Sunny Chanel over at Babble hands over the blogging mic to her 6-year-old daughter and lets her judge classic novels by their covers.
This is about Daydis (her spelling it’s actually – Daedalus). He is an ancient god guy who prays a lot. This book is about him crying. He is crying because he doesn’t like himself at all, because he hates himself. It looks like a saddy, saddy, saddy bookie.”
Note: she loves Greek Mythology at bedtime hence the Daedalus reference. And really, who doesn’t?
It looks like a book for kids. I think it’s about a donkey and a pig that do not like each other and they both live on a farm for animals. The same farm. It looks like it would be a funny book with a good really nice ending.
On the Road:
I think it’s about a car. A car that goes to Mexico, Indonesia and other places. It’s about a car that goes on all sorts of adventures. The guy on the cover is a teen, he likes to drive people places a lot. And he’s French.
I think this is about a gigantic robot who goes on fire and he doesn’t like himself. It has a sad ending. It looks like a book for teens. The title means fire, a really really really big fire since the number is 451, that would mean it was really hot. So the robot must get really hot. Maybe that is why he is so sad.
“The first new dogmatism I embraced after rejecting the Marxist BS (belief system) was Ayn Rand’s philosophy (not yet called Objectivism in those days.) _The Fountainhead_ had exactly the appeal for me that it has retained, decade after decade, with alienated adolescents of all ages. (The average youthful reader of _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ decides he is the Superman, and the average youthful Randroid decides she is an Alienated Super Genius.) LIke most Randroids, I went around for a few years mindlessly parroting all the the Rand dogma and imagining I was an ‘individualist.’
“Some years later, after becoming a published writer, I actually was invited to meet Ayn Rand once. (I was ‘summoned to the Presence,’ as Arlen said.) I confessed my doubts about certain Rand dogmas and was Cast Out Into the Darkness forever to wail and gnash my teeth in the Realm of Thud. It was weird. I thought the Trots and Catholic priests were dogmatic, but Ayn Rand made both groups look like models of tolerance by comparison.
“I thought she was a clinical paranoid. It was nearly 30 years later that I found out Rand was merely on Speed all the time, which creates an effect so much like paranoia that even trained clinicians cannot always tell the difference, and some even claim there is no difference.”
You see, on March 31, between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, when environmentally conscious people were turning their lights OFF to observe Earth Hour, Helen turned her lights ON—in solidarity with some other free-market dipshits at a reichwing “think-tank” called the Competitive Enterprise Institute—to celebrate “Human Achievement Hour.” Why did these “CONSERVATIVES” want everyone to turn their lights ON to WASTE some energy “in honor of human accomplishments”?
And what’s so “conservative” about wasting energy, anyway? Let’s see!
Technology and innovation have made our lives immeasurably better. We can fly to other countries in hours. Medical achievements have made formerly deadly diseases curable. The poorest people in the United States have what would have, until recently, been considered luxury items. There are seven billion people living on this planet, and lives have never been so long and so prosperous. Talk about a cause worth celebrating.
By senselessly wasting electricity? That seems like a great idea! Wait a minute, actually it seems like a rather petty, ridiculous and ludicrously small-minded way to celebrate “human achievement”!
This point comes up (albeit hyperbolically) in Atlas Shrugged, when Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden shared the following exchange:
“I keep thinking of what they told us in school about the sun losing energy, growing colder each year. I remember wondering, then, what it would be like in the last days of the world. I think it would be…like this. Growing colder and things stopping.”
“I never believed that story. I thought by the time the sun was exhausted, men would find a substitute.”
I’ll wait while you wipe the tears of your laughter away…. Quoting Ayn Rand to back up ANY argument is obviously the fall-back position of a smug fool with shit taste in literature, but in this instance, the smug fool seems hellbent on crawling even further up her own ass. Like I said, Helen’s kinda “special.”
Human beings have made untold achievements until now. Who knows what will be accomplished in the future. In honor of that, I plan to spend Human Achievement Hour reading Atlas Shrugged, with all my lights turned on and Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For the Common Man” playing in the background.
