Ellen Stuttle

Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

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I'll make a little effort at outreach and then go back to work.

Not that long ago, Newberry was on this thread, claiming to know something and flouncing like a star ballerina at a cocktail party. Personally I detest his work, don't see anything remotely Objectivist about it. His light is deliberately contrived and some of his figures are deranged, rather than rational or inspirational. I pity the saps who have a Newberry in their living room.

My wife likes Douglas Adams, Umberto Eco, and Joseph Heller. Plenty of all three on our library shelves. I don't love her any less for it, but just shake my head after a few pages. It's no different than Newberry, deliberately deranged. The appeal is cynical and demented. Not funny or inspiring or something I would inflict on schoolchildren. I feel the same way about Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger, and all the rest of the crap that New York pushed at us as significant modern literature, before they went off the deep end with p.c. Toni Morrison and shithead Bret Easton Ellis.

The goal of my work is realistic rationality. I don't think it's great literature. That's not important.

That pretty much sums you up as a "writer": Literature minus artistry. It's all about the what. The how is "not important."

I can re-read RLS with pleasure and admiration. I know every word that Ray Chandler wrote. And that brings me to the question of Ayn Rand. No other author reached me so deeply and personally. The Fountainhead was not great literature, but every word is convincingly realistic and rational. That's what I aim for when I sit at the keyboard -- a plausible universe where verisimilitude matters. I don't recommend that anyone buy or read my fiction. What matters most is the business of original storytelling that rings true, set far in the future.

Now that I'm older and less sparky, it comes slowly, a few pages each morning.

I think we already knew most of the above. You're not an artist. Aesthetics takes a back seat to message, if it's allowed on your bus at all. You're Ayn Rand's message with Ed Wood's concern for artistry. "Did he hit his mark? Did he say his lines? That's all we need. It's plausible enough. Nothin' else is important. Cut, print, and wrap. Let's get going on the next project."

J

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But I've been very careful to not reveal my greatest fear!

Yeah? You and Pigero reenacting the squeal like a pig scene, with you in the Ned Beatty role, and with a Mario Lanza soundtrack. Backdrops painted by Sylvia Bokor. Behind the Candelabra meets Deliverance. An artistic travesty. Directed by Wolf, who instead of calling out "Action" and "Cut" shouts "Kneel before Zod".

And so far Phil, plus Nicky (among select OO lowlifes) are just milling around muttering Rhubarb Rhubarb. You can't even guess what parts they will have to play. And no matter, you'll be begging Do it to Julia well before the second verse of Be My Love.

I'm not scared.

First of all, Pigero is old and tubby, and he'd need to get into much better shape in order to come anywhere near to being able to Deliverance me. As old and fucked up as he is, he'd also probably need Viagra, but wouldn't be allowed to take it due to his chronic angina.

WolfAlan directing? Then it would never be made.

The rhubarb thing is the only aspect of your plan that could have some effect, but it's not really scary, but just revolting. Make me eat it, I'll gag it up, and that's that. No biggie.

Julia's still safe.

J

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The Fountainhead ... corrupted you with integrity. Fucked you up.

Very nearly cost me my life, twice. There ought to be a law against reading Fountainhead.

Whoah! How exciting! You almost died twice?!!! Please, please, please, pretty please, tell us more!!!

Was it during your time in prison?!!! Oh my God, what a heroically exciting badass!

J

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I'm not scared.

Foolish bravado. At the Ministry of Love we've developed a 7 step program for recalcitrants such as you. It's based on the Kundalini Chakra system. So far you've only heard about Chakra one. And BTW, Pigero gets to wear a strap-on. You get to wear hand and ankle cuffs. But moving on, for Chakra two, it's going to be Nicky as Le Chiffre, and you get to be James Bond.

Chakra three comes from In the Penal Colony by Kafka. Cyborg Phil as the Officer. Yeah, that's right, the Officer. You're the Condemned. We had it set up correctly on the casting sheet, but then he went all schoolmarm on everyone and demanded the change. The knucklehead didn't bother to read the story first, still hasn't, and so this Chakra is going to turn out as a comic interlude. But the seriously bad shit will recommence when we get to Chakra four, count on it.

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Okay, Chakra two doesn't scare me, but Chakra three is at least moving in the right direction.

