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About jriggenbach

  • Birthday 01/12/1947

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    Jeff Riggenbach
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    literature, philosophy, history, music, film, bridge

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  1. I know someone else has made this point already on this thread, Wolf -- I haven't read the whole thread at this point, but I distinctly remember seeing such a post, maybe on p. 2 of the thread, by, I think, Ellen Stuttle (who can always be counted upon for thoughtful and informed comments, which is not to say that I agree with her about everything, including Rand's ideas on art) -- and I think she pointed out that to call a fiction writer a "naturalist" is to say of him or her, not just that s/he is a realist, but also that the fictional world s/he creates is one in which humans have no real free will but are the helpless, though unconscious pawns of larger forces over which they have no control. This is not the world of Raymond Chandler's novels. Chandler himself described his vision of Philip Marlowe (for those who haven't read Chandler, should any of them be reading this, Marlowe is the private detective who is the narrator and hero of all seven of Chandler's novels) in the following terms in his famous essay "The Simple Art of Murder": "Down these mean streets [the mean streets of the noir detective novel of which Chandler was the first and perhaps greatest master] a man must go who is not himself mean. who is neither tarnished nor afraid. . . . He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world." In a 1951 letter to a friend, Chandler wrote: "The private detective of fiction is a fantastic creation who acts and speaks like a real man. He can be completely realistic in every sense but one, that one sense being that in life as we know it such a man would not be a private detective." Does this sound like a "naturalist"? Which of Chandler's novels portrays either Marlowe or the other characters he moves among as helpless pawns of larger forces over which they have no control? I'd say a more accurate description of what Chandler was up to is "romantic realism." His fiction is not identical to the fiction Ayn Rand produced under the same rubric, but it is romantic realism all the same. Chandler's stories are far too stylized to be described as "realistic" in the usual sense, and they certainly don't qualify as "naturalist." JR
  2. I just dropped in after a couple of years to see what was going on around here. Same old, same old, I guess. BTW, the idea that Raymond Chandler was a "naturalist" is funnier than anything I've read in some weeks. JR
  3. "If a President of the United States had been portrayed this way in a work of fiction, I'd have thought it was badly written." Badly written? Or unpersuasively imagined? JR
  4. Steve was no more than 55. He told me his birth year the last time we saw each other, almost exactly a year ago in Long Beach, California. I think he said it was 1959, but I have a poor memory for facts of this kind, and I'm uncertain. I met him thirty years ago in Des Moines, when he was just recently out of college (either the University of Chicago or Northwestern - again my wretched memory for details). This is truly terrible news. JR
  5. > New format is too wide for the screen on my computer -- no one wants to scroll left to right all the time. The old format worked after a learning curve. [Phil] Yeah, as long as you didn't try to learn how to use the quote function. JR
  6. It is, of course, somewhat depressing to have to explain what I think was already clear to everyone else, but the entire post was an effort at humor. Perhaps I should take lessons on humor from "Selene." JR
  7. Thermodynamics is interesting and important, but it is surely not funny. Am I missing something? Ba'al Chatzaf Ask "Selene." I was just trying to get into the spirit of his sense of "humor." JR
  8. I realized that as well and had already corrected that part at 02:42 when you wrote this at 03:09. Sorry about letting the # 107 post from 02:41 still stand there (I thought I had deleted it but now see I forgot to do this). You had written: From which one can infer that in your opinion, Objectivism requires considerable mental effort for an intelligent person to understand well. ND replied. "I don't see what's so difficult about it." Now if you think "understanding Objectivism even as well as I do ... would take an intelligent person at least a few years", (JR), then there must be some difficulties contained in the philosophy. What are they? I used to have a policy of ignoring you entirely. It was clear to me from very early on that your stupidity and ignorance made it a waste of my time to communicate with you. I don't remember why I relaxed that policy, but please consider it reinstated. You may address me all you like, of course (I have no control over that), but I won't reply. JR
  9. "Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation. It interrelates macroscopic variables, such as temperature, volume and pressure, which describe physical properties of material bodies and radiation, which in this science are called thermodynamic systems." And it just keeps getting funnier! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamics JR
  10. Just so you'll know, I do not listen to audios and I do not view videos online. It is pointless and useless to refer me to them. In short, you decide to close your eyes to audio-visual evidence even if you have it right in front of your nose. No use trying to open an irrelevant sideshow. It looks like you can't bring yourself to admit that you have been wrong. So again: the issue was not about "superiority of native speakers". I simply pointed out the fact that "Kant" is pronounced in German with a short "a". But I think you will know that by now. For it seems you did not believe it at first. Since you can't understand anything you read, why do you hang out here? JR
  11. Yet it's quite obvious that you've never understood it. JR What's so difficult to understand about Objectivism, JR? It was you who claimed you had difficulties with it, so I'm all ears. So you can't read either. Why am I not surprised? For the record, I never said I had difficulties with Objectivism. JR
  12. If I remember correctly, it was about ten years ago, in San Francisco, that I invited Phil to come over one evening for a meeting of a discussion group that had been founded around ten years before that by the economic historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel. We had one or two other Ph.D.s in the group - the psychologist Michael Edelstein pops to mind - and even the non-Ph.D.s were highly intelligent people. The group met once a month to discuss a book or journal article we'd all read. I had thought Phil might like to join us. But, alas, it didn't work out. I think the problem was, fundamentally, that we (the members of the group) were libertarians, and I'm sure you can imagine the rest for yourselves. Most of us were nihilists, and several of us were into throwing spitwads at anyone who spoke in a dignified and serious manner. We mocked and lampooned such people, calling them "puffed up" and other childish names. Worst of all, we were neither benevolent nor civil. For example, if you can believe this, not a single one of the males among us had ever addressed any of our female members as a "cunt" (pronounced to rhyme with the last name of the eminent 18th Century German philosopher Immanuel Cunt) - not one of us! Needless to say, Phil found this nihilistic, boisterous, disrespectful atmosphere not much to his liking, and he never attended another of our meetings. Nostalgically, JR
  13. I know, Dennis. It is extremely embarrassing for all those of us who have to share this board with you - your strutting around expressing your moral indignation about how few Muslim civilians the U.S. government is murdering, that is. Your doctrine about how the murderer can just announce that someone else - the people who provoked him - is responsible for the murders - well, it's comical in a macabre sort of way, I suppose. But surely this can't be what you describe as "serious ideas"? Best, JR