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Post 20

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 1:41amSanction this postReply
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Well, as I said in my column, Michael, the book holds a morbid fascination for those interested in Rand. Just make sure you've had your head in a grinder for about an hour first so that reading it will seem a delight by comparison.

As you would expect, the most interesting part consists of Rand's excruciating notes to herself as she was trying to figure Branden out. Too bad the editor is constantly looking over the reader's shoulder to make sure the reader comes to the right conclusions about it all.

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Post 21

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 7:04amSanction this postReply
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Any sex in the book?

Post 22

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 7:54amSanction this postReply
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Brown -- Phil Coates asked you a straight question: "You don't like the book?" And what does he get back? A long-winded, circuitous, off-point reply.

This evasive response is clear evidence that you are an EVADER. I mean, like, Q. E. D.

I therefore have in my cognitive processes negated your negation of Valliant's negative book about the Brandens' negative books, and concluded that you are an evil, nay, irredeemably evil and, worse, unworthy and, worst, non-objective critic of the critic of the critics of Ayn Rand and her processes of critical thinking.

So there.


Post 23

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 9:04amSanction this postReply
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"negated your negation of Valliant's negative book about the Brandens' negative books"

Being able to find humor in all this is a high and praiseworthy achievement which may keep the fire ants and sadistic midgets away from David Migraine Brown's head.

I would expect no less from Professor Grinning Satanic Freud.

Post 24

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 9:47amSanction this postReply
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"humanize them"

I wonder what that means.

Tom


Post 25

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 9:54amSanction this postReply
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"Strongly sympathetic"

I wonder what that means.

"uncritical admirers"

I wonder who those are and why.

"unadmiring critics"

I wonder who those are and why.

I wonder if they are mutually exclusive catagories.

"weaknesses"

I wonder which ones these are, and why anyone would care.

Again, I wonder what "humanize" means.


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Post 26

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 9:55amSanction this postReply
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Definition: "humanize them":

humanize: v. 1. to portray all aspects of the personality of a biographical subject; 2. to treat one's biographical subjects as being something more than Premises with feet.



Post 27

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 10:06amSanction this postReply
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"Valient lies"

About what?

One rebuttal would be nice.

The venom goes on....and on...and on.

So far not much more.

I see that you're angry. I read the words that say  why -- "synchophantic", :dishonest", "tendentious" -- but I don't see an argument for any of it.

It ain't self-evident.

Tom


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Post 28

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 10:10amSanction this postReply
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>The cat is on the mat.

 

What are cats? What are mats? What's up? What's down? What's all around? Define your terms and check your premises for fuzz balls people cuz I ain't got a friggin' clue about anything, and that's your problem.


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Post 29

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 10:31amSanction this postReply
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>Any sex in the book?

 

Huh? The whole book is rape of the reader's every rational sensibility. 

 

>One rebuttal would be nice.

 

Rowland wants me to note any lie, any lie at all, by Valliant; and then "rebut" it. To note is to rebut. But this request is disingenuous, since he suggests he has read my column and then my posts here.

 

What about the lie that the disagreement over how Rand picked the name "Rand" is ominously indicative of a larger malevolence on Barbara Branden's part? What about Scott Schiff's observation that per Valliant, if the Brandens disagree about anything in their accounts of Ayn Rand, that proves they're dishonest; and if they agree about anything, that proves they're dishonest? A lie. What about Valliant's claim, noted in my column, that it is highly impossible that Rand's husband, O'Connor, could have been deeply distressed by the affair, even if at times he was able to put it out of his mind? Is Valliant claiming that O'Connor is an alien from outer space? What about all Valliant's lies of commission and omission vis--vis Rand's own culpability in the matter? What about Valliant's crediting of the Brandens whenever they report something that supports his own preordained conclusions, and attributing to them the cognitive status of talking parrots whenever they report something that clashes with his preordained conclusions? You've read the book, Rowland. You list the lies yourself. Do I have to do everything?