Peter Cresswell was the first Objectivist Monk whom I saw set himself ablaze. He had decided that AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long was about anger and rage and hurt and pain, and he wouldn't back down. Irfan tried to prevent it by talking reality, but Cresswell was intent on combusting.

That wasn't quite scary, but merely unsettling or disturbing. But then next came Newberry. When he first doused his intellectual reputation in gasoline and lit the match, I was shocked. I literally physically shuddered a little when I first experienced his willingness to destroy himself in service to the hate-fantasy. I felt the same sympathy/pity that I felt for those who were exposed to the neurotoxin in Shyamalan's The Happening.

After witnessing such Objectivish Self-Immolation several times, though, (including repeated self-harming spectacles displayed by not only Newbsie, but Dr. Comrade Sonia, PhD) the shock wore off. First I became numb, then immune, and now I'm to the point of enjoying seeing them out. I'm somewhere between World War Z and Zombieland (bringing it back to Deliverance: "You got a purdy mouth.").

By the time that Bissell began drenching himself in gasoline, I was ready to toast marshmallows, despite the fact that at one point I had had some respect for the man and his ideas. He wasn't just a nobody Nicky, Gregster or a Miovas eating his own roasted foot while burning to death, but still I wasn't fazed.

I think the only possibility now that might make me experience the shock again would be if someone whom I've known in online O-land to be reasonable for years or even decades would suddenly turn O-zombie. Someone like, say, you, Billy Scherk, George Smith, or even Electron Ellen. Very publicly deny obvious realities, suddenly vehemently oppose what you've publicly fought for in the past, write 10,000-word screeds denouncing those who've helped you the most, and just slit your own throats and piss in the open neck wounds in the name of some new, personal, kookie interpretation of Objectivism. That would get me started on the path toward throwing Julia under the bus to make it stop.

J

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You seem to need a drink.

--Brant

George only changes for the better

since you're not fearing me my ego's been deflated

Oh, I'd definitely include you among the reliably reasonable. If you ever turn O-zombie/Self-Immolation Monk on us, it'll affect me deeply.

J

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Okay, Chakra two doesn't scare me, but Chakra three is at least moving in the right direction.

Let me just sketch out the rest of this Orwell pastiche as it stands, or else it might get boring. The idea is that the Ministry of Love is making a reality TV program for the next Hate Week. Real Thought Criminals of Minnesota, or whatever. This consists of "real" reenactments of well known torture scenes. One way or another each O-Land ne'er-do-well makes a hash of his part: Pigero value-swoons at the wrong moment and impales himself on some scenery (thank Lanza's high C), Nicky clocks himself in the head with the carpet beater, Phil is dispatched as above. I haven't thought out what Chakras 4-6 consist of, or who's involved. Chakra 7 (Pure Consciousness) would probably be the Ludovico Technique (it's definitely coming in somewhere), and involve you having to watch the films made (with such exquisite incompetence) up to that point.

With maybe an Atlas Shrugged Part 3 chaser.

I haven't decided if it's in the metaphysical nature of an Orwell pastiche to let you escape in the end. Winston doesn't. Kira neither. But if so, I think with the right Bach soundtrack we can end on a (however subtly ironic) Sublime note, as in THX 1138.

Yet, nevertheless, haters gonna Hate.

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That THX ending reminds me of another movie, The Island...

Scored by Hans Zimmer. Some of the most moving movie music ever written.

Greg

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Here's a snippet I make a bee-line for whenever I pick it up again.

Here's another one. On the theme of showing your ass to the world. In a bad way.

