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Posts posted by emb021

  1. Well, I've finished watching the BBC documentary (thru the aforementioned 7 part 'series' on youtube).

    Overall I thought it was decent. There are some factual errors, which I know that other commentors have mentioned. If this is of interest, I recommend checking out some of the sources I mentioned before.

    I think for most people here, parts 4 and 5 would probably be of most interest, as its in these areas that the focus is on Ditko's Objectivist ideas.

    Some other comments. I really like Alan Moore's work, but I have to admit I don't agree with some of his views. He's actually wrong about Hawk & Dove, and which side Ditko was on. As the article on H&D I cited earlier, many lose sight that it was a 3 sided argument, and that I think H&D's father was the side that Ditko was on, not Hawk.

    Stan Lee. He really annoys me that he can't get thru his head that Ditko is the co-creator of Spiderman. Yes, the 'creator' of an idea should get full credit, but only if he creates the full idea. He fails to realize that Ditko contributed to Spiderman, filling in the parts that Lee failed to do. Did Lee direct Ditko as to how the character would look like (costume, etc?), then it wasn't a complete idea and Ditko is a co-creator.

  2. Here is a link to a Blog which you may watch the entire BBC Documentary on Ditko via Youtube:


    Its in 7 parts (uff!). The blog has an embedded link to the first part, which is pretty good. Once you watch the first part, you can then launch the second and so forth. Each part is about 10 minutes long

    BestOfMostOf is written by Blake Bell, who is currently working on what may be the closest to a Ditko biography. He has an extensive article on the documentary as well.

  3. All-

    For those not aware of him, Peter Bagge is an cartoonist, usually known as an "underground cartoonist" or nowadays as an 'alternate' or 'independent' cartoonist. He has a fairly unusual style, its not very 'pretty' and lends itself to more satirical in style.

    By and large, I don't care for most underground cartoonist. If their style isn't of interest to me, their politics and subject matter would. Most are quite obviously leftist, and all that entails (collectivism, socialism, communism, etc), and the subject matter seems to focus on the worse of people (my life is miserable, and my work reflects that, etc).

    So while I had seen Bagge's work in various comics catalogs and the like, I never had a reason to check him out. (Aside, if you want to see examples of his work, here is his website: http://www.peterbagge.com/)

    Until he started to do comic strips in Reason magazine. It seems that unlike his 'underground comics' collegues, Bagge is a libertarian. (you can see what he's done for Reason here: http://www.reason.com/staff/show/137.html).

    His style with these strips is more like a reporter. He doesn't use this a a soapbox per say. They are not rants or lectures. Instead, he looks at a certain subject and shows the stupidity of the liberals or conservatives (or both) in the matter. (and he's not above poking fun at the lunatic fringe within the libertarian world either). I think his style is best compared with John Stossel. I've frankly enjoyed his strips and was even a bit worried when they disappeared for a time.

    Comic book fanzine publisher Twomorrows has started a new series focusing on Indy comic creators called "Comics Introspective". The first volume came out and is on Bagge. My local comic shop had copies, so I took a look to see if I should get it. Since they do discuss his work at Reason and his libertarian views, I picked it up. Overall, pretty good.

    Now, at this point some are probably saying, so what? Well, Bagge does address Ayn Rand. And Steve Ditko, as he did a recent one-shot comic at Marvel poking fun at Spiderman (one of the few times he's worked at the 'Big Two' of comics). The Orthodoxy will probably not like what he says about Rand, but I have to be honest and say that what he says about her pretty much matches my views.

    He's quite clear on saying that Rand is a libertarian, despite her not liking us. This is some of what he says:

    "Even though her politics were libertarian, she herself hated libertarians. She was very eccentric, very stubborn, and self-righteous, and very unforgiving. Everything with her was 'my way or the highway', and she got woese as she got older. The reason she hated libertarianism was because she thought it reached the wrong conclusions, especially regarding aesthetic matters."