 

Look, let's short-circuit all this. You have a copy of the thing. Open it. Let your finger drop at random. Read that sentence. If it's by Valliant, it's a lie, including the words "and" and "the." Figure it out. 


Post 30

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 10:55amSanction this postReply
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Robert,

Re: the definition of "humanize them."

I wonder who doesn't do this. Mary Ann Sures? Jeff Brittig? Michael Paxton? Leonard Peikoff? Me?

So what counts as "human?"

Look, I think that a real look at a person is very important, and I don't know anyone that says that Rand never got angry (if that's what counts) or was inappropriate in the speed of her responses sometimes (if that is what counts).

What I don't understand is why anyone would be either glad about learning that or condemnatory, based on any real evidence that I've seen.

Question for all the old-timers here.  Did your view of Rand before the Brandens' books include the idea that she was more or less than human??? REALLY?  And what was that view of 'human' and of Rand precisely? So did your idea of "human" change or of Ayn Rand or both or neither after reading the Brandens?

Rhetorical questions all. Don't worry, I won't write an article.

Michael,

your idea that Valliant should be getting lots of press coverage is a little out of line with the press coverage we get on most days, don't you think?

How many of the books published by or about Ayn Rand (pro or con) get any coverage at all?

Tom

(Edited by Tom Rowland on 5/25, 11:05am)


Post 31

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 11:02amSanction this postReply
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David,

I have read the column and all your posts here. I'll have more to say by way of response later.

I, too, have other things to do.

Tom


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Post 32

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 11:05amSanction this postReply
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Robert Bidinotto says-

Definition: "humanize them":

humanize: v. 1. to portray all aspects of the personality of a biographical subject; 2. to treat one's biographical subjects as being something more than Premises with feet.

Thank you. When I made the point, I thought it was pretty self-explanatory, but maybe not. I have a stubborn, spasmodic avoidance of  liturgical O'lish.

The memoir/novel/memoir model of "My Years With Ayn Rand" was, I thought, brilliant. I also found Branden the writer to have a superb, engaging, and unique writing "flow." Taken only as pure writing, I believe it reads that well.  Yes, that's a subjective opinion, but I've had enough in front of me to be confident saying that.

Humanize, yes. A huge benefit for someone who had read virtually all of Rand and Branden's work. It gave a feel  and flavor to the excitement of the time, it made them more than "walking premises with feet," as Robert says. It took nothing away from them, not to me. The tensions, the flaws (of course from Branden's view, it couldn't be done any other way) made things real, and more understandable. I absolutely appreciate Ayn Rand more than I did before.  




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Post 33

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 12:13pmSanction this postReply
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Tom,
How many of the books published by or about Ayn Rand (pro or con) get any coverage at all?
That is a good question and it bears looking up. I am especially interested in how this book will stand both press-wise and sales-wise in relation to the other books of Rand's unpublished writings (starting with The Early Ayn Rand, which was the first after her death if I'm not mistaken).

I will try to look into this. If what I suspect is true, then this is most definitely not beside the point.

I do not like the idea at all of someone positioning her unpublished work in a form that makes it lay an egg in public. This smacks of pure publishing incompetence to me, and as I already stated, she deserves better.

Michael


Post 34

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 12:33pmSanction this postReply
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I recall that Barbara Branden's The Passion of Ayn Rand made the New York Times bestseller list.

Post 35

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 7:09pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

The Amazon figures for book sales are, I believe, readily available. And they are somewhat of a cultural indicator, of course. And they will be meaningful, but without an "exit poll" I think it will be difficult to know just what the meaning is.

Barbara Branden's biography was, of course, a sensation. It was the first, it confirmed the affair in some detail, it implied and/or openly asserted that Rand had larger than life feet of clay, and the press in general, not being particularly pro-Rand at the time (or since) ate it up. And so did the public. It was, by the way, published by a major pub house (Doubleday) that gave it some pretty strong publicity.

I had in mind, in addition, that Valliant should be on Oprah, written up in the big papers, etc. It was the likelihood of this that I thought very remote.

