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Thread: Ayn Rand

  1. #106
    >>Here are the Facts. Rand was born 1905 in St Petersburg(Petrograd later) Russia. Her family at first was sustained by a family pharmacy. Rand grew up in Bolshevik Russia, she experienced a civil war. She was a social reject clinging to books and then films. The family lost their pharmacy sometime. 1929 she went to America to visit relatives and never came back to Russia. She was asked by a friend to tell the world the truth about Russia, that they were dying.





    Now for the highly opinionated part. If you support Rand please look away.

    >> Rand's philosophy sounds great at first glance because she says so many things that we have to agree with some. Her rationality itself is flawed, she tries to justify some things that have (under observation) nothing to do with what she's using to justify them. She is a masochist because anyone who insults her generates PR for her philosophy of rational epistemology otherwise known as objectivism and is labeled by her followers as a clinger to collectivism.


    >>Rand targets the youths because they are the most likely to blindly follow a philosophy that calls to their desire for wanting to know the meaning for life, and romantic affairs. She draws them in using rational self interest (letting your loved one drown because it would be in your own self interest to have joy afterwards and not die). Her poverty stricken youth fostered this selfishness (she even says that she has never needed to change her basic philosophy since age 3).


    >>If you read the fountainhead or Atlas shrugged (which are both great books) you get drawn into the ideal of the Randean hero with the perfect morals. Rand calls herself a Randean hero, she is not. They don't exist past the teen years. They can't, not on this Earth. For more information about Rand read Reconsidering Ayn RandMichael B Yang. Its not such a great book, but it gets most of the main points across.

  2. #107
    Registered User metal134's Avatar
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    For anyone interested, I just came across this interview on YouTube with Rand done by Mike Wallace in 1959 (it's broken into parts). The page also has links to another interview with Rand done by Donahue (also broken into parts). The year isn't given, but they mention President Carter, so it was late '70's.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-pHx...elated&search=

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hendricks View Post
    Your "opinions" are many.
    OK You win. Let’s put what you say into practice on you. This is how you sound.
    I despise that you don’t like Ayn Rand. Therefore, you cannot write. In fact, you are a lousy writer. I don’t like the politics you imply, therefore you cannot write.
    Hmmm, does your argument hold water now that it’s applied to you?

    By your own words, “Given that Mr Locke is dead (and has been for some time) it's a fairly pointless argument.” Therefore, you cannot use de Man; he is dead. So are the others.

    Papa Hemingway had an unfavorable view of male homosexuals. Does that mean he couldn’t write? Oh, sorry, he’s dead too.

    Let’s speak of a living person. WDC, who is still alive, is also a producer, and screenwriter who worked extensively with Robert Altman, on “Mash,” ring any bells? See the ending credits at the end of Mash, if you can get a copy. He writes, produces, and teaches. Here are some of his published credits below. Now this applies to “real life” not theory; there is a difference. Mash was a worldwide phenomenon for 11 years after the original movie; millions and millions of people viewed it. You don’t think that had a significant impact?
    To say people changed their opinion about a person being a good writer because they discovered this person’s political leanings means they thought this person (I cannot name if they are dead; your rule) was a good writer. Then a “subjective decision” out of a personal bias was made about this nameless person. Does this mean the person cannot write? Of course, it doesn’t and you know that. However, it may mean they don’t like the ideology, and will punish this unnamed person, by saying he/she is a bad writer. This is a totally, subjective view, and that is where you started, with the subjective, “I despise.”

    A good critic is not subjective.
    1)By the same form of deductions that means that you agree with Rand and are in fact a homophobe - I've not implied my political leanings here except my distaste of homophobia. Hence, if you disagree with my 'political' opinions then that makes you a flat out homophobe. As it is, you've never read any of my creative writing so really you're basing your arguments on blind assumption - I, on the other hand, am basing my opinion of Rand on known fact. Therefore, Rick, my argument still holds water. See, it's fun being proven wrong, isn't it?

    2)Again, I've explained why de Man is still of cultural importance. Locke's importance and influence as a philosopher died out ages ago, de Man's influence is still very much with us. Do you read any posts or do you just gleam what you want to read from them?

    3)Papa Hemingway was largely a hack. Can we keep our discussion focused on the matter in hand?

    4) According to IMDB, Mr Cannon is dead:

    Date of Death
    12 March 2005, Santa Barbara, California, USA.

    According to the "Writing Academy" he was involved in, it talks about "was" a screenwriter (not "is") and describes his "legacy".

    I don't think it had a significant impact. Again, I've explained the difference between "real-life" (something which MASH is not - and, if it is based on any accurate event, it has artistic license which means it'll never be "real-life") and the actuality of de Man's work - please respond to points I make not just ignore them and write what you think I'm saying. How many people watched it? A few million. That's nothing. The world's population is approx. 6 billion at the moment. When MASH was written and shown, the pop. would, naturally, be less - but it still makes for a small amount of the world's population. Mr de Man's work has influenced right across the board - you'd be hard pushed to find any writer or critic in any country in the world who hasn't felt the influence of de Man in some way (that, naturally, passes on to the reading public). When you can say that about MASH (incidentally, possibly, from an artistic point of view, one of the most overrated films I've ever seen - there I'm using your logic to critique something) then fair enough but as it is you can't.

