Robert Campbell

Ayn Rand's Radio and TV interviews and the Schwartz/Podritske book

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It might be useful to compare the actual words of Ayn Rand's radio or TV interviews, when some of us have access to them, with the edited versions in Peter Schwartz and Marlene Podritske's book, Objectively Speaking.

The newly available video of Rand's first appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson should be a good place to start. Here's a link to Ninth Doctor's posting:

http://www.objectivi...=20#entry166260

I expect we may find discrepancies, as was the case with Rand's question and answer sessions and Robert Mayhew's book Ayn Rand Answers.

However, I am not proposing to make or edit 200 transcriptions, this time around :smile:

Robert Campbell

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Oh boy, I walked right into this one. I pointed out on the other thread that there was a Branden airbrushing at the end, now to go hunting for anything more interesting is bound to be tedious. I just put on the beginning, and here's what I get:

Raw transcript:

AR: Well I uh, don’t disapprove of entertainment. In fact I’ve been watching you many times.

JC: I’m very very happy. Um, we’ll talk about this later on, uh I know it’s very difficult…

Objectively Speaking:

AR: I don’t disapprove of entertainment. In fact, I’ve watched you many

times.

Carson: I know it’s very difficult...

Nothing objectionable yet, it's simply been cleaned up.

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ND,

It's going to take some time to generate a transcript of the whole Tonight Show appearance.

I'll get to it over the next few days.

Robert Campbell

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Alrightee, I listened to it all the way through while following along with the book. The editing is pretty heavy handed at times, and surprise(!), there's some funny business starting on page 196, additions and excisions that push the envelope, I'll try to transcribe that part (maybe tomorrow) and we'll see what people think, whether it goes too far.

They attribute Ed McMahon's question to Carson, and they're awfully heavy handed in their editing of Carson's words too. And they cut everything about the fly, which AR made a clever joke about, and Carson's acknowledgement that he'd canceled the other guest to keep her on (why cut that??).

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About two minutes into the second half, Johnny Carson and Ayn Rand talk about conscription and the Vietnam War. Mr. Carson points out that some people claim conscription is necessary in order to defend the country from an aggressor, and asks how she would reply to that argument. Here is her answer, exactly:

"That this is a contradiction, because what it amounts to is saying since people are trying to take away your freedom give it up yourself. That is the sole meaning of this kind of argument. You do not descend to your enemies' level in order to defend yourself, morally speaking. Practically speaking, of course, it doesn't work."

The reason that part is interesting is that -- though a country's government drafting its citizens is different from it torturing them and/or torturing non-citizens -- her concluding generality is applicable to both those cases. And it's applicable to the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the TSA, etc.

The so-called Ayn Rand Institute is silent about those acts and heartily approves of government torture. I don't have the Schwartz-Podritske book. What's their transcription?

Mark

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"That this is a contradiction, because what it amounts to is saying since people are trying to take away your freedom give it up yourself. That is the sole meaning of this kind of argument. You do not descend to your enemies' level in order to defend yourself, morally speaking. Practically speaking, of course, it doesn't work."

Objectively Speaking (page 195):

That it is a contradiction. What this argument amounts to is that since people are trying to take away your freedom, you should give it up yourself. That is the sole meaning of this kind of reasoning. Morally speaking, you do not descend to your enemy's level in order to defend yourself. Practically speaking, of course, doing so does not work.

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"That this is a contradiction, because what it amounts to is saying since people are trying to take away your freedom give it up yourself. That is the sole meaning of this kind of argument. You do not descend to your enemies' level in order to defend yourself, morally speaking. Practically speaking, of course, it doesn't work."

Objectively Speaking (page 195):

That it is a contradiction. What this argument amounts to is that since people are trying to take away your freedom, you should give it up yourself. That is the sole meaning of this kind of reasoning. Morally speaking, you do not descend to your enemy's level in order to defend yourself. Practically speaking, of course, doing so does not work.

WTF?

--Brant

she said it better

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Indeed.

No substantive change, but except for replacing "this" with "it" in the first sentence, pretty much gratuitous change. The exact quote has a rhythm and flow to it that the edited version lacks.

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Indeed.

No substantive change, but except for replacing "this" with "it" in the first sentence, pretty much gratuitous change. The exact quote has a rhythm and flow to it that the edited version lacks.

No reason, really, for any change.

--Brant

those intellectual philistines don't know WTF they really do

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there's some funny business starting on page 196, additions and excisions that push the envelope, I'll try to transcribe that part (maybe tomorrow) and we'll see what people think, whether it goes too far.

Alrightee, go to 19:45 and read along:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-GZKDdjb4k

Carson: What is your answer to people who say that if we do not stand fast in Vietnam, all of Asia will follow and eventually we’ll be fighting a war in the United States?

AR: Asia is not the place to start opposing Communism. We have given up so much in Europe, which, if you want to defend civilization—I say,
if
—is the place to begin. But strictly speaking, if we wanted to save the world from Communism, it’s not necessary to go to war. All we would have to do is stop helping the Communists economically. Stop building bridges to them, which have supported them for fifty years now. Soviet Russia would collapse of its own evil if the semi-free world did not constantly help it.

I don't know, they definitely put words in her mouth, but on second reading I think the cookie jar kept it's chastity.

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This time it wasn't as bad to me as the other, but it was so unnecessary and, IMHO, simply stupid, that kind of editing. If you want someone whose words seemingly come out of his mouth as edited prose ready for publication in a book, go listen to some old Nathaniel Branden tapes or lectures or Seminar recordings.

--Brant

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If you want someone whose words seemingly come out of his mouth as edited prose ready for publication in a book, go listen to some old Nathaniel Branden tapes or lectures or Seminar recordings.

Touché!

Robert Campbell

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Branden's lectures were written out in advance, as most lectures are.

The Seminar sessions were semi-extemporaneous. At the one I attended, he took written questions, selected which ones to answer and assigned them fairly randomly to people, all before the taping started. This was also the practice at his LA NBI appearances; questions from the floor were rare.

He came off well in TV and radio interviews, though the questions were usually puerile and predicatable.

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