SATIRE AS A MORAL MESSAGE?


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It was wrong for Joan Rivers to make fun of Liz Taylor for being fat. Liz felt she had to laugh at it, though, so as not to give Joan the satisfaction of knowing that Joan’s words were hurting her. When Liz was on the Oprah Winfrey show, Oprah told her that she would not laugh, and this got applause from the audience

Yes, it is funny!

Oprah? Fat jokes? Not laughing?

Duh!!!

gw

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Yes, it is funny!  

Oprah? Fat jokes? Not laughing?  

Duh!!!

What is your point? Is it okay to laugh at fat jokes if you are not fat? Is it okay to laugh at Asians if you are not Asian? Was Micky Rooney funny when he played the crazy Chinaman in Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Do you think it's cool to make fun of a poster's spelling or grammar mistakes?

bis bald,

Nick

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Ellen:
These touches don't mesh with her stated views on humor (which I agree are wretched).

I dont' see what they have to do with humor at all. Not every laughter or smile is the result of humor. These are obviously not.

Oof. I'm wishing I hadn't made the comment, since I opened a subject larger than I can possibly try to address now, the subject I suppose of "a sense of delight." The Roark quote maybe isn't a good example of this. Roark was exulting -- the "joke" in a sense being his expulsion from architectural school; the reader finds out as the scene progresses about his current life circumstances. The second quote (thanks, Dragonfly, for providing the exact wording) seems to me more direct: a general joying in existence with a ready response of delight. Isn't the response of delight important to "humor" in the sense of jokes, and satire as well, etc.? It is for me.

I'm afraid I'll have to leave you folks to pursue the subject. I really must bow out of trying to keep up with list proceedings for the next couple months -- much, much to accomplish before Larry and I depart for a couple weeks in Europe. I had intended to drop out, period, earlier, because of my health problems, and I made an announcement that I was dropping out. But then the Chris Sciabarra stuff started and I was too angry to stay quiet about that.

Meanwhile, so much interesting to me has been touched on here, I expect I'll return when I can. But unless something I feel I must reply to arises, I'll say "cheers and farewell for awhile" till late August.

Ellen

PS: Have a great time at the Summer Seminar, all ye headed there.

PPS: I'll link this post in the Living Room forum, so's those not reading this one will be aware of my two-month's-departure intentions.

___

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Victor,

If it were merely a request for an example, OK. But it was a demand with an belligerent either/or command and presented with a big chip on the shoulder. (Rodney even backed up immediately.) With that kind of attitude, and the ensuing hostile hairsplitting, and ignoring the fact that Rodney backed up, I can imagine what overblown notions would have been attributed to any example from the article he provided.

It was a power game. Absolutely no interest in understanding or swaying. There was a clear wish to brand Rodney as a dishonest enemy of ARI scholars and even Rand, despite various openings he gave to explore a full concept of humor.

Nobody ever convinces anybody of anything like that. (I ain't in a mocking mood right now, so it's not even funny anymore.) And the hostile person shows total insecurity by such an overreaction. Readers who are not part of the clique get the impression that Hsieh was hiding something that she doesn't want discussed and was daring anyone to mention it.

Well, she got what she wanted. Rodney does not discuss anything with her any longer. Is that a good thing? He happens to be an extremely intelligent person and highly knowledgeable about Objectivism for years. New interaction between them is no longer viable. Is this kind of belligerence good for Objectivism and spreading the word? Did she convince any reader of Rand's ideas on humor or even Mayhew's credibility as a scholar by acting like that?

On the contrary. Readers were practically dared to disagree with her, so there was an impression given to those who were unfamiliar with the issues that something was very wrong somewhere, something that had to be buried under an attitude, and it wasn't with Rodney.

You're an artist and writer. Try writing the script with Hsieh having a different attitude, resulting in a happier ending where ideas get discussed and examples presented instead of a control game. Hell, I could do it immediately on improvisation alone and be convincing. It's a no-brainer.

Of course, such a possibility would be have to be fantasy fiction in this case...

Michael

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Hi Nick.

It is very difficult to set a hard and fast rule for jokes about such things as you raise. Attitude will only change the immediate emotional environment. People who think those jokes are genuinely funny will still think so and go back to making them once the person with the attitude leaves. This goes for those who hate and mock, also.