And with that last paragraph, Helen Whalen Cohen defiantly proves herself to be one of conservatism’s dimmest bulbs (But she’s a REAL LIGHT BULB, not one of those pansy “green” ones that Rush Limbaugh thinks Republicans should hate. Nanny state, Obama, sluts, Democrats and blah, blah, blah).
It’s one thing to think “This ‘Earth Hour’ is stupid” and quite another to not only act a total prat by yourself and for your own benefit/amusement—WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS???—and then broadcast how ludicrously lame you are to the Internet. It’s like she’s proud of being… a fucking idiot!
I don’t know, but challenging Jim Hoff in the abject stupidity sweepstakes is not a career distinction most people—even, I’d suppose, the vast majority of conservative bloggers—would want following them around like a sulfurous cloud, but Helen Whalen Cohen isn’t afraid to go there, making her one to watch!
As I’ve admitted on this blog before, I was a teenage Ayn Rand fanatic. I owned all of her books, cassette tapes of her lectures and every single issue of The Objectivist, The Objectivist Newsletter and The Ayn Rand Letter. I’m not exactly proud of this fact, but what can I do? Thankfully it didn’t take me that long to outgrow this nonsense, but for good or ill, I still to this day have a pretty good working knowledge of her philosophy and life’s work.
This morning it popped into my head, appropos of nothing, how much Ayn Rand railed against Ronald Reagan before she died and I recalled one particular essay from one of the final issues of The Ayn Rand Letter where she asked her readers not to support Reagan and instead to vote for Gerald Ford, who Reagan was challenging for the GOP nomination at the time (and who appointed her loyal apostle and acolyte, Alan Greenspan, to his position as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board).
I’m guessing that a lot of Republican Ayn Rand fans—maybe this will be news to Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Rand Paul—probably don’t realize that their hero had such a dim view of The Gipper…
From The Ayn Rand Letter, Volume IV, Number 2, November-December 1975:
Now I want to give you a brief indication of the kinds of issues that are coming up, on which you might want to know my views.
1. The Presidential election of 1976. I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him. My reasons are as follows: Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word—i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor (which, philosophically, is as untenable a position as one could choose—see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2). This description applies in various degrees to most Republican politicians, but most of them preserve some respect for the rights of the individual. Mr. Reagan does not: he opposes the right to abortion.
From Rand’s final public speech, “Sanction of the Victims,” delivered November 21, 1981:
In conclusion, let me touch briefly on another question often asked me: What do I think of President Reagan? The best answer to give would be: But I don’t think of him—and the more I see, the less I think. I did not vote for him (or for anyone else) and events seem to justify me. The appalling disgrace of his administration is his connection with the so-called “Moral Majority” and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling—apparently with his approval—to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.
The threat to the future of capitalism is the fact that Reagan might fail so badly that he will become another ghost, like Herbert Hoover, to be invoked as an example of capitalism’s failure for another fifty years.
Observe Reagan’s futile attempts to arouse the country by some sort of inspirational appeal. He is right in thinking that the country needs an inspirational element. But he will not find it in the God-Family-Tradition swamp.
If you know any conservative Republican Ayn Rand fans, you should forward this post to them, just to annoy ‘em.
Did you see the footage of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan hot-footing it to his SUV to avoid being handed a Bible at the Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting yesterday? The young man who accosted Ryan, I believe is named James Salt. My hat is off to you, James. Bravo, sir! That took balls, and I’ll bet it was fun!
These days, when people question a politician’s “morality,” they usually mean his or her personal behavior and choices. But an interesting thing is happening right now around the GOP budget proposal. A broad coalition of religious voices is criticizing the morality of the choices reflected in budget cuts and tax policy. And they’ve specifically targeted Ryan and his praise for Rand, the philosopher who once said she “promote[d] the ethic of selfishness.”
Across the street from the Faith & Freedom Conference Friday afternoon, a group of religious leaders continued the attack on what they now consistently refer to as “The Ayn Rand Budget.” Father Cletus Kiley, a Catholic priest, declared the Ryan budget “does not pass our test” of Catholic teachings, and suggested that supporters of the budget “drop Ayn Rand’s books and pick up their sacred texts.”
