I don't read essays on Rand's novels. I may have read one article published by JARS on any subject. I'm not even that much interested in the double issue on Nathaniel Branden. I'm only interested in what's in my own head based on my first-hand experiences. Sometimes I write about such, in parts here, and sometimes--much less--elsewhere. If I write later at considerable length it's going to be all me as these things and people were of my experience. Afterwords I'll go back and read all that stuff, maybe. For me it's memoir first, scholarship second. Barbara Branden did both at once in The Passion of Ayn Rand. Nathaniel Branden was all memoir in Judgment Day.
I wouldn't have joined into George H. Smith's talkafest about The Fountainhead even if i could have. I couldn't have. The (secondary) problem is George's big brain. The secondary problem with others is--well, not to say. (The primary problem is my brain--what's in it, as the result of experience and it's that I work off of.) Re George, he once said he'd read AS once and that was that so why wasn't The Fountainhead that was that? One thing I run from is lack of passion. Don't get me wrong, George has lots of passion, at least about more political and political-historical philosophical means. It's the essential libertarian-Objectivist divide. Well, to more clarify, there's Objectivism qua Objectivism then there's Objectivism qua esthetics and Objectivism qua politics. There's more, but George isn't qua any of that. He's a libertarian qua politics and to hell with politics, ideally speaking. Anarchy--now THAT'S passion!
If I had to do it again when I went to Los Angeles in 2012 to see Nathaniel, I'd also have tried to see Barbara. I didn't because I inferred she was in ill health. Unannounced--to avoid the stress of a visitor--I'd have knocked on her door. You see we were friends, albeit not close friends--I was friendly with Nathaniel, but I'd not say friends for with him I'd have to be living in LA and work at it really hard while with her it was more natural--and that way she'd finally have had a visual and tactile knowledge of me I had had of her just from the photo on the back of the book Who Is Ayn Rand and then in real life later. She had had visual contact with me (and one telephone while researching PAR) three times only: 1) On September 20, 1968 when I walked into NBI in NYC and they were shutting it down (I'd come into NYC from NJ for Movie Night) completely ignorant of what had happened and there was Barbara behind the desk. I walked up to her asked, "What happened?" and she stated that NB and AR had had ... etc. A total shock to me. I wandered around the facilitiy and purchased a couple of items and left. I had dropped out of the University of Arizona after a semester and a half after coming home from Vietnam and came to NYC (living with my Dad and step-mother in NJ) in April and had attended some courses and seen NB and AR and LP and MARS(ures) and Frank O'Connor and I thought after being a killer medic I was in intellectual and moral heaven. 2) In 1975 NB came to NYC to give a lecture on some new something about self esteem (New Lectures?). Barbara was manning the desk and I exchanged some friendly words with her. 3) In 1986 on a book tour for PAR she came to NYC and there was a big get together and a lot of Objectivist and non-Objectivist bigwigs (were there including my old acting teacher Phillip J. Smith [whom I embraced but was shocked at his fragility [he felt so lite] and I filed up for an autograph for her PAR, deliberately last in line, and she remembered me from the telephone conversation ("The first thing I check when reading fiction is the style of writing"--"Oh, me too!" [approximate quotes] and after the autograph I kissed her on the cheek). There's more but that's enough, at least, for now. And likely enough.
I liked all these people: AR, LP, BB, NB et al. and the personal, intellectual and moral context they were part and parcel of. And I was. Fundamentally, way down deep, that includes to this day Leonard Peikoff. I don't care that much re that that he went off the tracks in 1986 when he couldn't rationally and humanly deal with PAR. The only thing that really pisses me off about the man is the way he has let the AR material be butchered up by the two-bit re-doers of AR. The scholarship went completely out the window. The man was completely trapped in the AR matrix--as was AR herself--the matrix NB was blown out of--to his admitted great benefit--in 1968. It was a matrix BB never completely left. She kept touting AR as a (great) human being for the rest of her life. Natch! She was. Never mind any other stuff! The philosophy is simple, basically. The complexity is people. The true complexity of philosophy is when you throw in sundry people's esthetics. Objectism is 95% people, many at each others' throats. Objectivsm should be more 50/50, but it's very young.
a modern man--there aren't many of us--and good luck understanding half of what that means (for I hardly do)
women!--they know we boys need our toys (in that sense AR was a boy [my highest compliment])
the Ford Mtr Co. was a toy, BTW, and when Mrs Ford told Henry to settle with the striking union that's what he did
Barbara Branden last (officially [signed in]) visited OB on March 28, 2012, my 68th birthday
I am now rushing to the end of my (intellectual) life--I've got 10-15 years max to go on that thx to my genes (but thx to my genes I shouldn't be bald)