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Neil Parille

New Interview of Rand biographer Shoshana Milgram

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14 hours ago, Neil Parille said:

I think she read some Kant, but there isn't any evidence she did.   I don't think Milgram quotes Rand as saying she read Kant.

But if you have only passing knowledge of someone it seems a little irresponsible to call him the most evil man in history.

In the fall of 1970 Ayn gave a talk to a fairly crowded auditorium at a NYC community college and during the following Q and A session was flat out asked if she had ever read a book by Kant. She went blah blah blah but did not answer the question though with something--if I remember correctly--of a rebuke.

It was typical of her not liking the question to attack the questioner. Hard to blame her; everybody seemed to attack her in those days, usually with a snear or a smear, if they didn't use their favorite tactic of decades of ignoring her. Then they started more and more not to ignore her but to just let her have it. That was the second stage. The third stage is today. Today the left is so non or anti-intellectual she's completely beyond their comprehension, even as an enemy.

--Brant

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10 hours ago, Max said:

I've read the interview with Milgram, and my conclusion is that her Rand biography will be another hagiography.

Max,

I haven't read the interview yet, but I'm expecting a high quality book from Shoshana. I've listened to some of her lectures and she tends to know her stuff down cold. Not just Randian material, but literature of a wide range of authors.

I do agree her hero worship of Rand was front and center in what I heard (one lecture course I recall was about mystery and thriller novels, as for the others, it's been a while--I need to bone up on them--you can get them at the ARI estore and there are quite a few).

I don't recall her high opinion of Rand ever bothering me in the lectures I listened to. What that means is that I did not notice her replacing facts with opinion or rewriting any history--and my antenna tends to be constantly attuned to that angle with ARI people. There may have been some monkey business, but nothing jumped out at me in the lectures I went through. As I said, it's been a while and I haven't been through all her stuff yet, so there's that.

All in all, based on what I know of her work, I think her bio of Rand will be much more credible than a hagiography. I do expect some gushing--after all, how can there not be? But if she write a really good book, she will have earned it. :) So I'm looking forward to her bio.

Let's wait and see.

Meanwhile, I'll read the interview. If I change my opinion, I'll come back here and talk about it.

Michael

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6 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

In the fall of 1970 Ayn gave a talk to a fairly crowded auditorium at a NYC community college and during the following Q and A session was flat out asked if she had ever read a book by Kant. She went blah blah blah but did not answer the question though with something--if I remember correctly--of a rebuke.

Well, Milgram didn't mention this...(she probably would have found Rand's anger justified).

In the past I was dumb enough to buy those ARI books about Rand, her journals, marginalia, whatever, thinking that those would give me interesting information about her. It turned out that these were not just edited, but altered to hide less desirable statements by Rand. They may not have been literally biographies, but the hagiography was there. Oh yes, I also bought then that slimy sense of life DVD. So I'm skeptical about anything that comes from ARI.

 

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The edited work is next to worthless. If worthless is a zero it's negative numbers.

Rand did something similar with her first novel. That was okay except she lied about it's significance. The worst thing she did that way was to neuter the definition of selfishness in the VOS.

I don't care care too much now about this stuff. I now look at Rand primarily as a cultural force with her ideas as a big historical spike into the liberal intelligentsia circa the 25 years following the publication of AS. That intelligentsia is dead thanks to her and the bloody hands of tyranny. What's left is savage goofballs running around on moral inertia consisting only of an overwhelming sense of righteousness. Or, chickens with their heads cut off.

--Brant

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3 hours ago, Max said:

In the past I was dumb enough to buy those ARI books about Rand, her journals, marginalia, whatever, thinking that those would give me interesting information about her. It turned out that these were not just edited, but altered to hide less desirable statements by Rand.

