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Post 180

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 2:02pmSanction this postReply
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Andre: And if BB and NB refuse to respond properly and in depth to Valliant's lengthy hack job -- as currently seems to be the case -- this is immensely to their discredit. There has to some decent reply here or we'll all have a good idea how to interpret it. 
 
I'm not so sure I wouldn't do the same thing that they are. There is an element of higher-road-taking to it. Or, they could just be tired of this shit after decades of watching this. I consider it fact that a "defense" is not required anyway. And, if you think about it, no matter what they say, it would be a zero-sum game. What actual positive purpose would be had?

Although, knowing how NB writes, I can easily picture him putting this all in place with one sentence, and not even a very long one.






Post 181

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 3:07pmSanction this postReply
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OK, Scott, I'll put it down to your funny way of showing you love me. I know there's a rumour going round that I like it rough, but even I have my limits. :-)



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Post 182

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 3:24pmSanction this postReply
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James, Chris,

Zizek is a leftist pomo, but he is smart - smart enough to see right through Barbara Branden's discolored memories and Nathaniel Branden's manipulations. Not everybody is. James, thank you for making the same point Zizek did in JARS (and Eyal Mozes before him on the Internet) but for an audience much wider than the readership of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

James, Chris' work is helping Ayn Rand reach academics who would never, ever read or hear ARI lecturers or any other "partisan" literature. Chris, James' work is helping Ayn Rand reach ordinary people who missed out on her ideas, because they dismissed her as an "immoral cheating wife" who drove her old husband to drink with her "sordid affair." Both of you guys have better things to do.




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Post 183

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 3:38pmSanction this postReply
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Just a very brief rejoinder. 

James, you have to allow that my participation in this forum and at Notablog, contextualized further by reading through several hundred (or is that thousand?) posts on this topic, might lead me to a little hyperbole.  But if you clearly don't believe that the Brandens are the focus of evil in the modern world, I sure do get the impression that you---and others who support your position---really do believe that the Brandens are irredeemably evil and that their motivations are almost always base.  I could be wrong about this ...

Let me state four further clarifications for the record: 

1.  I honestly don't see how my previous post was "a giant and irrelevant distraction from the book or its goals."  I thought one of your points, James, was that too much criticism of Rand is rooted in charges made by the Brandens.  I simply pointed to over 150 articles in JARS and much of the critical scholarship done on Rand, and I find that the discussion of Rand is not informed (much, if at all) by the Branden books.  This much is true:  We do need to be vigilant and call ad hominem for what it is, whether it shows up in Commentary or National Review.

2.  The Zizek article was published in the Spring 2002 JARS; however, it is a revision and expansion of an article that Zizek wrote for the Fall 1997 issue of Lacanian Ink, so his views on this topic predate both his JARS article and the electronic publication of part 1 of your book.

3.  I'll let David Kelley speak for himself.  I think the issues he deals with in Contested Legacy, however, go far beyond Rand's biography and speak to the problems inherent in the very sycophancy that the Brandens played a part in creating in the historical evolution of the Objectivist movement.  It is a sycophancy that is still with us today in some circles.

4.  I do not feel that I've been dealt with uncharitably---in any way, shape, or form---by either you or Casey.  I think we've been mutually respectful from the beginning.  It's natural to get a little hot-under-the-collar on some of these issues, but I think we've conducted ourselves just fine.

Cheers,
Chris




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Post 184

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 4:03pmSanction this postReply
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Chris informed us: "Robert Campbell, was involved in a serious bike accident in which he broke both his wrists. He underwent surgery and is currently in the hospital. He is scheduled to be released soon, but will be unable to use his hands much in the coming month or two. [Added: Well-wishers may want to leave their "get well" thoughts here at SOLO.]"

Whoa! Get well, Robert! Your insightful and incisive posts will be missed, and the quality of the dialogue diminished by an equal measure. It's a good thing I don't believe in the supernatural, or I'd think this untimely accident was a sign of "bad karma" visited upon an Objectivist pariah by some vindictive spirit at ARI, especially given its proximity to Halloween. It's all too perfect, since apparently the only physical impairment you sustained was an inability to use your hands in the service of a keyboard. But I can assure you that I'm not so superstitious as to believe in anything this fanciful or phobic. No sir! My commitment to reason and reality is unphased - unshaken, I tell you. Now if I were only as convinced of this as I sound... Hmm. I think maybe I'll leave my bike in the garage until this controversy is over. [g]

- Bill



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Post 185

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 4:34pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Valliant,

I am not a supporter of the Brandens and don't recommend their books (in part for some of the reasons you have given).  If N. Branden has falsified the record, then I'm opposed to it.

However, when confronted with a clear change in the record by Hull (and his disengenous denial) instead of saying "keep the record as it is" you change the subject.




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Post 186

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 5:07pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Parille,

No, I thought I had quite thoroughly answered this before asking you about Mr. Branden. I'd just refer you to the several previous posts dealing with this.

I don't happen to think either is a "falsification" of any "record," but those who do find some "credibility gap" here do need to realize that Mr. Branden has done precisely the same thing through the auspices of TOC that Peikoff is accused of doing. That's not evasion, merely an additional point of interest.

I have reached a private judgment about one thing simply from considering some of the comments made here on this thread: Peikoff would be (legally) unwise to allow Ms. Branden's voice to remain on those tapes. So, thank goodness the originals exist and everyone knows whose voice has been properly excised!

The value of those tapes for most students is the contents of them -- and all of that is intact. For the intense scholar who needs or wants to know who had asked some particular question of Rand, plenty of sources exist on this matter.

