Michael Stuart Kelly

Weird News about Ayn Rand and Objectivism

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3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

[...] especially since what we're seeing is soft, pretty, make-believe Rand, rather than hard, deadly serious Rand.

What I'd expect to see is "soft, pretty, make-believe Rand" and the thought of seeing that after seeing multiple times the real "hard, deadly serious Rand" makes me react like the thought of eating cotton candy - which I hate. GAAACK!  My reaction is stomach-turned visceral  - nothing to do with storytelling techniques, multimedia techniques, whatever.

Ellen

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5 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

What I'd expect to see is "soft, pretty, make-believe Rand" and the thought of seeing that after seeing multiple times the real "hard, deadly serious Rand" makes me react like the thought of eating cotton candy - which I hate. GAAACK!  My reaction is stomach-turned visceral  - nothing to do with storytelling techniques, multimedia techniques, whatever.

Ellen

I love cotton candy!

I last had some 65 years ago.

Kinda sticky-gooey, though.

--Brant

on your face

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On 3/2/2020 at 1:14 PM, Jon Letendre said:

Check this out, though. She plans to get up on stage pretending to be Ayn Rand and engage in a Q&A session. Never mind how disrespectful that is going to be. Never mind that she would murder on the spot anyone arrogant enough to do this. I hope the estate sues. And never mind that this is Jennifer Grossman doing the pretending and she is a beginner, beginner, beginner at Rand, philosophy, economics, Objectivism — this fact becomes beyond obvious when you simply read her Instagram comments.

Total fucking train wreck in the works ... 

The real Ayn Rand is on lots of video. I and Ellen saw her numerous times in the flesh. What must be portrayed is her "power of certainty" backed up by the power of her ideas. Don't forget that accent!

This is a sad which doesn't make me mad.

Rand's certainty rested on bedrock principles which she extended too far into humanity. But don't doubt for a minute her tremendous charisma which came out of her naturally and seemingly without effort for the effort was out of the ideas she was promulgating. You knew you were looking at a great, lifetime accomplishment in action for your benefit deserved by your knowledgeable appreciationn.

This is mostly out of or from her appearances in the Ford Hall Forum--at least for me --every year from 1968 through 1974. The joint was always packed.

--Brant

I studied acting in New York with Phillip J. Smith for a few years and could write and direct a play with Rand discussing many things with significant persons over her life, personal and philosophical, starting with a very angry Rand just to set the stage--angry at today's world 

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6 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

My reaction is stomach-turned visceral  - nothing to do with storytelling techniques, multimedia techniques, whatever.

Ellen,

LOL...

You definitely are not the target audience for this TAS project.

:)

But think about presenting Rand to social justice snowflakes. Like it or not, these people vote and will soon be the ones in power.

The hardass no nonsense battle ax figure is not going to get a hearing with snowflakes. It's not that they will disagree. They will not even get near that.

Would you prefer to see the world ruled by them after they had some positive contact with Rand to prompt their curiosity, or with them believing the caricature sold by the progressives? That caricature is their starting point, not ours. So I, for one, don't mind an image of Rand that will draw them near enough to get curious about her rather than comfortable with the default stereotype in their minds.

And just to be a pain in the ass, here is something for your viewing pleasure. :) 

On 11/19/2018 at 6:11 PM, william.scherk said:

Not quite a full Ayn Rand sighting, and only as fresh as a year old, but someone went to a lot of trouble to put this together. Those someones at the Foundation for Economic Education, as it turns out. Well, Jeffrey Tucker and Jennifer Grossman and a bad wig. Yes, that Jennifer Grossman.

I felt an involuntary cringe a couple of times, but that is probably witchcraft.

Headline: That Day I Interviewed Ayn Rand

Video:

 

I even followed a like by William just now to be reminded of this.

:) 

Michael

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Ayn Rand was an eye opener. Her eyes became your eyes and your former eyes are discarded for the new ones. Better ones. This doesn't mean you've given up first-handedness for second. It could but doesn't have to. It essentially means you've gotten educated. How to tell the difference? Easy. If your education continues beyond her you're still or have become a first-hander.

--Brant 

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15 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Ellen,

LOL...

You definitely are not the target audience for this TAS project.