For this upcoming biography, the worst case is that Milgram has uncovered bombshells (and firecrackers) that she's going to omit in order to avoid making Rand look bad.  When she includes something negative but gives a slanted presentation we should be able to see through it easily enough.  My point being that we're not going to know what was omitted.  It'll probably be decades before another biography is written by someone with full access to the archives.  That author will be in a position to disclose what Milgram leaves out.  Meanwhile, Milgram is not one of the people accused of past tampering, so it's a bit premature (and also unfair) to dismiss her by association with earlier ARI-sanctioned productions. 

I'm hoping for a really good book. 

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Milgram will have access to documents that neither Branden, Burns or Heller had.  It's hard not to conclude that it won't be good, although it will have to be used with caution.

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13 hours ago, Neil Parille said:

It's hard not to conclude that it won't be good, although it will have to be used with caution.

Did you mean to say "it's hard to conclude it won't be good", or "it's hard not to conclude it will be good"?  The way it stands is odd; if you expect the book to be a stinker, then instead of "although" you'd probably use "and". 

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6 minutes ago, 9thdoctor said:

Did you mean to say "it's hard to conclude it won't be good", or "it's hard not to conclude it will be good"?  The way it stands is odd; if you expect the book to be a stinker, then instead of "although" you'd probably use "and". 

Always tricky, those double negations...

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On 1/7/2019 at 9:33 AM, Jonathan said:

That's a good description of your analyses of Kant. Uninspired and uninspiring. Childish. Cultish.

You should stick with painting instead of trying to pretend to be an intellectual.

J

We'll see how it all pans out.

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On 1/7/2019 at 8:18 AM, 9thdoctor said:

It’s not incumbent on me to enunciate a hypothesis about the roots of postmodern art in order to critique your claims about Kant.  Any more than a climate change “denier” has to come up with a theory that predicts next years sea ice levels before saying that Al Gore is full of shit and that his past predictions have been falsified.  Or an atheist has to explain the origin of the universe to dismiss the claim that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created it via his noodly appendage.  Not that I have no thoughts on the matter, but for our purposes here it suffices to say “I don’t know and neither do you”. 

Triggered?  It appears that my most recent comment on your work is about 8 months old, and the one before that is 3 years old.  Sounds like you needn’t worry, the evidence doesn’t show you’ve been triggering me.  Your name only came up here because I was pointing Jonathan to the part of the interview about Kant.  We have a long running (mild) disagreement about whether Rand had an idea that she simply never wrote about, or was talking through her hat when she referenced COJ.  I grant the former a higher probability than he does.  The material in this latest interview doesn't strengthen my case.   

I think your writings on Kant’s esthetics are an embarrassment to Objectivism, but we’ve been living with Peter Schwartz’s Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty far longer.  That’s been far more consequential, IMO. 

Regardless it is good question: what are aesthetic concepts that support postmodern art?

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On 1/7/2019 at 6:56 AM, Jonathan said:

I've seen it in action. The people and organizations which publish or repost your goofball opinions do so uncritically. They have no knowledge of Kant's views on aesthetics, nor of art history, and they don't care to know. They're not interested. They trust you because they recognize you as a fellow zealot who is dedicated to Rand above all else, most especially above reality.

 

You're already dodging the issue. The discussion at hand is Rand's unfounded accusation that Kant was the father of modern art, and your false opinion that Rand was not only correct, but that Kant was also the father of postmodernism, specifically his comments on the Sublime, which you have failed to understand due to reading them through Objecti-goggles™. You prefer to dodge and evade all of that and to turn the discussion to one on the subject of where we think postmodernism comes from.

You're dodging because you don't have the intellectual honesty or scrupulousness for such discussions. Your position on Kant's ideas on the Sublime is stupid. We've been through this many times. It always ends with you flouncing after we've presented you with overwhelming evidence of the falsehood of your position. You deny reality, dig your heels in deeper, and repeat your lies.

J

"Failed, dishonest, stupid, liar, blind..." I thought you were smarter than that. Why do you think Duchamp was widely regarded as the most influential artist of the 20th century?

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On 1/7/2019 at 4:33 AM, 9thdoctor said:

That was sarcasm.

