Philip Coates

Serious Students vs. Degenerate Objectivists

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Shayne,

I remember George apologizing to you--with all due emphasis and not one qualification--for making light of you writing and publishing a book during one of your spats.

You guys may clash, but that act, to me, shows good character.

Michael

I agree. George is a clash act. :-)

I am grateful to him, not only for his complimentary comments on my music, but for his generously setting up a/v displays on YouTube of some of the tracks.

We have shared a lot of good music over the years. I'm sure that we have both expanded our music libraries and enriched the composers and musicians and amazon.com et al greatly in the process.

REB

Roger and I have also shared some truly crappy music. I just uploaded one of the worst to YouTube for the listening misery of OLers. I sent Roger (and Chris Sciabarra) this butchered version of "The High and the Mighty" -- by Al Caiola, recorded during the 1960s -- a couple years ago, when I was downloading different versions of this beautiful song, composed by Dimitri Tiomkin. This is when I first learned from Roger about the term "mewing" (or "meowing') violins.

Listen, if you dare....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O-g7M_kUeM

Ghs

My worst fears have come true. Catty remarks are no longer enough for GHS. This thread has gotten so mired in hostility that he had to resort to violins. :-)

REB

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My worst fears have come true. Catty remarks are no longer enough for GHS. This thread has gotten so mired in hostility that he had to resort to violins. :-)

Watch it, Roger, or I will dump a truckload of Renzo Cesana videos on your head. Just a sample....

Had enough? :laugh:

Ghs

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My worst fears have come true. Catty remarks are no longer enough for GHS. This thread has gotten so mired in hostility that he had to resort to violins. :-)

Watch it, Roger, or I will dump a truckload of Renzo Cesana videos on your head. Just a sample....

Had enough? :laugh:

Ghs

Keep that fresh air comin', George!

REB

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There is a spirit I would like to become predominant on OL one day.

How can I become wiser?

The real problem with threads like this current piece of crap is that the spirit started in the opening post with: How can I convince you people you are wrong?

This accusatory spirit is good at getting people riled up, but it sucks at making anyone wiser.

Something to think about.

There's a Part 2 to this, too. Resentment is one of the primary human drives (it stems from the critter brain level), but it is not one of the productive drives. It's destructive and almost entirely confined to social concerns.

The best way to prompt resentment in others is to start accusing them out of the blue. It doesn't really matter what you accuse them of. Just showing up, pointing a finger and mouthing off is enough to get many people to feel resentment. [...]

[Original title: " 'Little Miss Sunshine' is for losers and worse"]

Yeah, I am going to spoil this piece of crap while I rant about it. You don't have to read it and I don't care whom I tick off.

I saw "Little Miss Sunshine" the other day and I was not impressed to say the least. If I had to sum up the theme of this yucky comedy, it would be: It's OK to be a total loser so long as you find ultimate happiness and fulfillment in the bosom of your family.

[...] I cannot sit back and watch as ALL of my Objectivist values get trashed in order to raise up the glories of living in a family tribe of losers. The whole "dysfunctional family" part of this mess was only a smokescreen to show how really important family is and how little success matters in life—and that means success at anything else at all outside of the family. Every last goddam member of this idiot family, all of them, accept failure in attaining their most precious values as OK as they embrace the joys of familyhood.

[...] Some of the gags are funny, but I have to admit that the beauty pageant, with all those hot young little seven-year-old girls dressed up as sexy adult models, was a pedophile's dream. If you want to catch the neighborhood pedophile, see what man saw this movie by himself more than once, or made multiple rentals of the DVD. The final striptease must really tickle his itch. [...]

[...] The next time you see someone sharing something cool, or delving into the pros and cons of an important idea, and telling you that you should make up your own mind about it, ask yourself, what is this person after?

And the next time you see someone pointing an accusatory finger and trying to cause others to feel resentment over nothing, ask yourself, what is this person after?

I know the first inspires me to become wiser. The second makes me want to respond harshly. It turns off my search for wisdom and happiness, so it really wastes my time.

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So what, Steve?

You don't like my movie opinions?

They haven't changed.

If it makes you feel any better, I do feel bad for you that you feel threatened by my dislike of "Little Miss Sunshine."

