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Michael Stuart Kelly

Weird News about Ayn Rand and Objectivism

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Weird News about Ayn Rand and Objectivism

I was going to open a new section on OL for this idea, but this thread in this section serves perfectly.

I don't know if you have noticed, but I have seen lots of new stories in the mainstream fake news media about Rand popping up. Like most news stories on Rand, there are plenty of howlers of disinformation and inaccuracies.

But I wondered if we could look at them and extract a point or two of legitimate criticism. Or point to a mainstream narrative. Or just laugh at some stupidity or other in them.

I wasn't interested in doing a point-by-point rebuttal or anything in depth. Just by being included in this thread (at least when I do the including), you should automatically assume that, by default, Rand and her ideas will not be correctly addressed. Self-satisfied propagandists don't do that. Ever.

So assume they are wrong as your starting position. There. That saves a lot of time. But, if making short pithy observations on these articles is the standard procedure, highlighting this or that in these weird news articles might be fun.

Once I realized these things are actually read in the culture and believed as accurate, I thought this approach was a great idea. I don't want to be a fly swatter as Nietzsche said. But do you remember an infomercial about a salt gun for killing flies? Zap! And there goes a fly. That's what this thread is.

So here goes. I will start with three. Please feel free to add your own if you like this idea.

 

When Nora Ephron Eviscerated Ayn Rand In The New York Times
by Talya Zax, March 27, 2018, Forward

Zax dug up an article Nora Ephron wrote in The New York Times Book Review, May 5, 1968. Zax apparently thought Harry meeting Sally meeting Howard Roark was a funny idea, so she did an article of her own about it. Here are a few excerpts that speak for themselves (both for Zax and Ephron).
 

Quote

Ephron’s biography, printed in a small, tasteful box at the bottom of the profile’s first page, clarifies that she is a freelance writer, then reads “She has promised herself never to read ‘The Fountainhead’ again.” 

. . .

... a good pan is what Ephron delivered, in style, beginning with a paragraph-long analysis of the famous naked-on-a-cliff laugh delivered by the individualist architect Howard Roark in the first line of “The Fountainhead.”

“It was probably a soundless laugh; most of Ayn Rand’s heroes laugh soundlessly, particularly while making love,” Ephron wrote. “It was probably a laugh with head thrown back; most of Ayn Rand’s heroes do things with their heads thrown back, particularly while dealing with the rest of mankind. It was probably a laugh that had a strange kind of simplicity; most of Ayn Rand’s heroes act with a strange kind of simplicity, particularly when what they are doing is of a complex nature.”

(While copying that sentence I threw my own head back, to see what it might feel like to be a Randian hero. For those similarly curious, feeling like a Randian hero consists mostly of having difficulty reading one’s computer screen. Howard Roark, like many of us, might have struggled in the digital age.)

. . .

 “I deliberately skipped over all the passages about egoism and altruism,” she wrote. “And I spent the next year hoping I would meet a gaunt, orange-haired architect who would rape me.” The comment sounds like a joke, and to some extent it is... Yet it’s also a jab at Rand, for making rape seem like a precipitant of romance. Ephron was likely not the only young woman to read “The Fountainhead” and get the two confused. It’s worth pondering, as well, the effect on young men.

All right, all right, that's enough of that. We can't have young men going around reading the book, then thinking rape is a form of courtship for Incels, can we? :) 

(Doesn't the Social Justice Warrior perspective get tiring? They can manage to start an interesting point, but then they get outright dopey about it. This makes me want to give some of them a hug and say, "There, there. It's going to be all right." :) )

 

On to the next paragon of sophisticated wisdom.

Right-wingers finally got their Ayn Rand hero as president — and it's this guy
by Amanda Marcotte, October 11, 2019, Salon

Marcotte, of course, means President Trump. The article isn't worth reading unless you like typical braindead elitist snark. Here's an example:

Quote

The question that haunts that novel [Atlas Shrugged] is, "Who is John Galt?" Now we finally have the answer: Donald Trump.

It turns out a philosophy of radical selfishness is not sexy or heroic, but comes in the form of a half-literate narcissist, cheered on by a bunch of sweatpants-clad fascists as he commits crimes in service of conspiracy theories he hopes will trick the ignorant masses into electing him again.

But the end is interesting:

Quote

Despite the high-minded rhetoric, the lived reality of selfishness as a philosophy is less like the fictional figures of Howard Roark and John Galt, and more like the incoherent, small-minded sociopathy of Donald Trump. The great man of the Objectivist imagination has always been a silly fantasy. But it's particularly rich and satisfying that now that the Ayn Rand fanboys finally have a leader who lives out their supposed ideals, the result is the comic, pathetic and catastrophic figure now disgracing the White House.

Idiot snoots like Marcotte would never look at President Trump's vast number of major achievements and call them achievements. Then again, she would not call Atlas Shrugged or anything done by Rand an achievement, either. But isn't it something that she can see the Trump-Rand connection whereas the Guardians of Official Objectivism over at ARI can't or won't see it?

She knows her intellectual enemy. And it ain't the ARI gurus. All that snark in the article shows she is scared to death of Rand and Trump. The ARI folks should check that premise and see what is right in front of their noses that they are missing.

 

For the final round, we have: 

The Last of the Ayn Rand Acolytes
This year's Objectivist Conference revealed that her cult of hyper-capitalism has a major recruiting problem: All the young people want to be socialists!
By Alexander Sammon, August 14, 2019, The New Republic

Who is the last person on earth who could give an objective report on an Objectivist conference? How about a leftie elitist from The New Republic? And that's exactly what we get with Sammon. The event was the ARI conference in June in Cleveland, Ohio.

