Jump to content






Photo

Birds of a Feather


  • Please log in to reply
113 replies to this topic

#101 Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell

    $$$$$$

  • VIP
  • 3,582 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Carolina
  • Interests:psychological theory, self-esteem, classical music, jazz, blues, music history

Posted 01 October 2010 - 04:31 PM

Ellen,

I've come to realize what you really have in common with Jim Valliant.

Neither of you has the slightest understanding of Ayn Rand the person.

Valliant has more of an excuse for his lack of understanding: he never met Ayn Rand and never attended one of her speeches.

Valliant compensates for his incomprehension by rattling through his mediocre knowledge of her ideas and flawlessly reciting his catechism: Ayn Rand was perfect, Ayn Rand had superhuman powers, anyone she fell out with was supremely evil and can't be believed about anything, and now that she has left the planet all must defer to the authority of her apostolic successor, Pope Leonard. (And, although Valliant will never allow himself to realize it, Leonard Peikoff entrusted him with her diaries primarily on account of his incomprehension.)

In the past, you have compensated for yours by telling and retelling and reretelling your small stock of anecdotes about Rand and persons in her circle, while correcting every error, real or imagined, made by any other contributor to the conversation.

Despite your lack of a coherent understanding of the subject, the threat of diminishing or even negative returns from your accustomed strategy, and your inability to compensate by worshiping at the Randian altar as Valliant does, you waded into the Valliant Wars.

It should no longer come as a surprise to anyone how you ended up on Valliant's side, especially when those you regard as rivals criticized his work more and more sharply, and after a while many of those who had once been with Valliant forgot him or abandoned him.

Unfortunately, your alliance with Valliant extended well past your new-found agreement on such matters as whether Frank O'Connor drank too much, or Ayn Rand demanded obedience from her followers and sometimes joined in humiliating them at 'kangaroo court' trials.

It quickly proved impossible to mount a semi-plausible defense of Valliant's positions without adopting Valliant's tactics.

No problem. Being a good deal smarter than Valliant, you proved a quick study in sleaze.

The best forum you were ever going to find for your evasive circumlocutions, rapid subject-changing, interminable nitpicking, selective forgetting of your own prior statements, and snarling putdowns of anyone you deem a competitor was SOLOPassion, where Lindsay Perigo and Jim Valliant routinely employed such procedures, usually without finesse, and Perigo, in particular, was so gross, crude, and abusive that your nastiest, dopiest slams would look refined by comparison.

Besides, Perigo and Valliant were so besotted, so desperate for support, at times so totally out of it, that you could get away with condescending to them on a regular basis.

Having burned most of your bridges here with your special pleading for Valliant, you'd have been well advised to stay with SOLOP.

Unfortunately, the alliance between Valliant and Perigo was based on nothing deeper than shared loathing for Barbara Branden. Eventually it frayed beyond repair. Jim Valliant made his departure, and, judging from the subsequent disappearance of ARI editorials from SOLOP, this time he has no intention of ever coming back.

Valliant's departure meant that there was no forum left in Rand-land where you, as a non-worshiper, could hold forth on Ayn Rand's life and character, securing the deference of the other participants while continually one-upping them.

The prudent course would have been to retire the act. And, if you had to pick over a famous writer, to find another one, but—as Rich warned you—leave Mark Twain and Hunter Thompson alone.

Instead, you brought your Rand shtick back to OL, where it wasn't playing so well the last time. Now your increasingly desperate BS has gotten the only reception that could have been predicted for it.

I don't decide who posts here and I don't recommend banning you. (I'm kind of allergic to banning, anyway, having been booted from SOLO, pre-booted from NoodleFood, and even blocked in advance from some ARIan Facebook pages.)

But in the future I will never respond to any of your posts at OL, regardless of subject matter.

You could make some real amends by admitting that you sucked up to Jim Valliant and Lindsay Perigo in a foolish pursuit after an online forum that you could dominate.

But I seriously doubt that you will ever apologize for your tactical affiliation with two persons of proven bad character, even as it earns you the discredit and disrespect that for a long time now have been their due.

Robert Campbell

#102 Jonathan

Jonathan

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 2,951 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Minnesota

Posted 01 October 2010 - 05:19 PM

Diana Hsieh has reported Leonard Peikoff saying that he told AR about some of NB's racking him (LP) over the coals, occasions which LP had thought were done with AR's approval, and AR was furious at what she heard.