The first episode in the new series by Adam Curtis, All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace is now available to watch in full on YouTube.
Starting by examining our current era of supposed economic, social and online freedoms, Curtis manages to join the dots between Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, the IMF’s involvement in East Asia, radical Islam and Silicon Valley’s economic boom. This episode features some very interesting and candid interviews with Rand confidants Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, Nathaniel having had an affair with Rand that lasted many years. Presented in the typical, excellent Adam Curtis style, using lots of obscure stock footage and a great soundtrack, this is essential viewing.
Episode two of All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (“How The Idea Of The Ecosystem Was Invented”) is available to watch here.
Ha-ha, I always knew this would eventually happen. It was only a matter of time…
Christian voters must choose: Ayn Rand or Jesus.
GOP leaders and conservative pundits have brought upon themselves a crisis of values. Many who for years have been the loudest voices invoking the language of faith and moral values are now praising the atheist philosopher Ayn Rand whose teachings stand in direct contradiction to the Bible. Rand advocates a law of selfishness over love and commands her followers to think only of themselves, not others. She said her followers had to choose between Jesus and her teachings.
GOP leaders want to argue that they are defending Christian principles. But, at the same time, Rep. Paul Ryan (author of the GOP budget) is posting facebook videos praising Rand’s morality and saying hers is the “kind of thinking that is sorely needed right now.” Simply put, Paul Ryan can’t have it both ways, and neither can Christians. As conservative evangelical icon Chuck Colson recently stated, Christians can not support Rand’s philosophy and Christ’s teachings. The choice is simple: Ayn Rand or Jesus Christ. We must choose one and forsake the other.
The Republican Party IS in the grips of a long-dead, fanatically anti-Christian cult leader. Straight up, I’d have to say that this message is on point. (I might add that it was Ayn Rand more than ANY other figure who caused me to “lose my religion” when I was a pre-teen. This is about the ONLY good thing that came of my brief junior high school infatuation with Ayn Rand’s books.)
The far-right cultural warriors are turning on each other! Fantastic!
No shit. Just in time for the release this weekend of the nearly universally panned film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (even the conservative reviewers are slating it) comes this hilarious information from TIME magazine. Yes Virginia, there is an Ayn Rand fan dating site!
There are about 12,700 dating profiles on the Atlasphere, which Joshua Zader, 37, founded in 2003 after attending a few Rand-related conferences. “I realized that all the single people were using the conferences to search for another Ayn Rand fan they could fall in love with,” says Zader, who modeled the site after Match.com’s pay-to-view profile system. But the Atlasphere also functions as a social network (with some 22,000 nondating profiles) in which members can contribute essays and articles.
I asked Zader how someone who espouses a me-first philosophy can also maintain a loving relationship. “Ayn Rand has a great quote in The Fountainhead,” he told me. “She writes that a person cannot say ‘I love you’ without first being able to say the I.”
It sort of makes sense for Objectivists to have their own dating site, doesn’t it? I mean the rest of us just find them so damned objectionable…. Find your very own Dagny Taggart, Hank Reardon, Francisco d’Anconia or John Galt (chances are it’s a pretty dude-heavy, Republican-heavy and no doubt idiot-heavy crowd) at the Atlasphere. The women there probably all look like Pamela Geller. It’s frightening to even contemplate this.
Well, they’ve released the trailer for the first part of a projected trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. It’s taken over 50 years for the story to get from the page to the screen and from the looks of this, perhaps things were best left that way!
Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway have all been touted at one time or another to portray Rand’s heroine, Dagny Taggart. Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt have both been bandied about to play the novel’s world-stopping hero, John Galt. So who got these roles of a lifetime, ultimately? Some chick you’ve never heard of and a dude who was on Beverly Hills 90210 and Highlander: The Raven! (He also happens to be the trilogy’s director, bless his heart).
This looks about as good as one of the Left Behind movies. Perhaps that’s fitting.
I never pictured John Galt wearing a baseball cap, did you?