I am a huge supporter of Nathaniel Branden, but the biggest howler in this article gave him a bit more credit than it should have. Sammon is discussing Atlas Shrugged:

Quote

... Branden’s propaganda campaign helped turn Rand’s novel, against all odds, into a word-of-mouth best seller.

Nathaniel is the reason people bought Atlas Shrugged and read it? Really?

Dayaamm!

Where do people like this Sammon dude come from?

Don't they know anything at all about the people they report on?

Double dayaamm!

What's the best way to drive an ARI fundie up the wall bellowing in rage? (Not all people at ARI, merely the fundies.) I can't think of anything more effective than attributing NB with the credit for Atlas Shrugged's success and meaning it. 

:) 

What's worse, this socialist idiot, Sammon, from his lofty perch at the top of his nose, would have loved this effect on the true believers at ARI if he had been aware of it. But from his writing, he was obviously oblivious. What a dope.

(How I love it when the sanctimonious are idiots. :) )

You can read the the article if you want to torture yourself. It's really awful due to the high number of basic errors.

But I have to mention one other thing this hard-hitting no-holds-barred reporter did to expose the evils of the Objectivist world. Sammon wanted to report on a lecture, but he had a time conflict between three different ones. He had to make a choice on which lecture to report on as typical of the Randian world.

Did he go to “Logic: The Cashing-In Course”? Nope. How about “Duty as Anti-Morality”? Double nope. Sammon want for the gold. He wanted to mercilessly probe the depth's of Rand's cultural and philosophical appeal. So he chose “Appreciating Ayn Rand’s Tiddlywink Music.”

:) 

I kid you not. A good chunk of this article is devoted to it.

I suppose that's appropriate for his tiddlywink brain.

Michael

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I wonder what those critics initial thoughts and feelings were when they first read Rand's fiction? I doubt they were consistent with their later, slanted thinking. And the fact that they are still pondering Ayn means they are still under her influence, even if negatively. Or so they tell themselves, to jibe with their latter day, collectivist world views.      

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10 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Peter,

I didn't know eggplants could think and feel.

:) 

Michael

"Feed me, Seymour!"  

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I started looking around on Twitter for some news articles on Rand.

Guess what I found?

When I type "Ayn Rand" into Twitter's search engine, I get about 95%+ leftist crap and snark. See for yourself:

"Ayn Rand"

I'm tempted to post some of those things here, but I don't want to call attention to trolls. There is one troll I want to mention, though. She's a bonehead who Tweets like rabbits humping, She chose the handle of AynRandPaylRyan, so she gets the "Ayn Rand" keyword luv from Twitter. She spends a lot of her posts bashing Rand.

Also, curiously, some radical feminists seem to want to punch Ayn Rand in the face. They get passionate about it. Weird...

:) 

There is lots and lots and lots of snark. Then add some more snark.

This tells me Ayn Rand is scaring the crap out of them.

I see more than this, though. 

I see an audience.

Do you want to know why organized Objectivism is not spreading too well? Where are the tweets from ARI or TAS? They shrugged, I guess. They walked off the field and just left Rand's very name to those who hate and fear her.

A Rand meme project is waiting--right there--for a talented meme maker. (One who is truly funny, not just a preacher.) From what I see, the market exists.

I might think about this one myself.

Michael

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On 11/30/2019 at 1:29 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I see an audience.

Do you want to know why organized Objectivism is not spreading too well? Where are the tweets from ARI or TAS? They shrugged, I guess. They walked off the field and just left Rand's very name to those who hate and fear her.

They don't have any originality or talent. And they don't have the courage to step out into the open. They know that they suck, and that they have to therefore limit themselves to appearing only on ground that they hold and control. Rand'a legacy has been left to weaklings and cowards, and she bears significant blame for empowering fifth-rate turds as her "heirs."

You're right, though, that enemy territories out there on Twitter et al are perfect opportunities. 

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21 hours ago, Jonathan said:

They don't have any originality or talent. And they don't have the courage to step out into the open. They know that they suck, and that they have to therefore limit themselves to appearing only on ground that they hold and control. Rand'a legacy has been left to weaklings and cowards, and she bears significant blame for empowering fifth-rate turds as her "heirs."

You're right, though, that enemy territories out there on Twitter et al are perfect opportunities. 

I wish I could disagree with you. I’ve been following Atlas Society’s Instagram feed and it is.pathetic. 90% is just ten year old recycled memes of the theme: socialism is bad and it’s for dummies. Shitty cartoonish memes that were obviously authored by teenagers with little life experience. The feeling is that you are in a place by teenagers for teenagers who are on an anti-collectivist spree but who are not very serious, deep or philosophical. Collectivists are retards who put their fingers into electrical sockets, that sort of thing. Over and over.

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Here is one from this morning.

See, socialists are dumb, just like a square sponge who lives under the sea and burns the constitution for warmth.

But not a word on the entire feed about the constitution being shredded right now, in the impeachment hearings of a duly-elected President who has committed no offenses. Schiff is shredding the Constitution. Pelosi is shredding the Constitution. But good luck finding those names in the Atlas feed. No, the impression you get is that SpongeBob, who represents “socialists” is shredding the Constitution.

 

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21 hours ago, Jon Letendre said:

I wish I could disagree with you. I’ve been following Atlas Society’s Instagram feed and it is.pathetic. 90% is just ten year old recycled memes of the theme: socialism is bad and it’s for dummies. Shitty cartoonish memes that were obviously authored by teenagers with little life experience. The feeling is that you are in a place by teenagers for teenagers who are on an anti-collectivist spree but who are not very serious, deep or philosophical. Collectivists are retards who put their fingers into electrical sockets, that sort of thing. Over and over.

I hadn't visited their site or social media in a while. Jesus. It's gotten even worse. Some of it is cringe-worthy. 

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