June 29, 2019

"AGE 24/'Atlas Shrugged'/BY AYN RAND/'Marvel at the profundity of its objectivist themes — then, in a few years, marvel at your naivete."

From "Books for the ages/The best books to read at every age, from 1 to 100" (WaPo).

The book that caught my eye and that I downloaded from Kindle is the one chosen for age 92:
“Nothing to be Frightened Of”
BY JULIAN BARNES

Don’t avoid the big questions of life and death and faith: Tackle them straight on with help from some of the greatest thinkers.
The one chosen for my age, 68, is something I've already read, “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion ("Grief can make you feel like you’re losing your mind. That’s normal").

And, no, I've never read "Atlas Shrugged." I tried a little, but I have to like the sentences. I'm a sentences reader.

That reminds me, I wanted to recommend this Malcolm Gladwell podcast that has a lot to say about the kind of people who are slow readers:
The Tortoise and the Hare

A weird speech by Antonin Scalia, a visit with the some serious legal tortoises, and a testy exchange with the experts at the Law School Admissions Council prompts Malcolm to formulate his Grand Unified Theory for fixing higher education.
Gladwell is himself a "tortoise" — a slow reader — and he doesn't like the way his kind are disadvantaged on the LSAT.

A "tortoise"-type reader is not going to do well with "Atlas Shrugged"!

By the way, Gladwell talks about the condition of being a slow reader and a fast writer. I have that too. It's why blogging works well for me. I can find and isolate the sentences I find rich and readable — slowly readable — and I can flow very quickly writing about them. In this light, you can see that this tortoise/hare thing is not binary. There may be tortoises and hares, but there are also "hortoises" and "tares." If it's just tortoises and hares, it might be easy to say, yeah, it's just that some people are smarter than others. But if you see reading and writing (or reading and analyzing) as separate axes, with fast to slow on both, people are more complexly differently abled. Diagram to come....

ADDED: Oh, no, no, no... my idea of a diagram with axes and quadrants is defective. I had to try to draw it to see the problem!

fullsizeoutput_3066

Reading does not progress to writing the way slow progresses to fast. Please suggest a way I can draw this idea!

AND: Allison explained the solution and, with her help, I easily got it right:

fullsizeoutput_3068

209 comments:

1 – 200 of 209   Newer›   Newest»
Fernandistein said...

"Books for the ages/The best books to read at every age, from 1 to 100"

I won't look at a clickbait WaPo listicle, but perhaps someone can spill the beans about which book(s) a 1 year-old should read.

prompts Malcolm to formulate his Grand Unified Theory for fixing higher education

...to make it easier for him, I gather. Maybe the poor guy just needs to practice reading for 10,000 hours.

Francisco D said...

And, no, I've never read "Atlas Shrugged." I tried a little, but I have to like the sentences. I'm a sentences reader.

That is probably due to your legal training.

I can see the benefit of that type of analysis, but you miss out on broader meaningful themes.

Ayn Rand is quite wordy and dramatic. If you tried to read sentence by sentence it would probably take you fifty years. Maybe you could read speeches by John Gault or Francisco D'Anconia.

Bob Boyd said...

Its hard to just sit and read. I have to be doing something.
Hmmm...
Maybe that's why I do my reading on the toilet.

Temujin said...

I'm a tortoise-type reader and, like you, I'm also a sentences reader. I prefer to love the sentences. I prefer books written in wonderful prose. Ayn Rand was not a great writer. But I tortoised my way through The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, We the Living, For the New Intellectual, and various short lectures, interviews, etc. I still have a copy of the Ayn Rand Lexicon on my office bookshelf. One never knows when one might need a proper defining of terms. But none of those books would be considered a 'great read'. They are work.

I've been told forever that I would find her thinking naive. As the years have unfolded, I find her thinking to be more prescient with each year. As Glenn Reynolds often says, Any Rand's "Return to the Primitive" was meant to be a warning for us, but has become a how-to guide for the left.

Heartless Aztec said...

Atlas Shrugged turned tedious. The Fountainhead was a much better book. As an added bonus it's approved reading by E. Jean "Rape is Fun" Carroll.

daskol said...

Reading is like eating, and writing is more like vomiting.

rcocean said...

Atlas Shrugged is a ridiculous book. IRC, all the "producers" disappear leaving the "parasites" to run society on their own. The Soviets solved that problem by rewarding those who "produced" with awards and better apartments. And also by putting scientists and engineers in camps where they had to "produce" or else. Solzhenitsyn eventually ended up in camp where he worked on engineering projects. A famous Airplane designer Tupolov worked in a prison Camp on bomber aircraft before WW2.

I read the Fountainhead - which is better. Rand was an adequate writer. More interested in politics than prose. The exact opposite of Nabokov.

rcocean said...

"As an added bonus it's approved reading by E. Jean "Rape is Fun" Carroll."

Ha. Dominique is so thrilled to find a man who can "Tame her", she doesn't mind being raped!

Allison said...

the x axis is labelled Reading. y a is Writing. both have slow near 0/origin and fast at the ends of the axis arrows.

so you can be a fast writer and slow reader (t,h) or a slow writer anf fast reader (h,t) or boyh fast (h,h) or bith slow (t,t)


does that help?

Conservachusetts said...

At age 54, you realize the caricatures of liberals in Atlas Shrugged aren’t caricatures at all.

Leland said...