    While not a nice portrait, that is the impression I have of her at many times. Yes, she could be gracious, but too many times she wasn't. I'm not sure I totally agree with Bagge's reasoning as to her issue with libertarianism. My impression it was that libertarians were a diverse group such that many had different basis for their libertarian views.

    He further comments about Rand's views on aesthetics, how she politicized it. This is something I have to agree with. The impression I got from Objectivism in the area of aesthetics was that you had to like certain types of art (visual, musical, plays, films, fiction, etc). If you somehow liked the wrong things there was something wrong with you ('check your premises'). Having come from an environment of private christian schools where (thankfully not at mine) you were expected to avoid 'worldy things' such as tv, movies, books (or atleast not those on some kind of approved list), this was a major turn off to me.

    He has some final things to say about her that I think are important.

    "[its] ironic [the] people who are critical of her see her as completely immoral. They always describe her politics as the politics of selfishness, as if that's all she's really advocating. She was avocating freedom more then anything else, which is what I very much admire her for, but to someone with a more socialistic or statist worldview, 'freedom' and 'selfishness' are somewhat interchangeable.

    She's probably the most famous 'libertarian,' since her work is required reading at many schools, and it's more engaging then other libertarian authors and philosophers."

    There is more that he says about her, but I didn't want to copy it all here.

  4. All-

    For those who don't know him, Steve Ditko is a fairly well known (in the comic world) comic book artist/writer. He is probably most famous for having co-created Spider-Man.

    Why he would be of interest to people here is that in the mid 1960s, he got interested in Objectivism, and it started to influence much of his work. He created several characters who are pretty much 'Objectivist superheroes', as well as whole series and stories and other works influenced by Objectivism.

    There are two other threads on some of this other work in this section.

    At Marvel, he was most well known as the co-creator of Spider-Man. He soon began to plot the series as well (that is, he was involved with writting the series, not mearly executing a script given to him). He would also create the character of Dr. Strange.

    However, Ditko started to get dissatisfied with Marvel. There are many reasons why, most likely he was upset with the difficulty of getting proper credit for his work (being created as plotter and co-writter instead of mearly the artist), as well as changing in the stories as he had set down. (as Stan Lee would add in dialogue after Ditko had turned it in, sometimes he changed to to mean something different from what Ditko had originally wanted it to be). Mark Evanier, a longtime comic book writer, has recently spoken about Ditko and his reasons for leaving Marvel on his blog: http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_09_11.html#014000 and http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_09_11.html#013999. These were prompted by the recent documentary on Ditko done by the BBC. (see my comments below).

    Ditko finally left to return to Charlton Comics. He would later go to DC, where he had the chance to create new characters to again delve into philisophical issues: The Creeper and Hawk & Dove. However, his work on these two series would be very short lived. The reasons he left DC are just as clouded as with Marvel. What is interesting is that when Ditko did return to Marvel, he refused to work on any of his past characters. When he later returned to DC, he DID do further work on The Creeper, and even did several stories using a whole-owned version of the Creeper called Shag. (supposedly the Shag storied were reworked stories originally intended for The Creeper)

    Here are links to a recent series articles on his DC work, which does reference Objectivism.

    Ditko Shrugged (Part 1): Ayn Rand's Influence on Steve Ditko's Craft, Commerce, and Creeper


    Ditko Shrugged (Part 2): Apollonian and Dionysian Conflicts in The Hawk and the Dove and Beware the Creeper


    Ditko Shrugged (Part Three): Did Neal Adams Work on Beware the Creeper #5?


    There will be a Park Four, but it has yet to appear.

