issue to which that passage you dub "the Objectivist method of Esthetic Judgment" applies. You've elevated that passage into worse than the tail wagging the dog. You've turned it into the tail replacing the dog. (Besides which, there's nothing uniquely Objectivist about it. The idea that one sets aside one's reaction to the "what" while judging the degree of skill displayed by the "how" is common.) I do wonder how long it's been since you read the whole set of three essays. Sounds like you've forgotten what Rand's theory of art says and how she says artistic response operates. She does not preface the final cautionary addendum about confusing personal response with appraisal of technical skill by saying words to the effect, "And now, reader, you're supposed to ignore everything I've written in this set of essays up to here and turn it all backward, so as to start with a technical appraisal and then respond." Ellen
  4. Peikoff's Personal Esthetics Authority

    Notice the scare quotes. Ellen
  5. Peikoff's Personal Esthetics Authority

    Heh. I neither represented nor misrepresented what the Objectivist method of Esthetic Judgment is! I simply mentioned the term without defining it or explaining what it is. You both represented and misrepresented "the Objectivist method of Esthetic Judgment" in writing: Peikoff wasn't making what Rand called "a purely esthetic appraisal" at all. He was talking about his personal reaction. And your understanding of the prescribed method, as briefly summarized by you on another thread, is incorrect: ~~~ Jonathan wrote: link [Rand's] followers [...] don't observe the work of art and carefully, dispassionately add up its elements to identify a thematic subject and meaning, and then later come to a moral appraisal and appropriate emotional response. Instead, they immediately emote, long before they've had a chance to consider all that the art might contain and mean. ~~~ end quote The point of Rand's cautionary addendum about "purely esthetic appraisal" is that such appraisal on the one hand and a person's emotional response and moral evaluation on the other are different issues. She wasn't saying that first you make a "purely esthetic appraisal" and then you evaluate morally and react emotionally based on the results of your "purely esthetic appraisal." She was saying that you put your emotional and moral appraisals aside in judging the technical quality of a work. The O'ists (and O'vishes) you decry who react immediately emotionally are doing what she said is the nature of immediate response - response coming from the degree of perceived congruence with how the responder sees life. --- Your stuff about Peikoff's phrase "which muscle means what" is so far-fetched a reading, as if Mary Ann was providing a lexicography of muscle "meanings." She was explaining to him that his interpretation didn't square anatomically with some detail(s) of the statue. Maybe she was right. I can't see the detail well enough to tell in the images I found. Ellen
  6. Peikoff's Personal Esthetics Authority

    Yeah, Joan Blumenthal didn't care at all about Art. Jonathan, as usual,misrepresents what "the Objectivist method of Esthetic Judgment" is. Was Mary Ann Rand's "personal secretary" at some point? She helped with the typing of the manuscript of Atlas Shrugged. As to the "muscle," I'll guess that Mary Ann was referring to the state of the penis. Ellen
  7. My Cato Essays

    I've queried the logical possibility. I'm not going to try to guess what illogical leap(s) you're making. Ellen PS: Tony, I did know a little aboutKant's ethics before reading Rand. I reacted with a shudder to the duty mentality. I still react the same emotionally. Plus, today, having the advantage of considerable hindsight knowledge which I didn't have at 18, I think that Kant was not merely mistaken in fundamentals but disastrously so because of the major influence his views have had onsubsequent thinkers in many areas.
  8. Donald Trump

    As I've said, I'mmixed on how I imagine Rand would have responded to Trump. I tend to think she'd have been negative on balance though liking some of his characteristics.The idea of her having the hots for him sounds stylistically wrong to me, not a jibe with her "type." Ellen
  9. Donald Trump

    Phil's last post, dated January 31, 2012 - link-ends simply with "Sayonara." If what you're thinking of is the photoshopped image of Phil in front of a blackboard, the addition of"you cunts" inthe "quoted"farewellis a contribution from Ninth's doctoring. Ellen
  10. My Cato Essays

    Where is Tony being "Obedient to Rand and her mistaken opinions" in writing the following? link On April 2, 2016 at 0:51 PM, anthony said: ~~~ Duty to a "universal" moral law is still "duty". It is top-down of an identitification of collective "humanity", not of the nature of man's consciousness. ~~~ If you don't think that that statement is reflective of Rand's "mistaken opinions," why did you quote it in charging Tony with being Obedient to Rand and "willfully refusing to know" (as if you could know that someone is doing that). Ellen
  11. My Cato Essays

    So, according to you, Rand was mistaken in objecting to a duty ethics? A duty ethics is just fine? Only someone "Obedient to Rand and her mistaken opinions" would think that a duty ethics is a bad idea? Ellen
  12. 2016 Progressive Fourth Party Presidential Candidate

    There's further analysis of the chapter, plusphilosophic reflection, in the freerepublic entry. I don't agree with the metaphysical point the author makes re the "laws" of nature, and Rand's being inconsistent (the writer says) in rejecting the idea of God, but I found the analysis interesting. Regarding clues: I felt sure, after a couple Eddie-and-worker scenes, that the worker was Galt, and I thought that Randwas intending this to be apparent to the reader. Ellen
  13. 2016 Progressive Fourth Party Presidential Candidate

    The Destroyer I Googled on "she says there's a destroyer" (I recalled Eddie telling "the worker" that). The passage is quoted in a lengthy analysis of Atlas' Chapter 13 on freerepublic.com: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2226963/replies?c=16 ~~~ Start Quote Eddie Willers appears entirely aware of what is going on, and refers the matter to his confidante in the Taggart cafeteria, the nameless and voiceless track worker to whom Eddie has come to pour out his heart. “I feel that someone is screaming in the middle of the streets but people are passing by and no sound can reach them – and it’s not Hank Rearden or Ken Danagger or I who’s screaming, and yet it seems as if it’s all three of us…Rearden and Danagger were indicted this morning. They’ll go on trial next month. No…no, I’m not shaking, I’m all right, I’ll be all right in a moment…That’s why I haven’t said a word to her, I was afraid I’d explode and I didn’t want to make it harder for her…it’s not Hank Rearden that she’s afraid for, it’s Ken Danagger…she feels certain that Ken Danagger will be the next one to go…he’s a marked man…she says there’s a destroyer, that she won’t let him get Ken Danagger…” Those might be imprudent words in the wrong ears, perhaps, but then the fellow is only a track worker after all. And yet next we see Dagny cooling her heels in Danagger’s office, and when finally she is allowed admittance, he’s gone. The strongest pillar supporting her collapsing world. Oh, he’s sitting in front of her, but he’s gone. He looked at her bowed head and said gently, “You’re a brave person, Miss Taggart. I know what it’s costing you…don’t torture yourself. Let me go.” The Destroyer has come and departed, taking Danagger with him. And all he’s left behind is a gold-stamped cigarette butt. “I won’t say goodbye,” he [Danagger] said, “because I’ll be seeing you again in the not too distant future.” “Oh,” she said eagerly, holding his hand clasped across the desk, “are you going to return?” “No. You’re going to join me. ~~~ End Quote Ellen
  14. Donald Trump

    That's how I see it, too. Fields behaved stupidly,Lewandowski didn't accost her, as she claimed he did. He has nothing to apologize for, really, and, in the circumstances, with the prior media hype having been what it was,a polite, pro-forma apologylikely wouldhave been played upas an admission of guilt. Ellen
  15. Donald Trump

    That's what I've understood you to be saying. Ellen