And that was after Rand's break with Branden, right? It wouldn't surprise me if she would have become enraged by just about anything that was reported to her about Branden after she had decided that he was Evil. But that doesn't mean she would have had the same reaction prior to her split with Branden. If Peikoff had reported exactly the same grievances to Rand during the time that she was getting banged by Branden weekly, her fury may have been directed at Peikoff instead. She might have berated him for not showing enough respect to her designated intellectual heir and for failing to grasp the brilliance of his decisions, and then banished Peikoff to some distant location until he properly demonstrated that he had sufficiently pulled his head out of his ass.


Holzer in his memoir tells of NB getting down on a publication Holzer was involved with and the publication being discontinued. Holzer says he'd just assumed AR knew about it.


Do you know for certain whether Rand was or was not aware of Branden's dealings with Holzer?

Anyway, I'm sure there were many things that Branden did which Rand might not have been aware of, but I think that if she had been informed of them while Branden was a saint in her eyes, she would have expressed her admiration for the brilliance of his actions and judgments, but, after he had become a demon in her eyes, she would have been more likely to find reasons to condemn the exact same actions and judgments.


I thought your theory was that she pushed him into therapy because of his diminished interest.


I really haven't presented a "theory" so much as questioned some of your assertions, and suggested possible alternatives. You claimed that Branden's participation in 'therapy' with Rand was motivated by his attempt to keep the truth from her. My position is that there could have been other motivations, including ones that Branden was either unaware of, confused about, or resistant to at certain points in time. I think he could have been motivated by any one or more of a variety of reasons, including the desire to keep certain things from Rand, the confusion of feeling things that he wasn't supposed to feel according to the beliefs that she had instilled in him, and of not feeling what he was supposed to be feeling, among other possibilities.

J

Edited by Jonathan, 01 October 2010 - 05:20 PM.


#103 Neil Parille

Neil Parille

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 757 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New England
  • Interests:History Philosophy Theology Literature

Posted 01 October 2010 - 06:31 PM

Ellen,

You write:

Diana Hsieh has reported Leonard Peikoff saying that he told AR about some of NB's racking him (LP) over the coals, occasions which LP had thought were done with AR's approval, and AR was furious at what she heard.

Why would you believe anything LP says? As you know, he claims Rand quit smoking when she became convinced that there was a connection between smoking and cancer, when in fact she quit smoking when told by her doctor that she had cancer. LP has also permitted the rewrite of Rand's materials such as her Journals.

-Neil Parille

#104 Brant Gaede

Brant Gaede

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 14,214 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tucson, AZ
  • Interests:All kinds of stuff

Posted 01 October 2010 - 06:48 PM

Gee, Robert, I couldn't decide if you were burning Ellen alive or just roasting her on a spit.

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--Libertarian--objectivist Objectivist, not an Objectivist Objectivist


#105 Selene

Selene

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 14,751 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Interests:Chess, birding, football, baseball, minimalist backpacking, argumentation and debate, politics and philosophy, strategic board gaming, history, Rand, poetry, writing.

Posted 01 October 2010 - 07:23 PM

Gee, Robert, I couldn't decide if you were burning Ellen alive or just roasting her on a spit.

--Brant



Posted Image

Posted Image

Film at eleven!
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#106 Ellen Stuttle

Ellen Stuttle

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 4,718 posts
  • Interests:Psychology, Physics, Philosophy, Literature, Music

Posted 02 October 2010 - 03:47 PM

It should no longer come as a surprise to anyone how you ended up on Valliant's side [...]


Except that I didn't end up "on Valliant's side" in the sense in which I think you mean. The notion that I did has been your invention all along, resulting in your chronically presuming that I must take such and so or the other position, or have such and so or the other Valliant-related intention in making a particular point (e.g., the one about Leonard Peikoff disregarding AR's stated wishes) and then not being able to explain why I don't comply with your expectation.

I've ended up seeing more good points in Valliant's book than I did at the start. I always thought he was onto something about the repression and alienation theme, which I always found questionable in Passion from my first reading of that book. I've come seriously to question the authoritarian-Rand image. And there are other details.

The one respect in which I could have been said to be "on Valliant's side" was over the Wikipedia charges which you and others leveled, i.e., your idea that the project was a deliberate sales pitch for PARC, your disbelief that the project was Holly's idea and that she did the bulk of it (and all of the entries pertaining to PARC) and further issues of your disbelief of their account of events which emerged as time went on.

Ellen

Edited by Ellen Stuttle, 02 October 2010 - 04:22 PM.


#107 Ellen Stuttle

Ellen Stuttle

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 4,718 posts
  • Interests:Psychology, Physics, Philosophy, Literature, Music

Posted 02 October 2010 - 04:05 PM


Diana Hsieh has reported Leonard Peikoff saying that he told AR about some of NB's racking him (LP) over the coals, occasions which LP had thought were done with AR's approval, and AR was furious at what she heard.