    The first article is pretty good, giving an overview/back of Ditko and his Objectivist works. Mention is made of Mr. A and the Question. There are some factual errors, which has been noted on-line in the site's forum. Here is that thread for those who might want to read it. Look for the postings by a Nick Caputo (around page 3). http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/foru...read.php?t=4000

    Here are some other articles on these 2 series:

    The Creeper:

    From Dial B for Blog- http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/251/

    Hawk & Dove:

    From Ditko Looked Up- http://www.ditko.comics.org/ditko/crea/crhawka.html

    This is a great short article on H&D, and which explores the philosophical underpinings of the series (which are also covered in the silverbullet series). Something that everyone who followed Ditko on these characters failed to understand. As noted in these stories, H&D really has 3 main characters, but the character of the father was quickly forgetten after the original series, to focus on just Hawk & Dove. And those characters would go thru major changes as well.


    As I was writting this up, I was struck by something. I think most everyone on this group knows the 'controvery' amoung the orthodoxy regarding BB's PAR. There have been several attempts by people in the comic book industry to write a biography of Ditko. This has been especially difficult because Ditko is a very private person, and doesn't want such a thing. One person who has been putting one together now (Blake Bell) has been practically dragged thru the mud by Ditko for daring to do so, which I think is a bit extreme.

  5. I found a movie which is really an illustration of Hobbe's -Leviathan-. Guess what it is. It is the science fiction movie -The Day the Earth Stood Still-. This motion picture came out around 1950 so many of you probably either never saw it or never heard of it.

    The Day the Earth Stood Still is a classic 50s SF movie. Anyone who has watched 'creature feature' type tv shows have seen it. Am sure AMC and such have shown it several times. I've seen in many times and I was born in the 60s. (you can also get this on DVD).

    The movie is loosely based on a short story called "Farewell to the Master". There are some major differences between the movie and original story (big surprise). In the original story, Klaatu is killed early on (no resurrection), and we learn there is more to Gort then it hinted at in the movie. (he is the "Master" noted in the title).

  6. I read "Winkle" way back in school (not sure if middle or high), back when reading most SF was frowned up in school.

    I read several of the sequals, but for some reason was ignorant of her other works until much later. I optained several of her 'young adult' novels, usually the ones with connections to the Winkle series. All well written.

  7. Neil-

    I think your two articles on the serious flaws of PARC have been excellent. While I doubt they will have any affect on the 'true believers', I would hope they have some affect on those who might be more open minded, and prehaps might change the mind of some who think it an ok work.

    I've read thru the comments on this thread regarding the publisher of this work and how that is of important. I had mentioned that in my previous comments on-line regarding PARC. I feel that it has some significance. If PARC is so very valuable to the 'orthodoxy', why would they allow it to be published by what seems to be almost a vanity press? If they couldn't get a more legitamate publisher, at least a small press would have been better then a vanity (or near vanity) press.

    I also wanted to commend about this list of 'failings' of PAR that MSK had quoted.

    James Heaps-Nelson,
    1. Rand was dragged through a bogus psychological counseling charade that the Brandens did not come clean about in their books.

    2. Nowhere in Nathaniel Branden's memoir or in Barbara Branden's biography can you find any significant discussion of Rand's development of the Objectivist philosophy in the 1960's. (Both Branden pieces focus on Ayn Rand as novelist to the exclusion of Ayn Rand as philosopher save the philosophical passages in Atlas.)

    3. No discussion of the written explication of the Objectivist Ethics in Rand's title essay for VOS or the University of Wisconsin talk unveiling it.

    4. No discussion of the articles that would become the Introduction Objectivist Epistemology.

    5. No discussion of the material that went into the Romantic Manifesto.

    6. It was really only possible for Barbara Branden to render one side of the story. Her research pool only consists of those who split with Ayn Rand.

    7. Barbara's biography is entitled The Passion of Ayn Rand, but Rand's passion was only one facet of her personality. Her commitment to reason and rationality looms large as the other major component.

    my comments.

    1. Sorry, don't agree. Frankly, we may not get the full and factional story of what went on here.

    2. NB's work is a memoir. Why should you expect this to be here? BB work is a biography, and focuses on the person, not the development of her philosophy. I've read other bios of similiar people and do not recall similiar information being covered.