Far-right ideologue, Ayn Rand wrote of moral absolutism: “There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction.” Yup, but wouldn’t you know it, Rand, who spent her life deploring the New Deal, Social Security, the Great Society and every other form of government aid to the poor and elderly ended up taking *GASP* government “handouts” herself in the form of Social Security and almost certainly Medicare, too.
The Right should be commended politically for their ability to develop and stick to a unified message. But close inspection of this unified message reveals a disappointing secret identified by a student of the Godfather of Neo-conservatism,—- the University of Chicago’s Leo Strauss. The student, Anne Norton (Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire) identified what she called “VIP-DIP” meaning Venerated in Public, Disdained in Private. “Do as I say, not as I do.” The list of vip-dipers on the Right runs from Harold Bloom to Newt Gingrich, but certainly not Ayn Rand. Right?
A heavy smoker who refused to believe that smoking causes cancer brings to mind those today who are equally certain there is no such thing as global warming. Unfortunately, Miss Rand was a fatal victim of lung cancer.
However, it was revealed in the recent 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand by Scott McConnell (founder of the media department at the Ayn Rand Institute) that in the end Ayn was a vip-dipper as well. An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand’s law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand’s behalf she secured Rand’s Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O’Connor (husband Frank O’Connor).
As Pryor said, “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out” without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn “despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently… She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”
Although FOI requests have confirmed that Rand got Social Security payments under her married name from December 1974 until her death in 1982, one researcher’s recent FOI request for her Medicare records turned up nothing. Even if true believer Randroids would fail to take Evva Pryror at her word, certain things might be assumed, like an elderly author, even a successful one, being wiped out financially by a catastrophic illness. Lung cancer treatment isn’t cheap—it’s the kind of thing that could put someone out in the street—but Rand, a notoriously heavy cigarette smoker, must’ve been grateful for the virtues of altruism (and the benevolence of her fellow American taxpayers) when presumably no bill came for her cancer treatment in the mid-70s
Does this make Rand no better than the “looters” and “moochers” of the welfare state she decried for her entire career? Not necessarily, but it would make her a hypocrite.
I’m sure his heroine would have been proud of him! Then again, she was all about people who accomplished things. What does this silliness prove?
One man drove 12,238 miles across 30 states to scrawl a message that can only be viewed using Google Earth. His big shoutout: “Read Ayn Rand.”
Nick Newcomen did a road trip over 30 days that covered stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. First, he identified on a map the route he would need to drive to spell out the message. He put a GPS device in his car to trace the route he would follow. Then, he hit the road.
“The main reason I did it is because I am an Ayn Rand fan,” he says. “In my opinion if more people would read her books and take her ideas seriously, the country and world would be a better place — freer, more prosperous and we would have a more optimistic view of the future.”
Man Scrawls World’s Biggest Message With GPS ‘Pen’ (Wired)
For nearly 20 years now, Ayn Rand’s mammoth ode to capitalism and self-interest, Atlas Shrugged, has labored to find its way to a place it probably doesn’t belong anyway: the movie screen. Why so long a journey? Well, while some people (Alan Greenspan! John Mackey!) consider it the intellectual equivalent to The Lord of The Rings, that trilogy’s success didn’t exactly wrap up with a 100-page speech to the masses.
But now, in a roll-the-dice move that would make John Galt proud (or Howard Roark laugh), the current option-holder of Shrugged, entrepreneur John Aglialoro, has set a, gulp, June 11th start date on the production.
And while that’s only weeks away, and he’s currently lacking a single cast member (no word yet on Angelina Jolie or Charlize Theron as Dagny Taggart), Aglialoro has at least selected a director: Stephen Polk. Okay, if not Aglialoro, is Polk worried about the film’s casting? Nope!
Polk said they are not intimidated to film a storied book even if stars don’t align. “For more than 15 years, this has been at studios and there has been a whole dance around who’ll play the iconic roles,” Polk said. “Making it an independent film was the game-changer. Everybody is saying, how can you shoot this movie without a star? We’re shooting it because it’s a good movie with great characters. We’ve been in pre-production for months, but kept it a mystery. Part of the reason is because there’s so much crap about how you need a great big budget and stars. We aren’t looking for big names to trigger press or financing.”