And that was after Rand's break with Branden, right? It wouldn't surprise me if she would have become enraged by just about anything that was reported to her about Branden after she had decided that he was Evil. But that doesn't mean she would have had the same reaction prior to her split with Branden. If Peikoff had reported exactly the same grievances to Rand during the time that she was getting banged by Branden weekly, her fury may have been directed at Peikoff instead. She might have berated him for not showing enough respect to her designated intellectual heir and for failing to grasp the brilliance of his decisions, and then banished Peikoff to some distant location until he properly demonstrated that he had sufficiently pulled his head out of his ass.


I doubt it. For instance, I always thought that if she'd known about the way Nathaniel berated the audience the time (fall '63, Chicago) I heard him deliver in person the opening lecture of the "Basic Principles of Objectivism" course, she wouldn't have approved. (The microphone wasn't working at the start and he was into about the second paragraph of the lecture before the audience gathered impetus for someone to say, "The mike isn't working." He berated the audience as being sheep and having no independence.)



Holzer in his memoir tells of NB getting down on a publication Holzer was involved with and the publication being discontinued. Holzer says he'd just assumed AR knew about it.


Do you know for certain whether Rand was or was not aware of Branden's dealings with Holzer?


No, obviously. Holzer doesn't know, since he didn't ask her when he was still associated with her and wasn't around her to ask her after that.



I thought your theory was that she pushed him into therapy because of his diminished interest.


I really haven't presented a "theory" so much as questioned some of your assertions, and suggested possible alternatives. You claimed that Branden's participation in 'therapy' with Rand was motivated by his attempt to keep the truth from her. My position is that there could have been other motivations, including ones that Branden was either unaware of, confused about, or resistant to at certain points in time. I think he could have been motivated by any one or more of a variety of reasons, including the desire to keep certain things from Rand, the confusion of feeling things that he wasn't supposed to feel according to the beliefs that she had instilled in him, and of not feeling what he was supposed to be feeling, among other possibilities.


Where did I deny "that there could have been other motivations" as well as "his attempt to keep the truth from her"?

Ellen

#108 Ellen Stuttle

Ellen Stuttle

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 4,718 posts
  • Interests:Psychology, Physics, Philosophy, Literature, Music

Posted 02 October 2010 - 04:17 PM

Gee, Robert, I couldn't decide if you were burning Ellen alive or just roasting her on a spit.

--Brant


One of the burners on our range top blew out Thursday night, sending up a cascade of sparks. Omen, I suppose. :D

Ellen

#109 Greybird

Greybird

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 799 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 02 October 2010 - 08:45 PM

[...] If Peikoff had reported exactly the same grievances to Rand during the time that she was getting banged by Branden weekly, her fury may have been directed at Peikoff instead. [emphasis added]

Enough sewer muck is being flung already in this thread, mostly (and undeservedly) at Mark of ARI Watch and at Ellen Stuttle, but also among the other kiddies in the sandbox. Or I'm confusing this with other threads where character assassination is the practice du jour. I'm not at all sure these days, and I'm starting to not even care.

But must we have matters of consensual sexual relations being expressed in such crude terms as this? Isn't the turmoil of a matrix of multifaceted hopes and deceptions from 42 years and more ago bad enough, without using gutter terminology for it?

I've never been fond of the special exemption MSK has made for the Brandens, as to what may be said about them and its potentially chilling effect on discussion but, still, doesn't using this kind of term constitute abuse? Of the Brandens, of the O'Connors, or of anyone else? I'd say it does.

#110 Jonathan

Jonathan

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 2,951 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Minnesota

Posted 03 October 2010 - 02:05 AM

I think that "banged" is a perfectly appropriate term to use when speaking of sex between two people who felt the need to hide the nature or their relationship from even their closest friends and associates, and to actively promote the public illusion of monogamous marriages to their spouses, especially when the people promoting the false public image claimed to detest the cowardice of appeasing others' negative judgments of their virtues and values. When people behave as if they're ashamed of their sexual relationship, they're "banging."

J

Rand on appeasement:
"It is understandable that men might seek to hide their vices from the eyes of people whose judgment they respect. But there are men who hide their virtues from the eyes of monsters. There are men who apologize for their own achievements, deride their own values, debase their own character—for the sake of pleasing those they know to be stupid, corrupt, malicious, evil."

Edited by Jonathan, 03 October 2010 - 02:11 AM.


#111 Michael Stuart Kelly

Michael Stuart Kelly

    $$$$$$

  • Root Admin
  • 19,504 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 October 2010 - 07:48 AM

Jonathan,

I don't mind the phrase. All things happen within context.