    3,4,5. Same comments as for #2. While we might want this info, I rarely see this covered in biographies.

    6. Since those who didn't split with Rand probably wouldn't talk with BB, is this a failing of her work? Sadly, this is usually a problem with biographies that don't have the 'approval' and 'endorsement' of the subject or those close to the subject. But this usually means that since the work is not 'approved/endorsed', that it can touch on subjectc that the approved/endorsed work will not.

    7. whatever. Can not AR be passionate about reason and rationality?

  8. Getting back to the original topic of this thread. :)

    Bob Campbell's and MSK's articles pretty much cover things.

    What I have learned in the brief time I came back to check on the state of the O'ist world, is that there are broadly two groups: the 'orthodoxy', who are by and large aligned with Piekoff and ARI, and everyone else. In the 'everyone else' camp are a wide range of different groups. I would say they can usually be divided into two main groups: those who hate the Brandens and those who don't.

    In most cases, few people move from the 'everyone else' camp to the orthodoxy. Those that do can only do so by denouncing/denying prior people and positions (including denouncing the Brandens). Its more usual to move from the orthodoxy to the none. You just have to be excommunicated.

    I almost thought that a chart would be good to show the people and groups and their allignment. The only problem is that this chart isn't static. I've noted that just in the last year of certain people being denounced by the orthodoxy.

  9. Robert-

    FWIW am aware of LP & the 'vote democrat' thingie. Have also observed Ms. Hsieh in action on various other forums. While I don't know Ms. Speicher, am aware of the various people who have run afoul of the ARIans (and by extension, Ms. Hsieh).

    Well reasoned criticisms do not equal 'vicious attacks'. I thought the statements of the poster 'oldsalt' on The Forum a bit, well, silly, as this person tries to ascribe the same kinds of actions I see from the so called 'Oist Orthodoxy' to the 'non-Orthodoxy' (ie TAS/TOC, et al).

    Oh, if it helps, here is a like to the "Better things to do" article previous mentioned: http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth--3-Be..._Things_Do.aspx

  10. weird weird weird.

    First off, when I first heard about the CD-ROM, I was thrilled. At the time I did not have copies of the TON, TO, or the ARL, and getting the CD would be an alternate to getting them (and other, later AR-related books I didn't have).

    But then I read the website on it, and found that ALL non-AR & LP stuff was left out. Disappointing, and making it very unappealing to me. (am not a researcher, so searching, etc is not of big importance to me). Thankfully I was able to find a set of the 3 hardback reprints of TON, TO, and ARL on eBay for REAL cheap.

    This whole mess about the CD seems sadly typical of the Oist world. Had had never heard of these other two forums (The Forum and OO). I thought the fighting between OL, SOLOP and ROR was bad enough...

    Since getting back into the Oist world, I've read stuff by and about Diana Hsieh. All I'll say she's a real piece of work...

    I have no idea who this Besty Speicher is or her connection in the Oist world. I thought it strange that one of the threads I read on The Forum claims that TOC viciously attacks LP & ARI (not aware of that). The same thread had someone denouncing 'Oist' forums that 'allow' 'vicious' attacks on Valliant. Riiight.

  11. Random comments about RAH.

    I have long been an SF fan. In high school and early college, I would get into a particular author and if I liked him/her, wound up getting almost everything they wrote and read almost all of it. RAH was one of those authors, tho I got burned out with his later works (several I couldn't get into). TMIAHM was one I liked, tho it wasn't one that turned me into a libertarian (that took LNS, Ringer, Rand, Ditko, and Browne in my college years).

    The movie "Destination Moon" was based on "Rocketship Gallileo", one of his 'juvenile sf' novels. (tho all are well written and can be enjoyed by both adults and kids. they are only 'juvenile' because the protagonist are youths (high school or early college), and there is no sex or bad words). While I have tried to see many SF movies, it was only recently that I saw this on tv. I found it very interesting that the movie showed a totally private enterprise to get to the moon, on the premise that the government could not do so in times of peace. (ie, mount a huge expensive operation).