(I can't believe I am saying this on a philosophy forum. :smile: )

EDIT: btw - Did you just point an accusatory finger at me? :)

Michael

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This last thing got me to thinking about black and white epistemology.

One of the most tiring things I find on TV news is the constant "Gotcha" mentality. If a person says he likes bubblegum, some idiot will dig up a quote from him from an entirely different context--something like this: he once said he didn't think it was a good idea to chew bubble gum and give a speech at the same time

Then our busy-beaver investigative reporter and deep thinking intellectual will say this proves he is a hypocrite. Either you like bubblegum or you don't.

I see this kind of epistemology in our subcommunity a lot.

I often wonder about how unhappy these folks must be.

For the record, I happen to like bubblegum AND I don't think it is a good idea to chew it while you are onstage giving a speech.

Talk about moral relativism!

Michael

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My worst fears have come true. Catty remarks are no longer enough for GHS. This thread has gotten so mired in hostility that he had to resort to violins. :-)

It could get worse. Instead of mewing we could move on to the sounds of a proper cat fight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YIvnmFCvL0

Here’s Phil doing his victory dance after yet again proving everyone else unworthy. The tabby on the right is any given member of the OL snark pack.

It seems this has become the rehash old disputes thread. FWIW, I don’t understand the meaning of this juxtaposition, I gather you’re accusing MSK of hypocrisy for bashing a movie you liked a few years ago. I don't get the connection.

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Where is your art for sale? When you posted the samples on OL, I noticed a number of people asked about this, and you indicated you would make an announcement in the future, but I haven't seen one so far. Did I miss it? Are there digital downloads available? For how much? Or are they available only as "hard copies"? And how much are those? Please point me in the right direction. I'd at least like to see what you're asking for the ones I might consider buying.

I'm not interested in selling to you, Roger, or providing you with a list of prices. You're not my market. The point wasn't to solicit your patronage, but to ask about your apparent resentment that OLers haven't bought as many of your CDs as you had expected. The way that your statement was phrased, it appeared that you believed that you had the right to judge us as "degenerates" for not buying your music.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite personal anecdotes (though I'm sure I've shared it before on OL) -- several years ago, I wrote Leonard Peikoff and offered to send him a free copy of my first CD, the one of jazz and ballads by me on trombone and my piano partner, Ben DiTosti. His secretary wrote back and said that Dr. Peikoff doesn't like trombone and piano jazz, only piano jazz. I thought this was very odd, and I have since wondered that since Peikoff loves "Cyrano de Bergerac" so much, perhaps he was also a big fan of "Pinocchio." :-)

I agree that the Peikoff incident is odd. But I also think it's a little odd that you would want Peikoff, of all people, to have a free CD of your work. What gives? Are the two of you close? Or were you thinking that there might be a chance that, if he liked it, he would be willing to say so publicly, or allow you to use a blurb quoting him in your promotional efforts? If so, who really gives a rat's ass what Peikoff thinks about any work of art? Are the people who do give a rat's ass, and who would be swayed by his endorsement, the type of people you want as a market? Is your target audience Orthodox Objectivists who are willing to take Peikoff's advice on music, or is your target audience fans of good jazz?

But in the case of Phil, I'd definitely say that since people are vigorously ~encouraging~ him to "write that book" -- if he did so and made it available, and then all he heard was the sound of chirping crickets, I'd say that there was a good bit of insincerity and, yes, degeneracy behind the exhortations to "go for it" or to "put up or shut up." And that he would then be justified in being irritated and thinking there was something really morally corrupt going on. But that he should withhold such an extreme judgment as "degenerate Objectivists" at least until then. And that if people actually opened up and bought his product, he should dump the judgment entirely and find something else to be concerned about. Like writing his next book!

If Phil were to write a book, I'd definitely buy a copy, but I don't think that it follows that people are "degenerate" or insincere if they encourage him to write a book and then don't buy a copy. I don't think that the purpose of most people here, in agreeing that it would be a good thing for Phil to write a book (or to do anything else productive), is to sign on to buy whatever he produces, but simply to encourage him to do something creative and productive instead of wasting his time with all of the schoolmarm nagging and the transparent puffing himself up.

Personally, I think that the ideal project for Phil would be to hunt down the best criticisms of Objectivism that he's encountered, and answer them. Then invite the critics to respond, and respond in return to their responses. It might be interesting if Phil would start with the strongest and most intelligent criticism from online critics who are generally friendly to Objectivism, such as you, Ghs, JR, Stuttle, Sciabarra, etc., and then move on to those who are not as friendly but who are nevertheless very knowledgeable of Objectivism, such as Dragonfly, Parille, Prescott, Barnes and Nyquist, etc. And then, for fun, maybe move on to those who don't seem to have a clue, but have gotten some public attention with their misrepresentations of Objectivism, such as, say, Mark Ames.

As things stand, Phil appears to believe that his bluffing is going to accomplish something. He seems to believe that he should be highly respected, and that his advice should be heeded, despite not having produced or accomplished anything, and despite not having made any arguments. He seems to believe that he should just be able to assert that he's heard and refuted all of the arguments at some point in the distant past, that he can therefore claim victory, and that people are going to find this convincing rather than laughable.

J

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PS -- One of the main reasons that I'd like to see Phil try to write a book is that I think that the advice that he's always giving on what is the proper way of doing things is actually a killer of creativity and productivity. I'd like to see him try to approach a creative project with all of the rules that he believes in, and by following all of the advice that he presumes to give. I think that he'd quickly abandon either the rules or the project. In fact, I think that's why he's not a creative or productive person -- I think that his rules lead to the abortion of projects before they're started.

J

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Personally, I think that the ideal project for Phil would be to hunt down the best criticisms of Objectivism that he's encountered, and answer them. Then invite the critics to respond, and respond in return to their responses. It might be interesting if Phil would start with the strongest and most intelligent criticism from online critics who are generally friendly to Objectivism, such as you, Ghs, JR, Stuttle, Sciabarra, etc., and then move on to those who are not as friendly but who are nevertheless very knowledgeable of Objectivism, such as Dragonfly, Parille, Prescott, Barnes and Nyquist, etc. And then, for fun, maybe move on to those who don't seem to have a clue, but have gotten some public attention with their misrepresentations of Objectivism, such as, say, Mark Ames.

Excellent suggestion.

Shayne

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Personally, I think that the ideal project for Phil would be to hunt down the best criticisms of Objectivism that he's encountered, and answer them. Then invite the critics to respond, and respond in return to their responses. It might be interesting if Phil would start with the strongest and most intelligent criticism from online critics who are generally friendly to Objectivism, such as you, Ghs, JR, Stuttle, Sciabarra, etc., and then move on to those who are not as friendly but who are nevertheless very knowledgeable of Objectivism, such as Dragonfly, Parille, Prescott, Barnes and Nyquist, etc. And then, for fun, maybe move on to those who don't seem to have a clue, but have gotten some public attention with their misrepresentations of Objectivism, such as, say, Mark Ames.

Excellent suggestion.

Shayne

Thanks. Shayne, from what I've read of your posts, I think you'd fall somewhere between the group of critics who are friendly to Objectivism and the group of critics who are not. Would you say that's accurate?

J

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Thanks. Shayne, from what I've read of your posts, I think you'd fall somewhere between the group of critics who are friendly to Objectivism and the group of critics who are not. Would you say that's accurate?

J

I'm friendly to Objectivism where Objectivism is friendly to reason, and unfriendly where it is not. Of course, that doesn't tell you a whole lot. Perhaps the way I'd sum up Rand is that her heart was in the right place, but she wasn't very good when it came to philosophical details. As she herself wrote something along the lines of, she was not a theorist who liked to justify and explain her fundamental ideas, she preferred "middle-range" work where she could apply what she already decided was correct. This is a religious posture, not the posture of a philosopher, and it showed.

Shayne

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It could get worse. Instead of mewing we could move on to the sounds of a proper cat fight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YIvnmFCvL0

That's weird. I don't see that music as being anywhere near to the aural equivalent of Pollock. To me, it doesn't fit at all. I think the closest thing to a musical version of Pollock that I've heard would be some of Phamie Gow's harp work, like her Gitano.

J

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Thanks. Shayne, from what I've read of your posts, I think you'd fall somewhere between the group of critics who are friendly to Objectivism and the group of critics who are not. Would you say that's accurate?