:)

But think about presenting Rand to social justice snowflakes. Like it or not, these people vote and will soon be the ones in power.

The hardass no nonsense battle ax figure is not going to get a hearing with snowflakes. It's not that they will disagree. They will not even get near that.

Would you prefer to see the world ruled by them after they had some positive contact with Rand to prompt their curiosity, or with them believing the caricature sold by the progressives? That caricature is their starting point, not ours. So I, for one, don't mind an image of Rand that will draw them near enough to get curious about her rather than comfortable with the default stereotype in their minds.

And just to be a pain in the ass, here is something for your viewing pleasure. :) 

I even followed a like by William just now to be reminded of this.

:) 

Michael

I tried to watch this but it's not even Rand lite.

--Brant

I applaud the effort, not the result, but the journey continues

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2 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

I studied acting in New York with Phillip J. Smith for a few years and could write and direct a play with Rand discussing many things with significant persons over her life, personal and philosophical, starting with a very angry Rand just to set the stage--angry at today's world 

As the late Phil Hartman used to say, "Sassy!"

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7 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

I tried to watch this but it's not even Rand lite.

Brant,

I had never seen Jennifer Grossman's impression of Ayn Rand before, not even this video (which I reposted here to be a brat :) ), so I just now watched about 10 minutes of it. Like you, I'm not enthralled with the result since I have seen so many Rand videos (and even saw her live once), but I think it was something worth doing for people who enjoy it. I mean, I doubt this will have any lasting cultural influence, but as entertainment for people who know little of Rand, I can see them liking it. And if you look at the comments for YouTube video, some people gushed over it.

I refuse to be a party-pooper for those folks. I refuse, I say!

:) 

Anywho, how did my 10 minutes go? What can I tell you about them?

Hmmmm... 

As I watched the video, I got a creepy feeling, not so much from Jennifer at first, but from Jeffrey Tucker.

Whaaaat?... Why?... Of all things... That made me curious, so I did some introspecting. 

Then I realized I had to pop myself out of the uncanny valley if I was going to watch it without an unpleasant prejudice.

The uncanny valley is a feeling of unease you get when something looks human, but not quite. There are subtle things that are off that makes your subconscious believe the thing is an imposter and to be avoided--icky and possibly dangerous in an unknown way. This feeling disappears when similarity to a human becomes more distant. A scarecrow, for example, does not give you this feeling. The image below does for most people (photo from here).

image.png

That sweet spot (or I should say sour spot :) ) between human and imitation of human is the uncanny valley.

I think this feeling developed over human evolution to help healthy people avoid sick or mentally unstable people (for obvious survival and reproduction reasons).

Unwanted creepiness has been a real problem with 3D animation. Movie studies have put in a lot of time, effort and money to counter it. You can even get a gist of this uncanny valley feeling with certain kinds of mannequins, or with animatronic figures like Disney's Hall of Presidents when a President you have seen and heard moves and speaks.

This feeling bleeds over to close-but-off impersonations when you know the person being imitated or you can easily imagine a historical person being presented. For an extreme example, think of John Wayne being miscast as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror. How's that for a cringe? :) 

As I got to thinking about this, it occurred to me that both Jeffrey and Jennifer had odd bits and pieces of others cobbled together that helped prompt this feeling in me. So I tried to put words to it and this is what I came up with.

Vincent Price as Phil Donahue interviewing Trish Regan in costume and speaking in a Zsa Zsa Gabor version of a Russian accent. 

:)

Wow...

Just pick any random point in the video and see what you think through that lens...

Once I meditated on that image a bit (and burst out laughing, of course :) ), I crossed the uncanny valley with no problem. Now I can see the video without the creepy feeling. This may not work for you, but it did 'er for me. :) 

And if you ever become more interested in this thing, here is an article by Jeffrey.

That Day I Interviewed Ayn Rand

He called what he and Jennifer did cosplay to slap a fancy word on it and make it sound cool and shit. But the fancy word didn't make it any better--or worse, for that matter. Just snooty. :) 

Also, here's a Blog Talk Radio discussion between Jeffrey and Jennifer (which I haven't heard yet).

Jeffrey Tucker on Interviewing Ayn Rand

I suppose there's more I can dig up.

But it's late.

And that's about as far as I want to go tonight.

