Queen Victoria on Solo


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Chrys,

Please accept the following advice in the kindest manner possible, since that is what is intended (and I am normally reluctant to give unsolicited advice).

I think you make a mistake by comparing yourself against another on a fundamental level.

From your posts, I have seen that you are much better than that.

Michael

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When Penelope makes the statement that "Barbara Branden has no experience with Objectivists," she becomes too easy a target.

That's one of the reasons I think she isn't real, it's so over the top that it must be a joke, otherwise she must be retarded.

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I don't care to interact with those nasty vicious people with big pointy teeth. They only want attention anyway. I do look occasionally, just out of curiousity and to see what people are talking about. I really don't get why people are giving Penelope any attention at all. I think she is legit and just trying to fit in. She is someone I neither like nor respect, but that could be said for most of the posters over there. The wolfpack over there is not the type of crowd I would associate with in real life. It is the type of display that simply makes me shake my head, roll my eyes and keep walking. There are still some good people there, but the general atmosphere there is negative and that is not for me. The ick factor is simply too high and it conflicts with my values.

In general, I prefer to dealing with people with good character, which I can find right here at OL.

Kat

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I certainly wouldn't care to interact with those people, that would no doubt be a complete waste of time. But I confess that I have a morbid fascination (no doubt the result of a bad psycho-epistemology - I plead guilty!) for that site, the same kind of fascination that many people have for watching accidents and disasters and other horrible things. Some people watch therefore horror movies (which I personally find incredibly silly and boring). But this is real life: a group of snarling, vicious people who claim to be followers of a philosophy of reason and objectivity, but whose highest aim in life seems to be denouncing other people and tearing them down, thereby projecting their own irrational behavior onto the "enemy". They're so absurd that it becomes quite comic. What can be more silly than their childish "KASS" notion? I think even Rand would have been horrified if she could have seen what kind of followers her philosophy has spawned.

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A few years ago, I pretty much put down the sword. If I had stayed the way I was, I would be the darling of SoloP and ROR- I know exactly how to do it, as well as anyone I've seen.

There were a number of reasons I put down the sword, but the main reason was that I found that doing otherwise is much more difficult. Using the sword, the flamethrower, is very easy. There are lots of levels, different ways of articulating, going about your dirty business. But it remains much much harder to do otherwise.

There are times to fight, and fight hard, though. In a fight, there are no rules; if you think otherwise you are being silly and you will be undercut. Fighting for something is nasty business.

I was aggravated as hell at a few people on SOLO/ROR when I offered non-judgmental dialogue about various topics and was come down on because I happen to be spiritual. I left ROR and never touched SoloP because for one, I would surely not have been welcome, and for two, I started seeing something in Perigo that I found repugnant, in a sort of Ringmaster of the Damned kind of way.

But if a fight is worthy to me, it's on. And I'm sure that is the same sentiment of the handful of aggressors we see. I won't name them, we all know who they are. In the intellectual arena, there is no quarter; it has always been that way.

But I chose to ignore. But more and more occurred. The thing with Chris Sciabarra is what snapped it. The thing with the Brandens is different, because I'm more conditioned to it, I suppose. And I'm sure Chris never asked me or anyone much else to pick up the sword for him. Chris and I don't know each other except through very enjoyable periodic correspondence over the years. I have a good sense of people and I know he is a kind soul. That's what tore it- he didn't deserve what Hsieh did. Hsieh, to me, is callous and phoney, on one level or another.

You never know how things start, it is the tragedy of it. But once engaged, the lines drawn, then the storming and norming is going to happen. Unfortunately, there is deep storming, and I wonder if/when/ever there will be norming. No one trusts anyone between these polarized factions. Eventually, maybe something will shock all of our minds and put an end to it. In the meantime, I will look for every chink in the armor I can find, and exploit it. I don't like how people are treated by this little cadre one can name, I have no fear of them, and I will continue to rattle their cage and poke at them with sharp sticks. Bring it on.

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I've read some statements by Penelope Beach that I found ridiculously harsh, as well as some that I found outright absurd.

FWIW, I think she is a real person, though maybe not really named "Penelope Beach."

But I see no point in joining some chorus of derision aimed at her. Choruses of derision are what SOLOP currently specializes in.

I have a good deal less tolerance for someone like Fred Weiss, who is neither young nor naive. I take his statement about Objectivist rage as profoundly true--

http://www.solopassion.com/node/1147#comment-10960

--and a perfect indication of what example not to follow.

In the end, though, people who behave in these ways are self-indicting.

Robert Campbell

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Agree, Robert.

I didn't want a chorus- I was attacking her solo and outright because I think she has been acting like a petulant ninny.

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I had a good laugh the other night while watching the film _Six Degrees of Separation_. If you haven't seen it, rent it and watch for the petulant "when the children turn" scene ("You gave him my pink shirt?...I can't believe you! I hate you!" etc.). It captures the essence of SOLOP.

J

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I am sorry, but some things have been said that have made me bristle.

I don't think anyone here truely condones attacking the P. entity for the sake of attacking her. However, the ignorance spewing from her mouth is worthy of derision and ridicule.

