Thursday, October 25, 2012

ARC: "Actually, Mr. President..."

Your president, Barack Obama, previously alluded to Ayn Rand with his infamous "I don't know when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness." And now, in the current Rolling Stone magazine, he outright addresses her, in regards to Paul Ryan's supposed "obsession" with her (HAH!).  I don't care to either quote Obama, or to link to Rolling Stone on this (however, I will quote Neil Schon, of the band Journey: “The only thing I use the Rolling Stone for is toilet paper when I run out.”)

Fortunately, others are already on it.

From the Ayn Rand Center: "Actually, Mr. President, Ayn Rand is Quintessentially American 

Yaron Brook of the ARI was also quick to get a statement out there:


And here's a commentary from Objectivist Stuart Hyashi, with a timely Halloween-ish title: "About Teens, Ayn Rand Answers President Obama Beyond the Grave" 

(Updated 10/28: Ari Armstrong, in The Objective Standard: "Obama, Unsurprisingly, Gets Ayn Rand Wrong"

And Yaron Brook/Don Watkins in Forbes: "President Obama Duels With Ayn Rand Over What Makes America Great")

Speaking of Halloween and toilet paper, and since these gentlemen have already addressed this story in a mature fashion, it frees me up to engage in some spirited holiday fun. (Hey, if Obama thinks Rand and Objectivism are "immature," who am I am to argue?) So here are some ideas for mischief night at the White House. 

Trick-or-Treat, bitch.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rand Sighting: The Endless Enigma

Hmmm...I have already published this elsewhere, years ago, but just realized I hadn't posted it here, yet, so...

Ayn Rand is mentioned several times in a book from 2006 entitled
Endless Enigma: A Musical Biography of Emerson, Lake & Palmer by Edward Macan. Macan briefly mentioned Rand in his previous book, Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture, in relation to the band, and he is not unfavorable towards her, unlike authors of similar books on progressive rock. This is also notable since the author took part (pdf) in a JARS symposioum on Rand and progressive rock featuring writers both friendly and hostile towards Rand. (Notable also that Chris Sciabarra, with his piece "Rand, Rush, and Rock" that led to the sysymposium, is acknowledged in the opening of Endless Enigma.)

The book itself is long (over 600 pages) and pricey ( I can't believe I bought it!). For those not interested in the whole book, here are the relevant Rand passages:
p. xvi:
(On another author's misrepresenting Rand), criticized Paul Stump for calling Rand a "Canadian philosopher" and relatedly, for criticizing the band Rush for their Rand-inspired lyrics based on Stump's misrepresentation of said lyrics: "Philosophers and plowmen each must know his place" instead of "know his part." (Stump labeled Rand and Rush as Fascist.)

p. 248-249 references "Project X" from Atlas Shrugged, in relation to themes of technological misuse in ELP albums as well as religion and counterculture:
"So the agnostic musing of 'The Only Way'-although , as Ayn Rand has already demonstrated, right-wingers could be atheists, too, while among the counterculture, atheism was much less popular than a kind of gauzy monism that syncretically blended elements of a number of different spirtual traditions."

(THIS is interesting in light of the Peikovian argument against the religious right...)

Chris Sciabarra is mentioned on pg. 253:

"...Sciabarra...points to the Ayn Rand-influenced libertarianism that is so evident in the music of proof that not only does Randian objectivism adapt comfortably to the progressive rock style, it addresses a number of concerns that have traditionally been assumed to be the province of the Left. I do not argue that a strain of libertarianism analogous to Rand's was probably present in in incipient form in the hippie movement [though Jeff Riggenbach might; see In Praise of Decadence]; I would caution that it was not fully evident until after the disolution of the hippie movement around 1970..."

p. 123:
"Inherent in 'The Barbarian' and explicit in 'Knife-Edge,' is the vision of technology gone spectacularly awry in the hands of oppressive, totalitarian regime, a vision captured with considerable power in three great dystopic novels of the thirties, fourties, and fifties, respectively – Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, George Orwell's 1984, and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged-that strongly impacted the hippie movement of the sixties."