:) 

Michael

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6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

So I, for one, don't mind an image of Rand that will draw them near enough to get curious about her rather than comfortable with the default stereotype in their minds.

Michael,

I have no problem with your not minding whatever you don't mind, but, again, it's all irrelevant to my reaction.  You might as well try to persuade me to like cotton candy.

About the snowflakes, though:  Do you think that Grossman has an audience in them?  I'm doubtful that she has much audience even among Rand fans.  The Instagram posts say 30.2K followers.  A pittance.

Ellen

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1 hour ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

I have no problem with your not minding whatever you don't mind, but, again, it's all irrelevant to my reaction.

Ellen,

As it should be. I even share your reaction in part and I think I know one component of it (the uncanny valley thing above).

I like to think out loud at times when something grabs my attention. This was an instance.

Also, I wanted readers who might like Jennifer's shindig to know they will not be tarred and feathered should they ever say that here.

:) 

1 hour ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

About the snowflakes, though:  Do you think that Grossman has an audience in them?  I'm doubtful that she has much audience even among Rand fans.

I agree with this.

As to my own thoughts, Jennifer is trying something different and I like people who do things. Even at 30k, she's generating a small audience. To paraphrase an old sentiment, if, among that number there is just one snowflake, and that one becomes a world leader, and a seed of Randian reason gets planted in that snowflake's mind through her efforts, she will have helped make the world a better place.

I don't predict much success for her Rand "coplay" project (precisely because of storytelling issues, that is, lack of story, much less one relevant to college audiences), but who knows? It might grow.

So I wish her well.

Michael

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13 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

But think about presenting Rand to social justice snowflakes. Like it or not, these people vote and will soon be the ones in power.

My view: Don't present Rand to them, or to anyone.

Present ideas instead, and in a real-time context in regard to real-world current events. Argue your point, make your case, and destroy the opposition's case. Do what Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk do.

Stop following Rand's muddle-headed, vanity-driven notion that people must be taught her philosophy from bottom to top, and convinced to accept it as a perfectly integrated whole, etc., etc.

Get past the remaining traces of cult of personality.

J

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8 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Michael,

I have no problem with your not minding whatever you don't mind, but, again, it's all irrelevant to my reaction.  You might as well try to persuade me to like cotton candy.

About the snowflakes, though:  Do you think that Grossman has an audience in them?  I'm doubtful that she has much audience even among Rand fans.  The Instagram posts say 30.2K followers.  A pittance.

Ellen

And that follower count is funny business, paid-for puppet “followers.” Very thin engagement in the comments. Very few engaged followers, maybe a couple hundred are semi-engaged. They have attracted a following of shallow haters of socialism and haters of dumb millennials. No effort is being made to educate them about Rand’s ideas. Every post is another cartoonish appeal to hate dumb millennials harder, hate dumb socialists harder. Their efforts are so scatter-brained and inept it is hard for me to accept that their goals really are what they say.

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42 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

My view: Don't present Rand to them, or to anyone.

Present ideas instead, and in a real-time context in regard to real-world current events. Argue your point, make your case, and destroy the opposition's case. Do what Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk do.

Stop following Rand's muddle-headed, vanity-driven notion that people must be taught her philosophy from bottom to top, and convinced to accept it as a perfectly integrated whole, etc., etc.

Get past the remaining traces of cult of personality.

J

Get past that, exactly.

What does scatter-brain do, instead? She attempts to literally resurrect the personality.

They do zero talking Jonathan, on Instagram. At most Jennifer will pop in to like all the comments by the retarded collectivists their postings have attracted. She’ll comment, “I know, right?” to the stupider comments. Nothing intelligent or corrective ever issues from her or the account manager. You have to see it to believe it.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan said:

Get past the remaining traces of cult of personality.

Jonathan,

Do you see this as either-or?

Does one negate the other?

In other words, will the part of human nature that likes celebrities stop existing--in level-headed people and idiots alike--just because pro-Rand people ignore it?

Fun fact. I'm too lazy to look the following up right now, so I'll go on memory. If need be, we can look it up later. In the book by Sally Hogshead, Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation (which is quite a good book despite the cheesy title), she mentioned an experiment with chimpanzees (or bonobos, I don't recall which off the top of my head). After researchers were able to determine which were higher in the social organization, they took pictures of them. And they took pictures of the other chimps. Then they scattered the pictures around at random. None of the chimps looked at the pictures of the lower chimps, but the lower chimps spent lot of time staring at the pictures of the celebrity chimps.