If Penelope were to come here and post, she would more than likely be welcomed with open arms and treated quite well. With Respect.

But, if she were to come here and continue with her current style of 'sword play' then she would most likely find herself quickly up against the wall with sharp blades at her throat. And she would deserve it.

I am sure she is a good kid with good intentions. She is however; young, inexperienced, ignorant and she has fallen in with and has been misguided by some pretty influential people, like'em or not.

My own opinion is that we have been doing nothing more than observing and discussing human behavior. She came to our attention and we observed her. Her behavior is contrary to most of our standards. We discussed that behavior.

And, we ridiculed it!

So what!

We, as a circle of friends, made fun of the absurd. We made fun of the willfully ignorant. We laughed at the laughable.

So what!

If REB or Rich or Dragonfly or myself want to poke fun at Penelope's behavior; so what! Who are we harming? The only harm being laid on Pea Pod is that coming from herself and her handlers. She will suffer in the end and it will have nothing to do with us.

I find nothing wrong with what we have been doing and I will take any comparison of our behavior with that of SOLO's as a severe insult. We deserve better than that.

Anyway, I hope she does read what we have written. Even if she hates it, I hope some of it stays with her for the next few months or years. I want her to hear what we think. I want it to soak in.

I want her to learn.

I want her to know that there are people in this world with very sharp swords; who can fight her kind of fight and never break a sweat. I want her to think before she calls someone else she does not know a 'slippery fuck'.

I want her to understand and remember what we have been saying about her leaders. With her style, she will have their razors at her throat someday. You can bet on it. And, I want her to remember us then.

And when that happens -

I want her to know she is welcome here.

But,

Some of us always carry a sharp sword and know how to use it.

Step lightly!

gw

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I had written:

Isn't Diana's comment just a more extreme version of the remarks four of you have made in response to my suggestion of extending a bit of charity to Penelope?

Dragonfly opines:

In the same sense that an atomic bomb is just a more extreme version of a lighted match.

I was thinking of a degree of difference on the order of a comparison between a bee-bee pellet glancing aginst a pebble versus a cannon ball against a boulder. I precisely thought of that analogy yesterday not long after I asked the above.

Ellen

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When Penelope makes the statement that "Barbara Branden has no experience with Objectivists," she becomes too easy a target.

That's one of the reasons I think she isn't real, it's so over the top that it must be a joke, otherwise she must be retarded.

I think that that statement is easy to interpret if you keep in mind that she doesn't express herself well and that she's new to Objectivism and thus far considers the ARIans the real Objectivists. She's saying that Barbara today doesn't know any real Objectivists, since the real ones won't have anything to do with Barbara. I took the remark as a slam against the persons Barbara hangs out with, such as folks who post here.

Ellen

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I think even Rand would have been horrified if she could have seen what kind of followers her philosophy has spawned.

There I completely agree. But I don't think she'd have understood why her philosophy spawns such followers, the extent to which they learned it from her by adopting her Savonarola third.

Ellen

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I have a good deal less tolerance for someone like Fred Weiss, who is neither young nor naive.  I take his statement about Objectivist rage as profoundly true--

http://www.solopassion.com/node/1147#comment-10960

--and a perfect indication of what example not to follow.

I think the statement -- which I'd already quoted in an earlier post on this thread and will requote below -- is profoundly indicative of a strong part of the appeal of Objectivism to some people, people who are interested in intellectual issues but who welcome the justification provided for being disdainful of, contemptuous of others. Harry Binswanger was always a person I thought of in this light.

Responding to Fred doesn't accomplish anything however -- except to please him by giving him something else to deride.

Fred's comment again:

Objectivist rage is half the fun of being an Objectivist.

The other half is figuring out what to be enraged about.

Ellen

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Folks,

I started looking at (instead of skimming over) that dude's posts because of the interest here and got sidetracked. (Is he important or something? Dayaamm!). Instead, I noticed a small post by Dizzy here (he sure likes to talk about me). Below is a small quote about Barbara:

Alas, I fear the reasons for the "obsession" are more ominous, as I shall be explaining in my speech in LA next month.

Finally we agree on something! The reasons for Barbara's pressuring him to straighten up back then actually were more ominous than my joking. Barbara didn't want to reject him as a person because of his irrationality and spite. She fought for the best within him. She fought for his potential.

She lost.

Total rejection became inevitable.

Michael

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Michael, you say you've only been skimming Fred Weiss's posts, and you wonder if he's "important." He's my idea of the epitome example of a "real Objectivist," and he goes way back. He was a participant in the Epistemology Seminars.

Ellen

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Michael: I did take your advice as you meant it. I am not comparing myself to Diana Hsieh or Penelope Beach. I would like to contrast myself to them. Also, thanks for the compliment.

I agree with Dragonfly's comment, comparing the Temple of the True Believers to a car wreck. That is part of the reason for my interest in reading what they have to say. I also find it instructive.

In contrast to Ayn Rand's stated position, I find inspiration for characters in real people. I don't think this is Naturalism, because the characters I create take on a life of their own, in contrast to describing "people as they are." And before we leave the topic and get into one about creative writing, the people at the other sites have inspired me greatly. In particular, Diana has, whether she likes it or not. I assume she would not.