Lenz shares how then in adolescence (his), his mother died because one day she was riding a Greyhound bus from Fall River MA north to Quincy MA to visit her son in a Commonwealth Youth Corrections facility Lenz was doing research for a possible screenplay in, and during the voyage on the bus she had to go potty, and she was in the bus's tiny potty in the rear of the bus going about her private business of going potty, as she later testified, and even though it was the height of winter she had the little window of the potty wide open, for reasons Lenz predicts Green doesn't want to hear about, on the northbound bus, and how this was one of the last years of Unsubsidized ordinational year-dating, and the final fiscal year that actual maintenance-work had ever been done on the infernous six-lane commuter-ravaged Commonwealth Route 24 from Fall River to Boston's South Shore by the pre-O.N.A.N.ite Governor Claprood's Commonwealth Highway Authority, and the Greyhound bus encountered a poorly marked UNDER CONSTRUCTION area where 24 was all stripped down to the dimpled-iron sheeting below and was tooth-rattlingly striated and chuckholed and torn up and just in general basically a mess, and the poorly marked and unflag-manned debris plus the excessive speed of the northbound bus made it jounce godawfully, the bus, and swerve violently to and forth, fighting to maintain control of what there was of the road, and passengers were hurled violently from their seats while, meanwhile, back in the closet-sized rear potty, Mrs. Lenz, right in the process of going potty, was hurled from the toilet by the first swerve and proceeded to do some high-velocity and human-waste-flinging pinballing back and forth against the potty's plastic walls; and when the bus finally regained total control and resumed course Mrs. Lenz had, freakishly enough, ended up her human pinballing with her bare and unspeakably huge backside wedged tight in the open window of the potty, so forcefully ensconced into the recesstacle that she was unable to extricate, and the bus continued on its northward sojourn the rest of the way up 24 with Mrs. Lenz's bare backside protruding from the ensconcing window, prompting car horns and derisive oratory from other vehicles; and Mrs. Lenz's plaintiff shouts for Help were unavailed by the passengers that were arising back up off the floor and rubbing their sore noggins and hearing Mrs. Lenz's mortified screams from behind the potty's locked reinforced plastic door, but were unable to excretate her because the potty's door locked from the interior by sliding across a deadbolt that made the door's outside say occupied/occupado/occupé, and the door was locked, and Mrs. Lenz was wedged beyond the reach of arm-length and couldn't reach the deadbolt no matter how plaintiffly she reached out her mammoth fat-wattled arm; and, like fully 88% of all clinically obese Americans, Mrs. Lenz was diagnosed clinically claustrophobic and took prescription medication for anxiety and ensconcement-phobias, and she ended up successfully filing a Seven-Figure suit against Greyhound Lines and the almost-defunct Commonwealth Highway Authority for psychiatric trauma, public mortification, and second-degree frostbite, and received such a morbidly obese settlement from the Dukakis-appointed 18th-Circus Civil Court that when the check arrived, in an extra-long-size envelope to accommodate all the zeroes, Mrs. L. lost all will to Data Process or cook or clean, or nurture, or finally even move, simply reclining in a custom-designed 1.5-meter-wide recliner watching InterLace Gothic Romances and consuming mammoth volumes of high-lipid pastry brought on gold trays by a pastry chef she'd had put at her individual 24-hour disposal and outfitted with a cellular beeper, until four months after the huge settlement she ruptured and died, her mouth so crammed with peach cobbler the paramedics were hapless to administer C.P.R., which Lenz says he knows, by the way - C.P.R.

Notice anything? That's one sentence.

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One sentence too long.

Ouch, tough crowd. I suppose it takes some getting used to. Like Faulkner meets Wodehouse. And if you watch the movie (The End of the Tour) you'll notice Wallace's dogs were named Jeeves and Drone. He often uses little turns of phrase and even distinctive vocabulary that certainly came from Wodehouse.

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Notice anything? That's one sentence.

Dennis,

The images were quite funny, but doing it in one sentence is bullshit.

The author calls attention to himself, not to the story.

Look at me! I'm a genius! I dominate English! I can write a long-ass sentence and make it grammatically correct!

It's like watching a juggler step on stage in the middle of a comedy, then watching him juggle for a while. You almost forget what the funny part was as you wait for the juggling to end.

But, I suppose, without the juggler, this would not be called "serious fiction."

Michael

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The images were quite funny, but doing it in one sentence is bullshit.

The author calls attention to himself, not to the story.

I pointed it out, it's not like Wallace did. I think if he broke that sentence up the result couldn't have that distinctive rhythm he achieved.

But, I suppose, without the juggler, this would not be called "serious fiction."

Hemingway was taken seriously, and is known for short sentences. It's like music, it doesn't have to be virtuosic to be great, Beethoven's Für Elise comes to mind. But Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit shouldn't get demerits for being so much more difficult. Ultimately, either you like the music or you don't.

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Ultimately, either you like the music or you don't.

Dennis,

I study this stuff and I didn't even hear any music in that particular example.

(I'll write about storytelling and serious literature a bit later. To me, it has more to do with a crossword puzzle mentality or, maybe, Trivial Pursuit than aesthetics, but I need to unpack that to make it anything more than a smartass comment.)