If you're familiar with her Marginalia you know this is par for the course.  Though usually there's more content.  E.g. here, from C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man:

So in the pre-science age, there was no power of majorities over minorities – and the Middle Ages were a period of love and equality, and the oppression began only in the U.S.A. (!!!) The abysmal bastard!

I don't think you could call our previous interactions a debate.  Here are the first things I was able to find using the search tool:

 

9th doc, I was wondering who you are? do you have a website or a bio?

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4 hours ago, Newberry said:

9th doc, I was wondering who you are? do you have a website or a bio?

I'm just a guy on the internet.  On sites within Rand-land, I use this handle.  Elsewhere, no.  I have my reasons. 

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6 minutes ago, Newberry said:

Prison? ; )

Hi Michael.

:)

I don't think he's avoiding prison.

If I were to guess, it's all those exes...

Like the song says:

"All my exes live in Texas,
That's why I hang my hat in Tennessee..."

:)

Michael

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I've been continually posting on the internet and pre-internet using my real name for 30 years. You can read the old stuff (1989) by googling --Brant Gaede fort freedom --or maybe just fort freedom.

--Brant

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7 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Hi Michael.

:)

I don't think he's avoiding prison.

If I were to guess, it's all those exes...

Like the song says:

"All my exes live in Texas,
That's why I hang my hat in Tennessee..."

:)

Michael

Whatever the reason might be it changes the tenor of posts. Except Annonymous has some amazing quotes. 

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2 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

I've been continually posting on the internet and pre-internet using my real name for 30 years. You can read the old stuff (1989) by googling --Brant Gaede fort freedom --or maybe just fort freedom.

--Brant

Can you present one of your best?

 

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18 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

I've been continually posting on the internet and pre-internet using my real name for 30 years. You can read the old stuff (1989) by googling --Brant Gaede fort freedom --or maybe just fort freedom.

--Brant

fort freedom - a euphimism for the exercise yard?

hmmmmm'....

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15 minutes ago, Newberry said:

Can you present one of your best?

 

Not really. I've not read most of what I posted back then for decades.

Go to Ft Freedom and click on Enter the Fort then click on the first line Correspondence and about 1/3 down is an item I wrote in 1988 "What Makes A Freeman Free?" 

This was Petr Beckmann's dial up site. It would upload and download as fast as 100 to 200 words per minute.  Cutting edge. My Kaypro computer had a built in 300 baud modem. I purchased it and a printer for about $3000 in 1984. I still have the computer as good as new. I threw away the printer. When Petr started Fort Freedom I contributed correspondence to support it. I also upgraded to a 1200 baud external modem.

I once contributed to The John Galt Line which no longer exists.

--Brant 

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20 minutes ago, caroljane said:

fort freedom - a euphimism for the exercise yard?

hmmmmm'....

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose . . .

--Janis

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6 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose . . .

--Janis

worth nothin, but free. zero-sum and a perfect equation.

Janis's  raucous joy and dreadful despair gave us unearned dividends.

There is a moral in there somewhere, maybe, but Texas being involved, maybe not.

 

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6 hours ago, Newberry said:

Whatever the reason might be it changes the tenor of posts. Except Annonymous has some amazing quotes. 

Michael,

What I wrote was a quip.

There was no profundity or meta thinking or subtext or hidden meaning. Or even truth.

Just a quip...

:) 

Why?

I like laughing. Like Roger Rabbit, quips make me laugh.

:) 

Michael

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13 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Michael,

What I wrote was a quip.

There was no profundity or meta thinking or subtext or hidden meaning. Or even truth.

Just a quip...

:) 

Why?

I like laughing. Like Roger Rabbit, quips make me laugh.

:) 

Michael

Yes. I was thinking about how anonymous posters are like “reliable sources” in fake news stories. There is no there there. 

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Michael,

What I wrote was a quip.

There was no profundity or meta thinking or subtext or hidden meaning. Or even truth.

Just a quip...

:) 

Why?

I like laughing. Like Roger Rabbit, quips make me laugh.

:) 

Michael

Deep down, like me, you're shallow.

--Brant

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