Kat has a point, about not commenting in such a group. I have seen enough of the denunciations over at the other site, the Temple. What could be accomplished by speaking in such a site? I doubt they would hear anything said, aside from what they want to hear.

A final remark: I didn't mention that the post I made here, to which Diana Hsieh took strong exception, was the "Form Letter" that appears in the RANTS section. From this she concluded that I am not interested in hearing both sides of an issue, and chose therefore not to present her side to the issue.

Does Diana look at both sides to an issue? I've seen no evidence of that.

The principle of projection applies here. It's a universal human failing, to denounce in others those flaws we most dislike in ourselves. I will venture the following opinion: it is less painful for Diana to denounce me, among others, than to look at herself in the mirror.

As for Penelope? Roger's invitation to her, to come here (and behave civilly) is also a thrown gauntlet. Ellen is probably right, to assume she's simply young, naïve, and a follower. It's easy to be all of those things when surrounded by True Believers in a Temple. Should Penelope come here would show more courage than I think she has. For her to come here and be civil would show more maturity than I think she has.

I have been wrong before. I hope people like that will prove me wrong. Thus far, Diana has proven me right. Sad to say. Will Penelope choose another road? There is always hope. I'm not holding my breath until my face turns blue; there is still hope that I may be proven wrong about someone.

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Ellen,

I put in another link to the "Objectivist rage" quote so it would go straight to the quote, instead of the (voluminous) thread that includes the quote. (All of this presumes that SOLOP's site is working properly...)

I've heard it argued that Mr. Weiss's behavior should not be taken as indicative of Ayn Rand Institute culture, because he is a "wannabe" rather than a serious player there. But I've never gotten the impression that people on the inside deem him a wannabe. Would any senior figure at ARI dismiss Ms. Weiss as unimportant--or counsel him to cool it with the rhetoric?

Is Mr. Weiss one of the lettered professors in the published transcriptions from Rand's epistemology workshops?

Robert Campbell

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Ellen,

I only asked about the importance of Weiss because, according to him, we all are supposed to be feeling threatened by him. Look at the post above Perigo's that I quoted. He especially mentioned you.

You say he was part of the epistemology shindig? Wow. I'm trembling in my pants already...

More objectively, I saw that he is a rare book publisher and retail seller - he owns a firm called Paper Tiger in New York State.

From the small selection of books advertised online, he seems to focus on books that have something to do with Rand or ARI, like the grammar book Peikoff used in college or some books that Ayn Rand read. He also published Bernstein's basketball novel (Heart of a Pagan). There are lots of senior ARI people reviewing and/or involved in the books he sells.

As I love books, it is good to know about this catalogue. The things he sells look a whole lot more interesting than the things he writes (mostly name-calling and empty obnoxious remarks from what I have read so far).

Michael

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I want to correct a thought I had above about Perigo.

The reasons for Barbara's pressuring him to straighten up back then actually were more ominous than my joking. Barbara didn't want to reject him as a person because of his irrationality and spite. She fought for the best within him. She fought for his potential.  

She lost.  

Total rejection became inevitable.

I went to bed shortly after writing that and another thought popped into my mind on waking up. It is always shaky ground to speculate why a person rejects another the way Barbara rejected Perigo. I should have asked her point-blank. Still, here's some more speculation. Her fighting for the best within Perigo makes logical sense, but on reflection, it doesn't feel right.

Now I think, in the end, Barbara was becoming increasingly embarrassed to be associated with Perigo.

That rings truer.

(I am talking about the time before "Drooling Beast" and before Perigo embraced Valliant's book in retaliation, i.e., when she was still writing her "Holding Court" column on SoloHQ.)

Michael

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Is Mr. Weiss one of the lettered professors in the published transcriptions from Rand's epistemology workshops?

He appears to be "G." That's on the basis of new information acquired in the last year from a friend who saw the original list of participants at the archives. Previously, Larry and George Walsh (some years ago, near the end of George's life) had put their heads together compiling notes about who was who, but they weren't able to identify everyone.

The designation "Prof" is an honorary upgrading of most of the participants. Peikoff, Walsh, and Nelson were the only three to whom the term could technically have been applied. Most were still graduate students. Harry B. and Allan Gotthelf might have already gotten their doctorates. Do you -- or maybe Roger -- happen to know the dates when either or both of them became degreed?

Ellen

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I've for years read Weiss's contributions on HPO, and my conclusion is that he is the archetype of the dogmatic randroid. Not surprising therefore that he's such good friends with Hsieh and Perigo...

Weiss of course wasn't good friends with Perigo until the recent past; the change resulting in Weiss's posting on SoloP has been Perigo's tune about PARC and his being part of the denunciation of Chris S. I expect that to the extent Weiss and Perigo are friends now, it's a mighty uneasy friendship which could dissolve at any time. Perigo still criticizes the ARI atmosphere, and especially Harry B. and Peter Schwartz. He just hasn't been pushing his criticisms in the current context.

Ellen

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