J

I'm friendly to Objectivism where Objectivism is friendly to reason, and unfriendly where it is not. Of course, that doesn't tell you a whole lot. Perhaps the way I'd sum up Rand is that her heart was in the right place, but she wasn't very good when it came to philosophical details. As she herself wrote something along the lines of, she was not a theorist who liked to justify and explain her fundamental ideas, she preferred "middle-range" work where she could apply what she already decided was correct. This is a religious posture, not the posture of a philosopher, and it showed.

Shayne

Well, then it sounds as if I have a pretty accurate idea of where you stand.

J

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Perhaps the way I'd sum up Rand is that her heart was in the right place, but she wasn't very good when it came to philosophical details.

Shayne

Shayne:

I understand your point and despite her rational approach to ideas, she had a strong pathos argumentation underlying her work. It reminds me of the 1964 Goldwater campaign slogan...

"In your heart, you know he's right" was successfully parodied by the Johnson campaign into "In your guts, you know he's nuts", or "In your heart, you know he might" (as in push the nuclear button), or even "In your heart, he's too far right" (some cynics wore buttons saying "Even
Johnson
is better than Goldwater!").

In our "Randian" organization at the time, we thought that the fun spin on the slogan should have been, since we were Goldwater fanatics, was "but in your mind you know he's wrong," but that would have meant that the Johnson forces would have to recognize that the human mind existed and that should be how you should determine how to vote.

Adam

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That's weird. I don't see that music as being anywhere near to the aural equivalent of Pollock. To me, it doesn't fit at all.

I just typed Penderecki Threnody into YouTube, and this was one of the choices. I didn't actually watch it, just the first 5 seconds to be sure it was the right piece. I've seen quite a few Pollocks in person, and well, let's just say his stuff has never connected with me.

Phamie Gow, who's that? Alright, here's something.

Nope, that doesn't work for me. Pollock, jeez, well how about this instead?

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I don't know why I am posting this video here, except that I like it and because this thread has gotten sufficiently weird that I might get away with it....

Ghs

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I don't know why I am posting this video here, except that I like it and because this thread has gotten sufficiently weird that I might get away with it....

Yeah, well Phil has wrecked enough threads that I've started, I figure I can drift his with impunity. Here's a video he might actually get something valuable out of. The subject is: How to talk about books you haven't read.

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That's weird. I don't see that music as being anywhere near to the aural equivalent of Pollock. To me, it doesn't fit at all.

I just typed Penderecki Threnody into YouTube, and this was one of the choices. I didn't actually watch it, just the first 5 seconds to be sure it was the right piece. I've seen quite a few Pollocks in person, and well, let's just say his stuff has never connected with me.

Phamie Gow, who's that? Alright, here's something.

Nope, that doesn't work for me.

Pollock has never really "connected" with me, either. Nor has Gow. I heard her work once while flipping through radio stations, and I made a point of remembering her name because her music reminded me of the same vibe that I get from Pollock.

As for Penderecki's Threnody, I think a visual equivalent would be H. R. Giger or Hieronymus Bosch.

Pollock, jeez, well how about this instead?

No, to me, that's like some of Dali's work, or Hannah Höch's.

J

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As for Penderecki's Threnody, I think a visual equivalent would be H. R. Giger or Hieronymus Bosch.

I'd pick Munch's The Scream.

No, to me, that's like some of Dali's work, or Hannah Höch's.

Alright, well how about this?

Nah, still too "representational".

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> Yeah, well Phil has wrecked enough threads that I've started [ND]

Can you give a couple examples?

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> Yeah, well Phil has wrecked enough threads that I've started [ND]

Can you give a couple examples?

It takes two to tango. The reaction to Phil has always overwhelmed anything Phil has himself done.

Shayne

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I have to admit, this degeneracy ain't as bad as I thought it might be. Good food, fine wine, great company--and the girls are outstanding!

--Brant

more grapes, please

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> Yeah, well Phil has wrecked enough threads that I've started [ND]

Can you give a couple examples?

Did you bother fulfilling Xray’s very reasonable request here:

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11316&view=findpost&p=145209

No? Then why should I (or anyone else) put in any effort on your behalf? So, I’ll just “smuggle in” one oblique little reference to Peikoff’s beach footwear. I hear he wears flip-flops.

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