I believe that the best rule would be to evaluate the good will of those interacting. If there is no malice detected, then let the good times roll. If malice is detected, then a request to stop - at the very least - is in order.

I can give a perfect example of lack of malice.

Racial jokes are considered as extremely poor taste these days. Yet in Brazil, you find a great deal of good-natured racial banter going on between the strongest of friends. (This includes white, black, oriental, Indian, all races.) There is absolutely no attempt at demeaning the people at the butt end of the jokes, merely a playful jab at differences. The butt ends usually retort in kind.

(They also joke with each other about being short, having big ears, being fat, etc., in the same playful manner. They are always goofing on each other, but with good vibes, not malice.)

This is a very difficult environment to explain to Americans since there is such an amount of irrational aggressiveness about this here.

I have seen politically correct foreigners try to teach their hatred to Brazilians and get them to stop this kind of joking. The Brazilians become concerned with the unhappiness of the person and try to make him feel better, but they keep on joking. The hatred simply doesn't take. In extreme instances, Brazilians just get away from the person blowing their high.

I really really love the Brazilian sense-of-life.

Michael

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Mr. M,

[Re: Rodney and Diana].

I understand what you're saying. The power struggle can be seen in-between the lines, as an undercurrent to the explicit exchange. But it’s unfortunate when people solely focus on HOW something is said over WHAT is being said. Yes, communication is a two way street and an "argument" need not be viewed as a zero-sum game where one player "wins" and other must "loose."

Too often intellectual discourse is employed to paint the other guy into a corner versus an honest pursuit of the truth. Reading the thread again, one can sense Diana feeling the “threat.” The *request* for empirical evidence can serve as the final arbiter in the pursuit of truth—any one truth. The truth! Is there something other that we should want in a "debate?" What? #-o

Now, If Rodney had the eventual intention to substantiate a claim with a quote and example in due course--wonderful. If he was turned off by what he took to be Diana's hostile tone, he could nevertheless benefit all those who are reading the thread with interest. But that's not a "demand" on my part, of course--just an optional suggestion. Something to keep in mind. =P~

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Oh well; your great big, igloo skyscrapered, Super Dave Osborn loving country keeps me in stitches! Thank you!

There we go! Somebody HAD to bring up the igloo thing. All so high and mighty, “ I have a house, you’ve got an igloo.” Do you really think I’m jealous?

Think about it:

• no need to cut the lawn

• what’s the point in shovelling

• no windows to clean

• remodelling is a snap

• more time for nooky

• more inclination for nooky

• more nooky

• the kid’s can have their own igloo even on a tight budget

• my wife doesn’t bug me to paint

• snowmobiles are cheaper than cars

• more nooky

• warmth outweighs style

• save money on refrigeration and air conditioning

• a politically acceptable use for beaver pelts and bear skins (if not seal skins)

• ice is art and furniture

• the Molson is always cold

• the women are always warm

• nooky, nooky, nooky...

Aaaahhhhh! Life is good in the Great White North.

Paul

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Actually, just to round this off, the phrase mentioning Mayhew was, I recall, tacked on by me at the last moment. And I took it back only because I did not have the leisure to re-study the article in detail. So on the basis of revisiting the article briefly and seeing that Mayhew did not seem to stray from the small safe territory of the strictly limited sense in which Ayn Rand’s sense of “humor” applied to The Fountainhead and elsewhere, I withdrew my mention of Mayhew--as a stopgap measure until I had time and desire to analyze the article in detail.

I ought to mention that being a “most careful and diligent scholar” does not preclude rationalism and error, or making too-wide generalizations. I’m quite sure Mayhew is a good thinker and also a grand fellow. In fact, when the article came out, I was a bit jealous, because in all other respects the piece is excellent and I had often thought about writing on the same topic myself.

By the way, the mental gymnastics that strict adherence to Ayn Rand’s idea must lead to were amply displayed in the Noodlefood exchange. The quickness with which this happened indicates how I could be so confident it might have happened in the Mayhew article!