This trait comes from evolution, not from any moral failing.

(Apropos, if you have ever heard the saying that the modern attention span is about 8 seconds, in other words, that of a goldfish, that saying comes from Sally Hogshead.)

One of the characteristics of Rand's approach has been to ignore (and sometimes even deny) this underbelly part of human nature that determines certain values. That doesn't mean it stops existing. It just means there is constant friction over it whenever Rand is discussed.

And why is the friction constant? Because this trait will not go away by decree. It stays around no matter how much it is ignored and condemned. And it stays around in everyone, including the people who try to ignore it.

So I see no problem in letting all different kinds of approaches to persuasion fly. The best ones will work. The poor ones will fail on their own. We don't have to take the extra time and effort to go around stomping out approaches that we dislike. Leave that to the Shiite Objectivists who seek obedience and conformity out of others.

btw - President Trump understands the hell out of this celebrity interest trait in humans. Rather than fight it, he uses it as a tool in an Aristotelian kind of way, that is, he uses it with the right people, to the right degrees, at the right times, for the right purposes, and in the right ways. He even built a top TV show out of it. And the theme of the show? Was it gaining prizes for spinning a wheel? Guessing at words? Sleeping with this person or that? No. The theme was getting a job building things. And celebrity interest was embedded to the hilt in it. At the end, there was even a version called The Celebrity Apprentice.

This interest in celebrities is not a Peter Keating thing. This is a reality of human nature thing. The choice is not between abolishing it like Roark or succumbing to it like Keating. That was fiction to illustrate the theme about what drives human productive creativity--and this theme was its limitation for showing human nature. Within that frame of limitation, it worked, too. But the choice reality provides real human beings living within the richness of everyday life is to use it for sleazy ends or good ends, and in both cases, to be competent at it or incompetent.

I'm curious, though. What is so wrong about letting someone like Jennifer Grossman role play Rand on college campuses or in videos? Is she impeding Charlie Kirk or Ben Shapiro? Of course she isn't. Antifa impedes them, but Jennifer? 

This feels like a blasphemy thing even though I doubt it is. But there is hatred and contempt present from what I am reading. When I look on that, I know it exists because it's winding people up and getting them pissed. But just like with envy, I feel nothing inside myself--no resonance whatsoever. It's a big nothing, not good or bad. Just nothing.

Jennifer is not the bad guy to me. Soros is a bad guy. Bernie Sanders is a bad guy. The pedos are bad guys. Antifa and so on on. But a lady who wants to role play Rand in public?

I don't get it.

If I don't want to see her do that, I won't look. 

Done. 

And that is so easy. It takes no effort.

So I don't get the hatred and contempt and desire to make her behave differently than she wants to. Nor even why the call to eschew a fundamental part of the brain in persuasion as something good. If people want to do that in their own efforts, fine. Their choice. But why prohibit others from trying persuasion in that manner if they so wish? Any failure will be theirs, not Rand's.

I want to make a zinger using the word cult against cult of personality, but I think I will just leave that thought right there unformed.

:) 

Michael

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Come to think of it, we could bring back crucifixion for apostates, blasphemers and the like.

Definitely excommunication.

Let's burn some books while we're at it.

Such being sense and intelligence and all...

But nah...

I prefer to save my gun powder for bad guys like Soros, not my own indigestion.

Michael

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1 hour ago, Jon Letendre said:

Their efforts are so scatter-brained and inept it is hard for me to accept that their goals really are what they say.

 

1 hour ago, Jon Letendre said:

You have to see it to believe it.

I don't want to see it.  I get a smattering of email from them.  I'm still on some mailing list or other from days past.   I promptly redirect most of their emails to the trash bin, but occasionally I glance at an item and wonder "What happened?"

Do you have any idea what did happen?  (I mean how did Jennifer Grossman end up CEO of TAS?  More generally, how did the standards take such a nosedive?  Not that I was ever that gung-ho, but at least there was the goal of producing quality intellectual work.)

Ellen

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