The weirdest thing...

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The weirdest thing...

I just saw one of the weirdest posts that has ever been written about me or OL. It was posted by Michael Marotta on RoR:

Nathan Hawking was not liked here. When he died, there were some polite good-byes, but Luke Setzer said, "Good riddance." Hawking originally owned the URL "Objectivist Living" which he redubbed "Objectivist Dying" when he was diagnosed. After he passed, Michael Stuart Kelly bought the domain name with the understanding that he would not be continuing anything of Nathan Hawking's works.

Nathan was a poster who questioned Rand a lot. He could get a bit contentious and I fell out with him several times back when RoR/Solo Passion was called SoloHQ.

After SoloHQ split and Kat bought the URL "" (she is the one who created the name) and set up a forum on it, I decided, as part of my new approach, to make amends to all the people I had been snotty to. I had already formally eschewed the Perigo KASS nonsense as my writing style, but I was feeling guilty for having been unfair to several people. So I went around and apologized, person by person. Often I did this in public. Nathan was one of the people I apologized to.

He wrote to me offline, saying that I had no idea how much my integrity would end up meaning. I didn't know what he meant, so I just left it right there. A little while later he announced that he was sick with cancer of the pancreas and had about six months to live. I was stunned, especially since he passed away about six months after that.

While Nathan was alive, he had a website called "We the Thinking." After his announcement that he was sick, he set up a new one called "We the Dying" and tried to devote it to comedy and commentary. He was radically against anyone feeling sorry for him.

Once he passed away, a close acquaintance of his got in touch with me to thank me for the public support I gave him at the time. (I had written about him a few times in flattering terms. That stuff is here on OL somewhere.) We thought about putting up some of his writing here on OL, but she could not figure out how to get into his password protected accounts. And most of his stuff was already offline by the time the end came.

This stuff (except this last part) was pretty well known and it was public when it happened, but look how it has morphed in Marotta's post.

I'm speechless. In awe.

(And I miss Nathan...)


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I just submitted this post on RoR:

The story Michael Marotta tells in post #13 is all mixed up. Nathan Hawking's site was called "We the Thinking," changed to "We the Dying" when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

"Objectivst Living" never had any connection to Hawking's domain.

See this post by MSK for the real story of OL's history:


The post is in the moderation queue. I've been on moderation on RoR since the summer of 2006, and have made no attempt to post there between then and now. We'll see if the post is accepted.

In case it isn't...Merlin, if you see this thread, maybe you'd post the correction? (I see that you have posted on the RoR thread.)


EDIT: The post appeared on RoR: link.

Edited by Ellen Stuttle
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You know how I feel about this one, MSK (aka "Maestro").

Nathan and you both did something together on my behalf, and it was one of the first halfway-decent essays I ever wrote, thanks to both of your fine editing skills. And then, ~poof~, he was gone. Nathan was very demanding about writing, and did a really good job of keeping me on-point. Actually both of you did.

As far as M. Marotta goes, I have been reading him for years. Once in awhile, he has had good things to say. But, if you look at it in the context of where he said what he said, and that audience over there (dwindling down to a very small clubhouse or treefort), it isn't that surprising. More like just a sadness.

I frequently think about Nathan. I never met the man face-to-face but we worked intimately together via email, and once or twice on the telephone. He was a man of his word.

Lately, the less I read of Marotta, the better off I am. He's gotten snarkier and more precious, it seems. And why turn up a dead man's grave? I guess some people are never happy until they beat the corpse into jello. It sucks, and by extension, so does Michael Marotta.

I always got a weird thing off his posting style. They had time-lags in between, then he would come out with a little burst. Not quite the right comparison, but it made me think of a premature ejaculator.

But what he does in his pants is his own affair.


eew, I didn't like reading what you wrote...sad.

Edited by Rich Engle
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I appreciate you doing that. Thank you.

I notice that there is not a peep, much less an "oops," from over there after 2 days.

You're welcome, Michael.

Possibly Michael Marotta didn't see the correction. The front screen only lists the 50 most current posts, and there are a couple threads going with a lot of activity. So maybe the thread with the misinformation had gone off the radar between Marotta's appearances. Or...maybe he just didn't bother to say "oops." At any rate, the correction is only separated by a short post from the erroneous story, so it should be noticed by anyone who comes upon that thread in the future.

It sure was a weird story. Amazing how things can get mucked up by slips of word association!


Edited to change "association" to "word association," speaking of "slips."

Edited by Ellen Stuttle
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  • 11 years later...

I noticed that William had liked the opening post of this thread today, so I came here to remember what it was about. After all, this was over 10 years ago.


This was not one of Michael Marotta's better days.

But it shows something that all of us are prone to if we let a core story rule our rational standards. He made up a story that had no basis in reality as a reason the OL domain exists. Why? I believe he believed it at the time. I have never seen him outright lie on purpose before, so I believe he convinced himself that his story was real and simply ran with it. His thing at the time was finding odd facts nobody else knew and talking about them. (Believe it or not, that intent, also, is a kind of core story.) I think he might have wondered if his version dealing with Nathan Hawking could have happened, then after a while, convinced himself it did.

In today's world of fake news media (or, as President Trump recently said, corrupt news media), it's good to remember that this stuff exists in all our brains. Cognitive biases anyone? 

Granted, we tell stories that make sense to us, we have to since that is the way we are, but we also have to verify facts and correct the stories we have told when they are proven wrong.

Nobody likes to correct stories once they are telling them to others, though.

btw - Ellen corrected the record over at RoR back then, but it had not yet been published when this thread ended. I checked and it finally got published there.

No retraction from Michael M, though. Not one I am aware of. He was probably too embarrassed to say anything. And, of course, as anyone can see, he, also, did not like to correct a story he told.

Welcome to the human race, I guess...



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