For those of you wondering how Polk, whose acting credits far outweigh those of his directing (29 to 1), landed such a gig, what follows is the trailer for his last (and first) film, ‘08’s Cherly Ladd and Barry Bostwick-starring, Baggage:
Okay, now, given the above, we still can’t be sure how the resulting Atlas Shrugged film is going to turn out. But here’s something I do know: it’s gonna have a hard time stopping critics from seizing upon one of the novel’s central images: the train wreck.
Andrew Corsello’s The Bitch is Back article from GQ on the boorish subject of Ayn Rand Assholes is probably the best takedown of Ayn Rand’s followers (and Alan Greenspan and Wall Street) I’ve yet seen and certainly the funniest (other than Stephen Colbert’s). It was about time for an article like this to appear and I am glad it was Corsello who wrote it.
I myself became an unabashed Ayn Rand fanatic when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I’d been reading the works of Victor Hugo and so I was totally primed for discovering another “Romantic” (note capital “r”) writer like Ayn Rand next, but it wasn’t via her well-known fiction that I discovered the Russian-born novelist and philosopher, but rather a more obscure volume called Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, which I read extremely slowly so I could take in the complexity of the thought. It’s a very dry, technical book, but made a huge impression on me (more on this below, it merits special mention).
The next thing I read was Anthem, which is interesting enough, but slight compared to her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged which I read after that. Eventually I would go through nearly ever word of hers in print up to about 1979. I mean everything. Via mail order I collected single issues of The Objectivist and The Ayn Rand Letter until I had them all and I kept them in bound cases like holy relics. This is what can happen when bright kids read Ayn Rand, they get obsessed, but hopefully, like me, they will grow out of it. Discovering Lenny Bruce, Marx, Marcuse, Crowley, Burroughs and the Firesign Theatre deprogrammed my teenage ass but good and by the time I was 14 and I soon stopped caring about Ayn Rand altogether. (In my case I was young enough not to have had any shameful, reactionary moments to cringe about and regret, not like young Marty Beckerman)
By the time I was in my twenties and living in the Wall Street area of Manhattan, I’d see young, obviously Republican, stock broker types reading Atlas Shrugged on the subway and I’d feel silent contempt for them. Discovering Ayn Rand after high school is bad enough, but to discover her post-college is true pathetica. Her strident greed is good moralizing about the ‘virtues of selfishness’ (one of her best known non-fiction titles) would have an appeal to would be Gordon Gekkos, of course, but… yuck. Talk about an impoverished intellectual diet.
Many people who loathe Ayn Rand tend to go on about what a cack-handed writer she was, but this is not strictly true because her books, even the 75,000 page Atlas Shrugged are real page turners. I can absolutely see why Atlas Shrugged is still one of the all time best selling books in history—I was captivated by it myself, of course. The characters are vivid. The book’s plotting—which has tons of relentless momentum despite the novel’s legendary heft—is a tour de force. It’s Rand’s dialogue that seals her reputation as an author you just can’t take seriously. To be fair, she was writing in her second language, but the problem with her books is that no one actually speaks to one another, they just make speeches at each other. Hectoring, long-winded speeches. It’s fine to read stuff like that as a teenager, but when I crack open one of her books today, I shake my head in disbelief at how bombastic and horrible her writing is. It’s Dan Brown level tripe.
If you don’t believe me, try this one for size, the trailer for King Vidor’s screen version of The Fountainhead with a script by Rand herself. Can you imagine how difficult it was for the actors to get their lines out and try to sound convincing saying them?!?! (It’s one or the other!)
Here’s a clip of Ayn Rand on Phil Donohue’s talkshow that I recall seeing at the time it originally aired. She got really peevish with both Phil and the audience at points. Check her out. Who talks like that?
*One quick thing I wanted to say about Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is that it is an unfairly ignored and misunderstood work on how concepts are formed, shunned by academia simply because it was written by Ayn Rand. Had it been written by Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead or Wittgenstein, it would be (rightfully) celebrated as an important philosophical treatise.I may think Ayn Rand sucks as a novelist, but I highly recommend this book.