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Contrary to Rand’s statement quoted above, a sense of humour about oneself is a great value because it increases objectivity. When we can laugh at ourselves, we reduce our defensiveness against the sides of us we don’t like to own. We can be open to seeing more of ourselves clearly. When we can see all the parts of ourselves more clearly, we can bring more of ourselves under conscious scrutiny and volitional control. We can be more integrated.

Conversely, when we can’t laugh at ourselves, we can bury those parts of ourselves we don’t approve of– especially, in the case of Objectivists, those parts that don’t fit with Objectivist authority. To borrow from Pink Floyd, “All in all it’s just another brick in the [randroid] wall.”

Paul

“HOW CAN YOU HAVE ANY PUDDING IF YOU DON’T EAT YOUR MEAT??!!”

(How can you have Objectivism if you don’t accept Rand’s/Peikoff’s authority above your own?)

"Tear Down the Walls! Tear down the walls!" Laugh at yourself already.

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Ellen,

(This is a repeat to your post in the Objectivist Living Room.)

As usual, you will be missed. You are one of my favorite people. Whatever it is you are preparing, I do hope it is successful and you are happy.

We will try to make this board irresistible, though. Come back soon.

Michael

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Paul,

I lit my indoor campfire and quickly put it out three times.

Both,

Do either of you fellow Torontonians know of any O groups or O-related social circles here?

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What is your point? Is it okay to laugh at fat jokes if you are not fat? Is it okay to laugh at Asians if you are not Asian? Was Micky Rooney funny when he played the crazy Chinaman in Breakfast at Tiffany's?  

Do you think it's cool to make fun of a poster's spelling or grammar mistakes?

Yes.

gw

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(Nick)Do you think it's cool to make fun of a poster's spelling or grammar mistakes?

(GW)Yes.

(Nick)Good! Here are some of your statements from a prior post in this thread. They all contain punctuation or usage mistakes, more than just differences of dialect. Can you recognize them?

A Leopard cannot change it's spots!  

Or is it a Tiger and it's stripes?  

Or is it a Jackass and it's jackass-ness?

What was that other guys name?
To whoever was wondering......

bis bald,

Nick

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I have always noticed a general stiffness in O-world (and Victor, to answer your question posed elsewhere, that's all I can think of that includes anyone hanging around the campfire; since there are so many out there claiming what is and what or who is not, I just lump it all into O-world).

The humor sections have always been barren, most of the jokes are lame. (but OL's is doing very well, I think).

It's always been like that in O-world; if you're looking for people to loosen up, there's better places. On the other hand, the ones who aren't like that are wonderful.

Lampooning and satire are very effective because of this hyper-serious mindset that runs around. I mean, you almost can't help going for it...

Rigidity, oh yes!! It makes me wonder what some of these folks' sex lives are like. Is it a proper meat dinner, Rachmaninoff in the background....then... the lady excuses herself to slip into something romantic. The gentlemen has a cravat, a smoking jacket... Noble romantic words are exchanged, and he TAKES her, oh yes!!!! Afterwards, the man looks pensively out the window, contemplating his current Great Undertaking...

Lordy...

rde

Me, my place looks like a Zen Love Nest, and it's damn busy.

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:-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|= :-({|=

gw

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I agree with MSK's take on Ms. Hsieh's blog post of November 28, 2005, and her sharp exchange with Rodney Rawlings on the comments thread.

I hadn't seen the piece before MSK mentioned it. But it struck me that Ms. Hsieh was spoiling for a fight on the comments thread.

A couple of thoughts:

(a) Ms. Hsieh questioned the "authoritativeness" of Rand's remarks about humor in the question and answer period of one of Leonard Peikoff's lectures. But they have become a lot more authoritative, at least in ARIan eyes, by being published in Ayn Rand Answers. Which was edited by... Robert Mayhew.

(b) Note Ms. Hsieh's assertion that Dr. Mayhew so epitomizes the perfect scholar that she won't brook any criticism of his work.

Robert Mayhew's scholarship has been challenged--and not just in reviews of Ayn Rand Answers. Stephen Cox made a few complaints about his book on Ayn Rand and Song of Russia:

http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/19_4/19_4_7.pdf

Specifically, that Dr. Mayhew misquoted some lines of dialogue from the film.

Besides, Ms. Hsieh has a history of extravagant praise followed by equally extravagant condemnation. When she has grown dissatisfied with Dr. Mayhew, what will she say about him?