Michael

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One way or another each O-Land ne'er-do-well makes a hash of his part: Pigero value-swoons at the wrong moment and impales himself on some scenery (thank Lanza's high C), Nicky clocks himself in the head with the carpet beater, Phil is dispatched as above.

All of the above could be pretty effective, especially if these bumbling doofusi are declaring their superiority and victory while meeting their horrific ends.

J

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All of the above could be pretty effective, especially if these bumbling doofusi are declaring their superiority and victory while meeting their horrific ends.

If it turns out that they all have that in common, if it's in their character. But they need to each to unique, otherwise it's like everyone's straight out of central casting. Boring.

BTW, would you be able to pull off a little of the Largo al factotum aria? When LP orders you to squeal like a pig, the script calls for you to go Pi-ge-ro...Pigero-Pigero-Pigero-Pigero-Pigero, PIGERO!! This is what triggers the Lanza, you see, and LP's doom. He's got to teach everyone what Opera is supposed to sound like (never mind that the Rossini is a baritone aria and Lanza was a tenor). You don't have to do it well, though the better you can do it, the stupider LP will look.

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I've been doing some spot reading of Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks, and, Jonathan, I fail to see where you think that Newberry led Hicks down the primrose path with Kant hatred.

Is it just the Navigator 2004 essay, "From Modern to Postmodern Art: Why Art Became Ugly," which was added as an addendum to a 20011 Expanded Edition of the book to which you object? The essay doesn't mention Kant, and art (specifically visual art) as such is only discussed in a few pages in the last chapter of the book - unless it's tucked in somewhere else which I haven't noticed yet. Kant's Critique of Judgment isn't listed in either the Index or Bibliography, and the subject of art isn't listed under the Index topic heading "Kant." The book's focus is on epistemological and sociological issues. The presentation looks to me like a valuable analysis which I regret not having explored earlier.

Ellen

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I've been doing some spot reading of Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks, and, Jonathan, I fail to see where you think that Newberry led Hicks down the primrose path with Kant hatred.

Did I ever say that Newbsie's tainting of Hicks's views on Kant and art were revealed/displayed in Hicks's book?

Is it just the Navigator 2004 essay, "From Modern to Postmodern Art: Why Art Became Ugly," which was added as an addendum to a 20011 Expanded Edition of the book to which you object?

No. That essay is laughable and self-refuting, but it is not the source of my observation that Hicks has been intellectually poisoned by trusting Newbsie's hateful misinterpretation of Kant on the Sublime.

The essay doesn't mention Kant...

Indeed it doesn't mention Kant. Did anyone ever say otherwise?

Kant's Critique of Judgment isn't listed in either the Index or Bibliography, and the subject of art isn't listed under the Index topic heading "Kant." The book's focus is on epistemological and sociological issues.

Additional places that you won't find Hicks's Newberry-tainted views on Kant and the Sublime: in Hick's Nietzsche and the Nazis, in his doctoral thesis, under my kitchen sink, in the Walmart camping and hunting sections, in a frame hung on the wall next to La Gioconda in the Louvre, inscribed on Jefferson's face at Mount Rushmore, etc.

J

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When LP orders you to squeal like a pig, the script calls for you to go Pi-ge-ro...Pigero-Pigero-Pigero-Pigero-Pigero, PIGERO!! This is what triggers the Lanza, you see, and LP's doom.

e92a3d8a35aec33438032ad6288cf1c9.jpg

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Ah yes, Bugs Bunny. There has been some disagreement among the writers about working in a reference to another Bugs classic, the Giovanni Jones episode.

Particularly, that moment at the end when Bugs takes out his Banjo (2:30). Sure, it ties in perfectly with Deliverance, but debate erupted because it was felt by some that a ukelele would be a more appropriate match for the Sylvia Bokor painted backdrops. More of a Hawaiian feel, what do you think?

kickheels.jpg

Last night's luau was so awesome! Let's put on some Don Ho!

Decisions, decisions. Writing pastiche is tough, let me tell you.

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kickheels.jpg

Last night's luau was so awesome! Let's put on some Don Ho!

Decisions, decisions. Writing pastiche is tough, let me tell you.

 

The Ho's first name is Don?

 

Does she do bareback for 10Gs, send her over to Charlie...

 

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