    5) By your same response (we should, after all, imply the same judgement to all forms of writing), I could read Mein Kampf for example and would be able to read it subjectively. Something like that would, naturally, as a free individual mean that I would struggle to read it subjectively - I'd naturally have a response of disgust and, of course, it would blight my reading of it. If you read, for example, a pro-Nazi novel that was well written (I'd struggle to name such a thing but nevertheless) and then read an anti-Nazi novel that was well written - each with the same literary merits (great characterization, good plot, and what have you) - which would you feel more drawn to and which would you describe as a good piece of writing? The pro-Nazi novel? I hardly think so. Now, apply that further afield: if you had an extremely pro-Nazi writer who was, by all conventions, rated as a good writer (you'd struggle, I know)and compared that to an extremely anti-Nazi writer (again, rated in the same manner) -regardless of the subject material - which novelist would you prefer? Would you have no emotional response at all? I defy anyone to live in a democratic country and feel sympathy towards a pro-Nazi writer (Similarly, I defy anyone to read Rand, rate her, then read up on her background: do you still have the same response to her texts? I would very, very much doubt it). Again, if we had two texts (both with similar authors in terms of skill), one pro-Nazi and one anti-Nazi. You have no idea about the author's background. Which one would you feel, as a critic, you'd be drawn to? You could imply that I could Rand like this - I have tried and I gave my opinion of her as "dull" and lacking any form of good narration. I already think she's awful as a writer - what compounds my distaste for her, emotionally speaking, is her political views. I did not state my subjective opinion at first: I stated that I thought her writing was dull. There are clearly two seperate clauses here: one, that I think her writing is dull and two, that I despise her beliefs - I have demonstrated, via de Man (and the above examples), how it is a perfectly valid form of response to apply this to her writing as well. I urge you to purchase David Lehman's Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man - I've never seen a text so thoroughly destroy the notion that subjective reading is a bad thing (even if he does defend objectivety to some degree).
    Last edited by Morrisonhotel; 05-08-2007 at 05:19 AM.

  4. #109
    I loved the Fountainhead- probably because at the time I read it I was an ironworker building a skyscraper in Philadelphia and wasn't in any kind of relationship- a loner and iconoclast like her protagonist- but years later when I attempted Atlas Shrugged, it just felt flat and uninspiring. Ditto Anthem which was not a comfortable read- the avoidance of "I" was too contrived and felt like I was being made to read some kind of experiment rather than a novel.

    I think her philopsophy has done immeasurable damage to those who find themselves on the right hand side of the bell curve. Humans are not atomized individuals and libertarianism requires a highly educated, intelligent and individualistic population to work- something that never has and likely never will exist.

  5. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hendricks View Post
    This has some truth to it in smaller Communistic states. The USSR, and China forbade religion, and Rand was Russian. Most organized religions abide by the laws of a "civil society," and these laws also regulate the way people live, usually for the better, however, not always. Nothing is perfect.

    Most religions (not all), have modernized their organizations.
    Most, but not all, religions still wish to dictate personal behavior, so they are still totalitarian in nature.

    When I get my time machine fixed, one thing that I will do will be to investigate the development of religion. That probably would be around 50,000 ybp.

  6. #111
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    I still contend she was off her rocker but so were and are a lot of writers. I can cope with that. From the vehemence of the discussion it's clear her political thoughts (The main reason she wrote was to get these across) still have a degree of vitality. Certainly they chime well with Post-Thatcherites here and neo-cons on the other side of the Atlantic. As a by the by: it aint possible to be a completely objective critic as we do not all have the same experiences. I'd say you become more objective by realising your own subjectivity. Except for those Dawkinite Holy Willie scientists who were born in the very test tubes they play with and never, but never are anything but absolut-atoot-ely objective. Oops but my subjective psyche is showing through.

  7. #112
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    Ayn Rand?

    There should be an Ayn Rand sub-forum. I bet you would get some great discussions in that one.
    Dumb quote of the month:

    "Whenever I watch TV and I see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I would love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
    - Mariah Carey, Pop Singer

  8. #113
    Moderator Logos's Avatar
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    The only authors who get their own specific discussion forum are those with (at least a few) works in the public domain, ie: published pre-1923

    Ayn Rand doesn't have any works in the pd, but there has been much discussion of her here, I think the latest topic is this one:
    http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=24450

    There are many more topics about her if you search the General Lit forum.
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  9. #114
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    It is of course impossible to discuss Rand without discussing her politics so I will start there.