    FWIW, I could not read Dispossed. I couldn't get by the first couple of pages when one of the main characters made some disparaging remarks about the side arm worn by another character. It sounded too much like the anti-gun attitude that LNS put down in his works.

  12. Michael B, My question was about whether Jefferson used them. From what I have read he used the US Navy and these six frigates which he had opposed before he was elected President.

    It wasn't clear to me what sources you were looking for.

    I have no idea about Jefferson & Letters of Marque. Ron Paul's statement says nothing about Jefferson, nor does the Wikipedia article on Letters of Marque. So not sure how that idea creapt into all this.

  13. Dustan; Give some sources for the statement about Letters of Marque and Reprisal. A book called 6 Frigates says the US Navy was used on the Barbary Pirates. The Navy was successful. I know the Marines were do you think the "shores of Tripoli" are.

    Christopher Hitchens praised Jefferson's sucessful war against Islamic Jahadists.

    Will a press release from Ron Paul himself in 2001 do: http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press2001/pr101101.htm

  14. ~ M. Brown is 'on point' here. The creators got their idea of such a 'Randian' utopia and 'backstoried' the game from that framework, where something went wrong, but, not with any implication of such merely because it was 'Randian'; indeed, it was merely because of the usual idea that ALL presumed utopias become dystopias.

    There is also the 'genetic engineering gone bad' meme, because this is what happens when man gets involved in 'things he was not meant to', which as we always knows leads to megalomanic 'supermen' (ST's Augments, Andromeda's Niechians, etc), out of control viri, plants, animals, etc.

  15. Has anyone else here seen the comic-strip adaptation of The Fountainhead? It ran in thirty installments during December 1945 and January 1946. Rand worked with the then-Hearst-owned King Features Syndicate and illustrator Frank Godwin to produce the illustrated condensation of the novel.

    I didn't even know such a thing existed. I am not familiar with Godwin. I found an entry for him on Lambiek's Comicpedia, with some samples of his work, but nothing about Fountainhead: http://lambiek.net/artists/g/godwin_francis.htm

    Earlier in this thread, we had a brief discussion on an aborted comic book adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. I had always felt that Ditko would be the best one to do it justice. His more 'abstract' works in illustrating Objectivist principles I thought would do well for Galt's speech.

    A good source of info on Ditko is the 'Ditko Looked Up' site: http://www.ditko.comics.org/

    His most 'Objectivist' work was his independent work, much of it collected by Robin Snyder and still available from him. (RScomics @ aol.com) Sadly, the bulk of the Mr. A. material was reprinted by Fantagraphics several years back, and is now out of print. Snyder has yet to re-publish this material, and who knows when/if this will happen. I did another posting about their most recent publication, "the Avenging World".

    I had been thinking several times of doing an article on Ditko's Objectivist work, but keep putting it off, in small part because my collection of this work is not yet complete (and may never be, due to cost of getting certain back issues).

  16. Bill Maher calls himself a libertarian because he wants pot to be legal. There nothing wrong with pot being legal but it is certainly not all of libertarianism. Unlike Penn who knows a little about the subject I suspect Maher has never even read a book he couldn't color.

    Probably true. I don't pay attention to Maher. From his comments with Ron Paul's first appearance, he struck me as a liberal/socalist type. Penn strucks me as someone who does know what libertarianism is.

  17. I seem to recall reading of such a game a year or so ago.

    As I recall, the only 'randian' influence is in the backstory to the game. Its set in an underwater utopia built on the principles of Rand. The scientist there got into genetic engineering (shades of Star Trek's Augements or Andromeda's Nietzhians) and it went horrabily wrong, wiping out the utopia.