As for footnotes giving credit in reprints: they are, thank goodness, reprints. I have seen much bigger editorial corrections in reprints before. But, like you, I would at least appreciate an explanation when these occur.

Not being an "ARI defender" until now, I had also not realized before just how many of the anti-ARI complaints simply surround issues of "crediting" the Brandens.


(Edited by James S. Valliant
on 11/01, 5:15pm)




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Post 187

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 5:08pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

If the world just consisted of folks like you and me, there would be nothing but civil discourse!



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Post 188

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 6:21pmSanction this postReply
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James,

From my perspective, it strikes me that the complaints are less about "crediting the Brandens" or anyone else, and more about objectivity.  That core virtue is less consistently practiced in Objectivist circles than one would wish.

I strongly believe in a life lived with passion, but when not combined with objectivity (not to be confused with moral neutrality), that life inevitably goes askew.

Jeff




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Post 189

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 6:55pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

Sadly, lawsuits, too, are part of objective reality. It's incumbent upon us to be realistic about that, as well. ARI has no obligation to sacrifice itself to lawsuits in pursuit of some Platonic "objectivity" that does not include this real and legitimate legal concern.




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Post 190

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 7:08pmSanction this postReply
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That's interesting Casey.

Have their been any threats of lawsuits by the Brandens against ARI for leaving their voices on tapes or their pre1968 articles in compilations like the The Virtue of Selfishness and other books?

I get the impression (my impression only) that they do not approve of this practice.

Can you shed some light on this?

Michael





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Post 191

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 7:19pmSanction this postReply
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Sadly, lawsuits, too, are part of objective reality.

ARI should certainly know about that, as it uses the threat of lawsuits to get it's way.  So keep you crocodile-tear modifiers like 'sadly' away from the integrity of those here.




Post 192

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 7:28pmSanction this postReply
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James,

You wrote:
If the world just consisted of folks like you and me, there would be nothing but civil discourse!
I'll sanction that.

Bonk.

Michael




Post 193

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 8:49pmSanction this postReply
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MSK,

As I have previously pointed out, Nathaniel Branden threatened to sue Ayn Rand if she published his letters to her, or even if she published her own essay, "To Whom It May Concern." Recently, Barbara Branden threatened to sue Regi Firehammer if he published her emails to him. Given these facts, and not knowing their particular disposition toward their voices being featured on ARI's educational products, I would say omitting their voices is definitely staying on the safe side of that question.

Again, it would be great if ARI could simply explain the omission. Perhaps the Brandens have given ARI a waiver to use their voices? Why don't you ask Barbara? If she and Nathaniel have given permission and have waived all royalties from using their voices in these products, that would help narrow down the cause of the omission a little more. A bit of detective work could yield some useful information on this count.




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Post 194

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 9:46pmSanction this postReply
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Ayn Rand said that Barbara and Nathaniel are not Objectivists and that they do not represent Objectivism. ARI is only respecting Ayn Rand's wishes by omitting them from the new materials. It's no big deal. 



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Post 195

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 10:13pmSanction this postReply
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Notwithstanding that I'm usually on James/Casey's side of the argument here, I want to say that in my view the excising of the Brandens' voices from the tapes is petty, insane & pathetic, unless there's some very good reason we've not been told about. One can't conclude that because Nathaniel threatened legal action if his letters were made public he would sue if a tape were released with his voice on ita very different matter. Barbara's threat to Regi was recent. The excising long predates it.

It's precisely this sort of behaviour, along with things like the Bernstein apology nonsense that Chris has mentioned, that gives ARI a bad name as religious cultists. It's blatant, Stalinist-style rewriting of history of the kind displayed toward the Reismans on the FreeRad home page. It's time that kind of rubbish ceased. James & Casey, you don't help your cause by defending it. It's indefensible. It's crap.

Linz



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Post 196

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 10:15pmSanction this postReply
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ahem...

Lance,

Omitting them from the repackaging of old materials where she said they did represent Objectivism, even after the break. That is what is happening.

Edited - Material deleted as it crossed with Linz's post.

btw - Thank you Linz. That is what I mean by truth.

They can work the rest out.

Michael

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 11/01, 10:17pm)

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 11/01, 10:18pm)




Post 197

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 10:17pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

You can find the requisite cops much closer than Brazil.




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Post 198

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 5:52amSanction this postReply
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Linz,

Are you accounting for Ms. Braden's position on those taped interviews? Claiming that all aspects of those interviews were her property, would cause me more than "insane" worries. (Events since 1968 must be accounted for as well.)

"Stalinism"?? That's "insane."



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Post 199

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 6:05amSanction this postReply
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Everyone,

I do not want to detract from the important issues being discussed here, but a recent act of heroism in this thread has been overlooked.  Let me explain by citing two reference texts for background.

From Webster's Dictionary ...

bloviator (BLOH-vee-a-tur) n.  1. One who bloviates.  2. A sufferer of logarrhea.  3. Michael Stuart Kelly.

From the entry on the treatment of logarrhea from Anderson's Maladies of the Mouth ...

"No known cure.  Common treatments to alleviate the condition can be dangerous, even fatal; for example, when a person in the immediate vicinity of the patient applies excessive manual pressure around the patient's throat to suppress a bloviation.  While this permanently stops any further outbreaks of logarrhea, the death of the patient is arguably not in his best interest.  To deter such ill-consider treatment when an outbreak is about to occur, deliver a short, sharp verbal shock to the patient which will temporarily stun him into silence and therefore forestall more extreme measures against him."

So you see, when Linz told MSK to shut up, he was saving his life.  Because Linz was willing to risk the wrath of the make-nice crowd to keep his old friend alive and kicking, I think that makes the founder of SOLO a hero.  Hip, hip, hooray!

Andy




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