    Rand works as a Social Critic. For example, in The Fountainhead Dominique is addressing a group and discussing the horrible living conditions of the poor. (She learned this by going and living with them) They approve of everything she says when it fits into their politics. But when she points out some of the flaws in the groups that she was observing (ie the father goes out and gambles what little money they did have) the group becomes angry because they wanted to view the poor as a noble group. This way the altruists could save the poor and feel good about themselves. Another example in The Fountainhead is the way the self appointed intellectuals are led around like sheep by Elsworth Tooey. You see a lot of this in the world.

    The social critism in parts like these does have value even if you do not agree with it. Unfortunatly Rand tried so hard to distance herself from the legitimate hypocrisy that she had observed, that she began to idealise an unrealistic and very unappealing vision of the world. Just because the altruists in the book are ridiculous (just as many are in real life) does not condem (in my mind) real acts of altruism. The same is true of many of her critisms. And to me, living in a world in which everyone is as inconsiderate as Rand aspires to be, would make for a very unhappy place.

    I would advise a potential reader to view Rand as an astute observer of what is wrong, but be careful about concluding that she knows what is right.


    As for her fiction:

    She is a very good writer who gets bogged down at times in being overly discriptive (and repititive) when introducing characters. She also can be long winded at times.

    I have not yet read Atlas Shrugged although I own a copy. The Fountainhead is good in parts and disturbing in others. (The sex/rape parts are really twisted.) I would not recommend for or against reading this book.

    We the Living is, in my opinion very intresting in that it gives Rand's point of view of the changes that happened in Russia that she observed. On the one hand, she was a biased observer. But on the other, she was a first person observer so I think the text has historical merit. How much merit is a good question I do not know the answer to.

    Anthem is, in my opinion her best book, and one of the best works of fiction ever. It is short, which is a nice contrast to her other works and indeed very inspirational. It easily fits into the class of 1984 or Farenheit 451. I reccomend this book to any and all who love great fiction. (Incidently any Star Trek fans out there will recognize the fictional society in Anthem as the inspiration for the Borg.)

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. You were right, that was a passionate debate in the other forum. I threw in my two cents but I am kind of glad I missed some of the more passionate postings.
    Dumb quote of the month:

    "Whenever I watch TV and I see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I would love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
    - Mariah Carey, Pop Singer

  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by JADJARHD View Post
    I would advise a potential reader to view Rand as an astute observer of what is wrong, but be careful about concluding that she knows what is right.
    I would be careful about concluding that she is an astute observer of what is wrong also
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  11. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by kilted exile View Post
    I would be careful about concluding that she is an astute observer of what is wrong also
    I think many of her observations about the world and the nature of people are accurate and relevant. Haven't we all known people like Peter Keating and his ilk? It's her reaction that I find unsupportable. Just because Howard Roark is the opposite of Peter Keating does not make Roarke admirable. The reverse is also true, just because Roark is unlikable does not make Peter Keating any less shallow.

    In the same vein, just because Rand's advocacy of selfishness and capitalism are unnappealing does not make her observations about the negative impact of Marxism (or any other type of collectivism) any less true.

    Yeah I read that quote a while back and thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever heard, so of course I had to share it. That way we can all laugh at how vapid Mariah Carey is.
    Dumb quote of the month:

    "Whenever I watch TV and I see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I would love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
    - Mariah Carey, Pop Singer

  12. #117
    Registered User Argyroneta's Avatar
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    I admire Ayn Rand and enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged and other bits and pieces. People will obviously decry the approval of selfishness but I think she justifies selfishness rather well. Rand's view in regard to the concepts of selfishness/selflessness go against a fundamental philosophy that is the cornerstone of Christianity (and probably most other religions). I would suggest carefully that this conflict is over before it has begun for many.

    In regard to artistic merit, I don't think there is any reasonable doubt to suggest that her works are of great value. Within the boundaries that she has set, her arguments hold firm and that for a philosphically charged novel is paramount! Alot of this thread seems to revolve around her political opinions and world view. These are irrelvent to the art she has created! My opinion of what makes a good piece of art is my own and Ayn Rand's work are enjoyable to read irrespective of her world view. To anyone who has not finished (or started) Atlas Shrugged... do not give it up, it is very exciting!

  13. #118
    ...dreamer... hastalavictoria's Avatar
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    I love Rand. Her characters are unrealistic but they represent something and in that way she is a completely unique author. I highly recommend THe Anthem... its super short and an amazing read. I love reading her stuff, especially since she is the complete opposite of me...
    At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.
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  14. #119
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    Appropriate signature.

    Hastalavictoria's signature has a most appropriate quote for an Ayn Rand discussion. He sounds like he is talking about Peter Keating right there.
    Dumb quote of the month:

    "Whenever I watch TV and I see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I would love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
    - Mariah Carey, Pop Singer

  15. #120
    ...dreamer... hastalavictoria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JADJARHD View Post
    Hastalavictoria's signature has a most appropriate quote for an Ayn Rand discussion. He sounds like he is talking about Peter Keating right there.
    yes, yes it does! poor Peter Keating...
    At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.
    -Ernesto Che Guevara
    Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
    -Oscar Wilde

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