Robert Campbell

PS. I'll admit to being a Lenny Bruce fan. I bring out an old LP on Fantasy and play "Religions Incorporated" and "Father Flotsky's Triumph" from time to time.

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I'm with Gary on this one-Yes. Nothing is Sacred.

But you have to be good at it. Fred Weiss, for instance, is not good at it.

He didn't recognize that the pseudo/psuedo thing just wasn't good cannon fodder.

And the reason he didn't recognize that (this is abudantly clear from his posting style) is that he is a curmudgeon. Not to be confused with a troll, but a curmudgeon. And curmudgeons are rarely funny in what they say, though they can be fun to watch in the wild.

A sour, mean-spirited curmudgeon-thing can't make good funnies- they are too busy trying to foul people.

rde

MIsery loves company.

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One of my childhood sex fantasies involved an Eskimo woman in an igloo...  

Michael

Michael,

I would prefer if you did not talk about fantasies you have had about my wife. That's crossing the line. If you do not cease and desist, I will be forced to sketch an outlandish caricature of you and attack your gross deformity in the ways of traditional Objectivist duels. :evil:

Honestly though, I'm curious about the Eskimo (politically correct: Inuit) woman in your fantasy, but not so curious about your role. //;-))

Paul

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save money on refrigeration and air conditioning

You definitely have me beat there! Stupid nine month long Summers here are going to be the end of me!

• the Molson is always cold  

• the women are always warm  

• nooky, nooky, nooky...  

Aaaahhhhh! Life is good in the Great White North.

Aaaahhhhh yes! And you gave the world Captain Kirk & Shania Twain too!

Shania...bearskin rug...igloo..................OOOOOOOOHHHH MAMA!

I'm sorry, what where we talking about?

gw

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Of course, I want you Canucks to feel at home.

Soooooo.....

économiser l'argent sur la réfrigération et la climatisation

Vous me faites certainement battre là ! Les neuf étés long stupides de mois ici vont être l'extrémité de moi !

le Molson est toujours froid  

les femmes sont toujours chaudes  

nooky, nooky, nooky...  

Aaaahhhhh ! La vie est bonne dans le grand nord blanc.

Aaaahhhhh oui ! Et vous avez donné le capitaine Kirk et Shania Twain du monde aussi !

Shania...couverture de bonnet à poils...igloo...............OOOOOOOOHHHH MAMA!

Je suis désolé, ce qui où nous parlant ?

Of course my French is much worse than my pitiful English; please be gentle.

Naturellement mon Français est beaucoup plus mauvais que mon anglais pitoyable; veuillez être doux.

gw

Don't blame me; blame the Babel Fish!

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Rodney,

I was looking for flashing lights, not smoke signals! Try again.

*Do either of you fellow Torontonians know of any O groups or O-related social circles here?

_________________

Rodney Rawlings  

Toronto *

I’m not involved in any O-circles other than right here at O-L.

I first read Rand 20 years ago, did my required randroid stint for 9 months in solitary, broke free of her psychological grasp, and pursued other interests while holding onto the foundations of Objectivism but not calling myself an Objectivist. It was only after Michael requested to copy a post of mine from another forum that I began to reconsider my relationship to Objectivism.

Similar to Michael, I now distinguish between the rigid, closed, authoritarian approach to Objectivism and the vibrant, independent, self-actualizing, integrating approach to Objectivism. I see the authoritarian element in Rand’s writing as being antithetical to the Objectivist foundations she laid out which include the sovereignty of the individual. I see the equating of a relative perspective, even Rand’s, with the absolute perspective as a huge error that arbitrarily sets one person’s psychological orientation as the standard of correct vision and behaviour. (I think it is clear where the cult feeling comes from.)

If I am free to pursue Objectivism as a self-actualizing, independent, sovereign individual who’s goal is to observe, understand and integrate the information I can acquire about my existence, then I am an Objectivist. If not, I am not.

Rodney, I can tell others are well aware of who you are from your presence elsewhere. I am not. For better or worse, I’m new to the O-world. I too am curious about what local O-circles would be, or could be, like.

Paul

(O-circles: kind of redundant don’t you think?)

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