Macan's work and style overall is a systematic approach to the underlying factors that contributed to the formation of progressive rock, integrating economic, cultural, sexual, and other factors in a manner not unsimilar to Atlas, so it's no surprise that Rand is mentioned and defended, especially more admirable when you consider that progressive rock, despite its better attributes, is, at its worst, and at its base, an example of eclecticism in art, a fusion or hybrid of rock, English classical music, jazz, and eastern styles, not necessarily systematically approached but juxtaposed, what might be categorized as "misintegration." (For example, see my piece on the Avatar/Prog Rock connection). The better bands did develop their own style, but so much of the genre is a result of "filling in the grid", mixing musical genres, instead of developing an integrated body of work.

At any rate, I was glad to see at least one writer address Rand's influence in a fair way, as well as countering the smears of Paul Stump and Marxist criticisms of Bill Martin. Chris Sciabarra deserves credit for getting the ball rolling on the symposium, and for getting her serious attention (with the help of people like the JARS symposium contributor Durrell Bowman, who recently co-edited Rush and Philosophy: Heart and Mind United
I hope to see more, starting with my own contribution, "The Rand-Rush Connection", which goes in-depth inside um...the Rand-Rush connection...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Double Facepalm...

For when one facepalm just isn't enough...

"Simply put, there is NOTHING a woman can do that a man can not do better and with far less drama and headaches (excluding pregnancy). And yes, one day a better philosopher than Rand will come along and correct her mistakes. That day can't come soon enough (as I keep saying, he will be taken more seriously than Rand). 

"BTW, that doesn't mean that I don't love Rand. I do. Its just that I never forget that she was a woman and that has meaning because all women are insane. Its their nature."

-Doug Bandler's recent posting, out of many similar misogynist and racist posts,
on (because one Elijah Lineberry wasn't enough...what is it about that site that attracts these people? In the name of Objectivism, no less?)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ayn Rand Sighting: "Sons of Ayn-archy?"

The Randian resurgence keeps on comin': "‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 5 spoilers: Jax gets into a whole new business"

 "Before we get into specifics when it comes to Tuesday’s all-new episode of “Sons of Anarchy,” we have to take a second to comment on just how phenomenal of an episode title “Orca Shrugged” really is. It has almost an Ayn Rand sort of feel to it thanks in part to the last word, and it is the sort of title that makes up want to know just what is going to be coming up next."

Never watched the show, myself, so I couldn't tell you a thing about it, but I  just may have to check this one out. And I don't know if the "anarchy" refers to a political anarchy, or the colloquial association with chaos. Either way, I do, however, have to imagine a minor "earthquake in Valhalla", given Rand's antipathy towards anarchism. (Oh well, even she couldn't get it all right...)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I've been on an indefinite blogging hiatus, even with all of the Ayn Rand sightings in the news, but being that today marks the 55th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged, I'd be amiss if I didn't say, happy 55th anniversary to Atlas Shrugged! The date makes it that much more appropriate that the second installment of the movie will appear in theaters Oct. 12.

And, to show just how vital Atlas is at 55, check out some of the latest headlines (mostly involving "is he/isn't he a Randian?" Paul Ryan). He may have shrugged, but the influence isn't ready for retirement, yet... (My favorite has to be the claim that it was Rand's fault for the recent NFL controversy...damn, Objectivism may not be "winning", but it's certainly getting under their skin...)

From "How Ayn Rand Is Wrecking Football"
"Paul Ryan's beloved Packers were robbed last night--because the owners are putting the 'moochers' in their place"

From HuffPo: Paul Ryan Obsession With Ayn Rand 'Disturbing,' Says House Challenger Rob Zerban

Also from HuffPo: "Jennifer Burns: On Ayn Rand and the Election"

And, of course: "Paul Ryan Disowns Remarks To Ayn Rand Group Decrying ‘Collectivist’ Social Security"

And on a lighter note, but also noteworthy, is that the "couch-gag" of the recent season premiere of The Simpsons featured a cameo appearance of The Ayn Rand School for Tots, which goes back to a film short that appeared in movie theaters, over the summer (and has its origins in the classic episode from '92, "A Streetcar Named Marge"). With The Fountainhead segment from a few years ago, that makes for three references to Rand on the show.

"The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare' Trailer: Maggie Simpson Stars In Theatrical Short"

So, happy birthday, Atlas! First they crucified, then, they ridiculed you. But they can no longer ignore you. "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum."