Quick Roundup 241

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rand in Major Media, Part III: Ayn Rand as a Good Writer

Via HBL, I learned of yet another lengthy article focused on Ayn Rand that has appeared recently in the major news media.

This time, an author who opposes Ayn Rand's ethics of egoism nevertheless shows a great appreciation for her as a writer. This paragraph should give you a pretty accurate feel for both of these aspects of the piece:

For decades, critics have scorned Rand for creating paper-thin characters while millions of readers have found that Howard Roark and Dagny Taggart live with them forever. Clearly, she was doing something right. Her message -- that each individual can and must without help blaze his or her own path through life -- is inspiring, even to those who might already have learned better. More than this, though, it's the texture, the warp and weave of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" that compels. Rand called her philosophy "objectivism [sic]," yet the inside of her head, as revealed by these two novels, so much greater and richer and stranger than the simplistic slogans that tend to be adduced from them, was happily unique.
Fellow admirers of Ayn Rand will find the first half of this piece rife with "expected condescen[sion]", but it will be worth the annoyance to read its second half.

Coincidentally, this article appears on the same day that Myrhaf decided to post his thoughts on Rand as a writer:
[An]other aspect of Ayn Rand's writing that convinces modernists she is inferior is her clarity. She writes clearly and with power. In our modern age novels that make you scratch your head and mumble "What the f**k was THAT all about?" are considered sophisticated literature. Ambiguity is praised as a literary virtue. As Nietzsche put it, they muddy their waters to make them look deep. By this standard Rand can't be a good writer because she can be understood.
Read the whole thing.

"Journalistic Jabberwocky"

Craig Biddle of The Objective Standard weighs in on the Kay Hymowitz editorial I blogged a few days ago:
... Hymowitz's own ideology -- conservatism -- cannot withstand the spread of Rand's actual ideas. What is also certain is that, if Hymowitz's classification of Rand as a libertarian was an honest error, then, in the light of this and other articles that have brought relevant facts to bear on her falsehoods, Hymowitz owes Rand a public apology -- which should be forthcoming in the pages of both Commentary and the Wall Street Journal. If Hymowitz remains silent on the issue, her silence will speak for itself. [bold added]
And on the subject of The Objective Standard, its Fall 2007 issue is in press. For this issue, TOS has made Yaron Brook's "The Morality of Moneylending: A Short History" available to all on the web.

Outsourcing Searches for the Missing

The Software Nerd is impressed with the particularly creative use of modern technology in the ongoing search for aviator Steve Fossett: "[F]olks from all over the world are searching for a plane-crash in Arizona." Stop by his blog to find out how.

And speaking of nerds, ...

... I wonder what the Software Nerd would get on the quiz I found the other day at Rational Jenn's. (And that's as close to tagging as I'll ever get.) I was declared a "Cool Nerd King", whatever that means.

Hmmm. I wonder whether I lived up to that description when I gave a free Latin lesson to a commenter at Valda Redfern's blog the other day....

Feel free to correct me if I was wrong about anything there. It's been (gasp!) over twenty years since the Cicero course I took in college to fill my foreign language requirement!

And speaking of feeling old, ...

... this Wikipedia entry on Lily Allen does a pretty good job of making that happen to me. But that feeling does go away quickly when I hear her sing this song.

Catchy tune, hilarious video! (But be warned: It is arguably not quite work-safe!)

(HT: Adrian Hester)

-- CAV


softwareNerd said...

"I wonder what the Software Nerd would get on the quiz"
I'm trying to decide what would make me happier: a high score confirming by funny name or a low one showing its not serious! :)

Gus Van Horn said...

Yeah. I understand the ambivalence! Why do think I sat on it for so long?

softwareNerd said...

Turns out I'm only a "Cool Lightweight Nerd" :).

Scored pretty low in most categories, but a 76% in Computers/Tech. So, I guess that I can keep the "nerd" suffix as long as I keep the "software" prefix.

Gus Van Horn said...

You chose your name wisely, then!

Adrian Hester said...

Heh, I'm an Uber Cool Nerd King. 99% on history/literature, 83% on science, 66% on sci-fi, 25% on computers, and 1% on awkwardness. (I guess not so many people know the dates of the Hundred Years' War.)

Gus Van Horn said...

Blimey! At least I beat you in something besides awkwardness!

Kyle Haight said...

Like Adrian, I'm an Uber Cool Nerd God. I beat him on sci-fi and computers by a wide margin; he beats me by 1% on history/literature.

Gus Van Horn said...

I know Adrian. The only thing that came as a surprise is that I beat him in computers!

Rational Jenn said...

Man! I'm only an Uber Cool High Nerd. I wanted to be a deity, too. Or at least royalty. At least I'm Cool, though!