I consider your intent in that passage was not to disrespect the person (neither Rand nor Branden), but the act qua act. (And be cute, of course. :) )

In other words, I can easily imagine you following your phrase with something like the following, "What on earth were they thinking?" Not something like, "Look at those goddam pathetic dishonest imbeciles." And I believe your words come with an implied admiration for the achievements of both, not spite and hatred. At the very extreme, I always see you judge people by the same standards they preach and disapprove when they don't line up. But I don't detect malice. That's the context as I see it.

Ironically, Steve's call to censor your kind of stuff has a much more "potentially chilling effect on discussion" than the policy he complains about--i.e., the not-spewing-hatred policy I hold for the Brandens, and respect for the person in general, with some flexibility.

I don't expect him to appreciate the differences, nor the fundamental issues, though.

I suppose that's one of the reasons I have a forum where intelligent people regularly show up--with lively discussions--and he doesn't.

Sorry to toot my own horn like that, but keeping things clear is a good thing when people get grumpy.

Michael

Know thyself...


#112 Jonathan

Jonathan

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 2,951 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Minnesota

Posted 03 October 2010 - 11:19 AM

Jonathan,

I don't mind the phrase. All things happen within context.

I consider your intent in that passage was not to disrespect the person (neither Rand nor Branden), but the act qua act. (And be cute, of course. )

In other words, I can easily imagine you following your phrase with something like the following, "What on earth were they thinking?" Not something like, "Look at those goddam pathetic dishonest imbeciles." And I believe your words come with an implied admiration for the achievements of both, not spite and hatred. At the very extreme, I always see you judge people by the same standards they preach and disapprove when they don't line up. But I don't detect malice. That's the context as I see it.


Yup. Thanks. You nailed it. My respect or admiration for people and their accomplishments doesn't turn me into a humorless sissy who dares not laugh at or mock the same people for their self-importance or hypocrisy.


Ironically, Steve's call to censor your kind of stuff has a much more "potentially chilling effect on discussion" than the policy he complains about--i.e., the not-spewing-hatred policy I hold for the Brandens, and respect for the person in general, with some flexibility.

I don't expect him to appreciate the differences, nor the fundamental issues, though.


I like Steve, and I value his contributions here, but I sometimes butt heads with him because he's So Serious. Have you noticed that he's often very careful to clearly indicate that he's indulging in high jinks? Something like this:

>>>WARNING: HUMOR AHEAD; HUMOR AND SARCASM ON<<<

Did you hear the one about the Objectivist salesman? Well, you're going to love this one. Follow me, now. Are you with me? Okay, so the joke goes like this: It seems that there was this Objectivist salesman who happened to meet this ping-pong-playing farmer's daughter...

...and she stepped on the ball!

>>>HUMOR AND SARCASM OFF<<<

I think there have even been a few times when he's suggested that everyone should follow the same format of draining all of the humor out of their humor.


I suppose that's one of the reasons I have a forum where intelligent people regularly show up--with lively discussions--and he doesn't.

Sorry to toot my own horn like that, but keeping things clear is a good thing when people get grumpy.


I agree. Most people seem to want to control what others say, and that's what eventually destroys good discussion groups. I've seen it over and over again in O-land. So far, you've been a rare exception, MSK, and I appreciate it. There are definitely times when I don't like being on the receiving end of the freedom that others are allowed here, but I find that when I'm called names or accused of one false thing or another, it's much better to use my freedom to respond with a cool-headed argument than to whine and demand that my opponents be censored or banned.

J

Edited by Jonathan, 03 October 2010 - 11:20 AM.


#113 Mike Greaves

Mike Greaves

    $

  • Members
  • 35 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 October 2010 - 12:30 PM

How reliable a source do you consider "To Whom It May Concern" to be?


I just want to say that I found Robert's post #50 to be really valuable.
Thank you, Robert.
Mike

#114 Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell

    $$$$$$

  • VIP
  • 3,582 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Carolina
  • Interests:psychological theory, self-esteem, classical music, jazz, blues, music history

Posted 12 October 2010 - 07:54 PM

Mike,

Thank you.

I think Jim Heaps-Nelson also made a good point when he emphasized Ayn Rand's felt need to protect herself from the sort of hostile criticism she frequently got after Atlas Shrugged was published.

But you can support an expansive movement (like NBI) or a drawn-in, hunkered-down movement (like the remnant Objectivist establishment of Rand's final years) out of motives that are partly self-protective.

Robert Campbell




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users




Nightingale-Conant