    I don't recall the objective of the game or anything about the gameplay being 'randian'.

  18. Hey! I had already created an earlier thread on this topic: http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=787

    Steve Ditko (probably most well know to people as the artist and co-creator of Spiderman) apparently got into Objectivism back in the NBI days (he lived in New York). Objectivist philosophy started to color many of his creations. Mr. A. is the most well know, but it colored other works. His independent works (in recent years published or reprinted by Robin Snyder) is heavily influenced by this. Sometimes the philisophy got in the way of good story telling.

    I sometimes wish that TAS bookstore would carry some of his works.

  19. Dr. Paul's appearance on Bill Maher was wildly applauded by Maher's audience.

    Which is a big change from his first appearance on Bill Maher. The first time (via video) he was basically insulted by Maher, who doesn't seem to understand what 'libertarianism' means. (Maher seemed to be shocked by Paul's anti-government position on many things, with Maher saying basically 'i thought I was a libertarian')

  20. I, too, was reading the recent discussion on SOLOP for Neil's posting.

    It seemed like Phil Coates was the only rational person in the whole discussion.

    I thought it interesting that someone said that prehaps taking a critical look at PARC might be interesting. Uh, as if no one has already done so.

  21. Long before Dorothy dropped in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz. One - born with emerald green skin - is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two unlikely friends end up as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch makes for the most spellbinding new musical in years.

    What about the other 2 witches??? Oz had 4.

    Didn't know that? We only see/hear of 3 of them in the movie. If you read the books, you learn that Oz is a land divided into 4 quadrants: blue Munchkin Country in the east, yellow Winkie Country in the west, purple Gillikin Country in the north, and red Quadling Country in the south. In the center is green area with the Emerald City.

    Each country was ruled by a witch: two evil witches in the east and west, two good witches in the north and south. Glinda was the Good Witch of the South. Overall the land of Oz was ruled by a king or queen. The Wizard deposed the previous king, Pastoria, and hid his daughter, Ozma. Ozma would later becomes the new queen.

    FWIW, neither the Wicked Witch of the West or the Wicked Witch of the East (which Dorothy 'killed' when her house fell on her), nor the Good Witch of the North were ever named in the books. Since the WWW and WWE were both killed off in the first book, and the GWN made few appearances in the others, it was no big deal. Glinda, however, had larger roles in several of the books.

    See, this is what happens when you read books, and not just watch movies that take great liberties with their source materials. :)

  22. I recently saw Spider-Man 3. I had seen the first 2 in the theaters also. I love the work that Steve Ditko (Objectivist co-creator of SM) did when he worked on the character. I really never bothered to follow the character since then, tho I did get the stuff that JMS (B5 creator) did.

    While I liked the movie, there were some problems.

    * too many villians. Venom was added in as a 'fan service', and it might have been better had they left him out. Originally, it was going to focus on Sandman, a villian that is a bit more interesting, being more of a tragic figure.

    * Gwen Stacy was wasted in this movie. For those who read the comic, Gwen was Peter big love after MJ. This was during the phase after Ditko left and John Romita was doing the art. Gwen was tragically killed when SM tried to save her from the Green Goblin. In the movie she served as nothing more then being 'the other woman'. I can only assume they were setting her up for use in a future SM movie (Sony is now speaking of doing another 3).

    * Peter under the influence of the black symbiote exhibits a different personallity. More swave, more confident, more arrogant. However, the segment showing him strutting down the street ran a little too much.

    * Peter takes off his mask way too much. In the comics, superheroes guard their identity very strongly. In the Spiderman movies, he's taking off the mask too much, and has let several people see him unmasked. Most likely to appease the needs of the actor being seen. Compare this to the Phantom movie, which did a better job of adhering to the 'rules' of the Phantom showing his face...

    * Peter gets a bit too emotional at certain times. When I went to see the movie, this seems to turn off a lot of people. Guess they made them feel he was too wimpy.