I am LOL amused at the double standard being exhibited visa vis "feeding on Ayn Rand's dead carcass."  And ROFL at the idea of who, indeed, has done Rand a disservice.

Tom


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Post 36

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 7:43pmSanction this postReply
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All..

Well, I just looked up "humanize" in my dictionary and boy is it circular.

"1. to make human; cause to have human characteristics or attributes. 2. to make humane; imbue with human sympathy, civilize."

What does this all add up to, I repeat.  What is this "human" that Rand suddenly became?

She became more than "walking premises on feet?"  I must admit I'm not sure what this  means. Since, unless we are given to reading People magazine, most of us come in contact with whole bunches of people who we don't know very well and who are, for all practical purposes, walking premises on feet (whether they are conscious of this or not) That collection of premises is called a sense of life, isn't it?.

I got to know the Sures pretty well and was moved enormously by the chance to see them in a relaxed mood at home, at dinner out, etc. But for all that, they remained "walking premises on feet."

If what you mean is that Mrs. Branden gave us the "interior view," the "real" Ayn Rand under the "facade" of reason and "moral perfection," it is precisely this claim that Valliant calls into question.

Tom


Post 37

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 8:52pmSanction this postReply
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David M. Brown - I never heard of you before I read your review of this book. All I know about you is that review and your comments here.
I don't doubt for an instant that you and I would be great friends.

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Post 38

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 9:56pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks James. But, because of my childhood and whatnot, I won't really be convinced of your good will until you buy my pseudonymous novel, The Case of the Cockamamie Killer. That's right, click on the little credit-card icon...confirm the transaction...easy as pie! Some people are afraid of my novel--yes, it's about taxes and word processing and murder--but I know you have the determination, guts and principled allegiance to all that is right and true and good to click on that credit-card icon.


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Post 39

Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 4:12amSanction this postReply
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I had originally agreed to review this book, but about 122 pages in I found that my mind had been dragged to such a low, swampy level that it couldn't be kept there any longer without suffering permanent damage. The book is an intellectual limbo contest of ever-increasing difficulty. All the adjectives that David has riotously employed are accurate, and there's room for plenty more still. Yet they all comfortably fit under one multi-purpose word: stupid. Dumb, and then some. Stupid. This is by far the stupidest book I ever remember reading. The only thing I don't understand is why David neglected to mention just how atrociously written it is.

I'll go one further. This book is such a clinic in dimwitted pettiness, simplistic fanfare, and grade-school dogged literalism, that it is impossible to retain an ounce of respect for the intellegince of either its author, collaborators, or anyone who champions it on any level whatsoever. I don't care if Nathaniel Branden murdured your mother -- it requires a serious mental defect to not be repelled by this trash. A certain dogged literalist wondered about lies? Well, I suppose to a literalist, deliberate and one-sided misrepresentation wouldn't qualify as lies.

But what about stating that the only observable reason Barbara Branden broke with Ayn Rand was purely for financial reasons? With no mention of Barbara's detailed explanation, in her biography, for why she refused to show up to the "public trial"? And what about the scandalously false accusation -- launched by the book's editor, with absolutely zero evidence, on this very forum -- that the Brandens were on an "ugly" silencing crusade against this book? It was a gesture that epitomized and introduced the sleazy, opportunistic, despicable tone that characterizes the entire project.

I know some of you are feeling an obligation to read this book, given your involvement in Objectivism. It is a feeling you will abandon approximately five or six pages in. Just be forewarned: the choice, for all rational people who are unpaid for the task, is not between reading this book and not reading this book. It is between not reading this book and paying $28 to not read this book. If you still (understandably) want to see those five pages for yourself, I recommend getting the book from a library, borrowing it from a friend, or rummaging through the dumpster behind my house, where you might find my copy before it gets taken to the 'fill.

In the end, the only thing that might be said about Critics is that's effect was a democratic one. Much agony was felt during the monumental split of '68 -- and now Valliant has extended that agony to all the readers of his book.

Alec


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