I'm actually listening to my second reading of Atlas Shrugged. I just finished The Fountainhead last week. It's amazing how well The Fountainhead describes today's media.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

I won't look at a clickbait WaPo listicle, but perhaps someone can spill the beans about which book(s) a 1 year-old should read.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

by Eric Carle

Welcome to the world! It’s a good time to start learning numbers, days of the week and the helpful fact that too much food will give you a tummy ache.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

The graph needs to be a quadrant.

Robert Cook said...

"At age 54, you realize the caricatures of liberals in Atlas Shrugged aren’t caricatures at all."

All the characters in ATLAS SHRUGGED are caricatures of human beings, two-dimensional cartoons.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Althouse: "But if you see reading and writing (or reading and analyzing) as separate axes...."

You need three axes: reading, writing, analyzing/comprehending.

Ann Althouse said...

"That is probably due to your legal training."

No. It's the other way around.

I was successful at the kind of law I did — scholarly writing and teaching — because I had this propensity. I did well in law school because I could read a relatively short exam passage and then write coherently and quickly about the problem. I have a big advantage on essay tests, which is all you get in law school.

I'm successful at blogging because I find the things I WANT to read and zero in on them, then do things with them in writing.

A problem with law, and one of the reasons I happily retired is that the cases are very long and not written in beautiful sentences. It was really a burden to slog through that stuff, but once I did, it was great to talk and write about it. But the prep stage was not a great use of my time. I'm much better off now, and I choose reading where I like the sentences.

gspencer said...

"is the one chosen for age 92: 'Nothing to be Frightened Of'”

Seems appropriate for any age

wildswan said...

Building on Alison, I think it should be done as a Venn diagram.

Or maybe it should be a logarithmic spiral [r = aeθ cot b,] around and around down by slow reading reaching out a long spiral arm to fast writing. Like a chambered nautilus.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Your grid is fine, but you need to think of it as a scatter plot with 4 quadrants. Your naming scheme may need to be rethought. The way you’ve got it now, someone could be a tortoise hortoise, a tortoise tare (like you), a hare hortoise, or a hare tare.

Ann Althouse said...

@Allison

Thanks!

Will try.

@wildswan... I'm skeptical. I considered doing a Venn diagram... but not with spirals! Yeesh. I'd need a math app, wouldn't I. I'm just using a drawing app.

Henry said...

I'm an intermittent reader.

Does The Phantom Tollbooth make an appearance? A good book for a 9-year-old, perhaps.

A book I read at age 53 that was perfect for age 53?

Got me.

Tina Trent said...

Never could stand Ayn Rand' fiction or philosophy books.

But her essays on culture and art are surprisingly good. If you like Didion, you might like The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution. The Romantic Manifesto is also interesting.

Interesting how people can write so clearly in one genre then tank in another.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes!!!

Will post updated diagram soon!

rcocean said...

The best thing about the Fountainhead are the attacks on liberals and the media.

Its only when she has to write about sex and her heroes Dominique and O'Rourke that the book goes off the rails. Rand also uses the same adjectives over and over which gets boring. O'Rourke's hair is described as Orange about 30 times, and we're told Dominique has a "vicious" or "Cold" mouth about 25 times.

Henry said...

The first time I read Atlas Shrugged I realized early on that the plot was devoid of economic depth (1940s industrialism with no externalities!) and resolved to a huge deus ex machina (clean unlimited power in an idyllic landscape). It's fantasy, and a dull one.

Sydney said...

Ayn Rand is a terrible fiction writer. I read "We are the Living", supposedly her best written book, but it was awful.
For my age, 56, the listicle says "When Things Fall Apart." Sounds about right. It's how I feel my life is going this year.

Conservachusetts said...

“two-dimensional cartoons”

A perfect description of the modern liberal/progressive.

Phil 314 said...

Gee, I’ve already done my homework for age 68, Didion’s “Year of living magical thinking”. Very good read, almost a bit clinical...but then again I’m a clinician so that’s good.

PS Doctors no longer write in sentences. Thanks to EMR’s (electronic medical records) narrative is dead in healthcare.

tcrosse said...

Robertson Davies said that you should read a book when you're the age the author was when he wrote it.

wildswan said...

As for the book list I think if you take the forties/fifties books seriously, you won't live to seventy. Old age ain't for kids - or the professionally gloomy.

When you get older you like philosophy and history - the real stuff. Because you've lived through some history and some life. And you like regular books because all the big stuff has happened to yourself or those you loved - cancer, war, drug addiction, lost love, death of parents, job troubles, strange cities. You don't need some piece of violence thrown into a novel like a tablespoon of habanero pepper to make you feel.

Richard Dillman said...

Annie Dillard in the Writing Life discusses the value and magic of sentences at length. She says that to be a writer you must love sentences.
She is a master of interesting sentences. I used to ask my writing students to raise their hands if they loved sentences. Few hands went up.
Two writers who loved sentences: Hemingway and Thoreau. For some writers, the sentence is their main unit of composition.

Ann Althouse said...

Now that I've got the diagram right, my mistake in the first effort is so glaring!

I need to draw more diagrams. I like diagrams.

I'm using the note-taking app "Flow" (by Moleskine). I'm in the trial period. Not sure if I'll pay up. I have 2 drawing apps — Sketchbook and Procreate — but I got Flow because I wanted to use handwriting. Handwriting really flows and you can extend the "page" as far as you want horizontally. Might be good for cartoons and things.

I got a new iPad with the iPencil, and it's very easy to experiment with drawing ideas. I intend to use more of them on the blog.

As I've been saying, I like quick writing, and it's fun for me to extend that into the graphic sphere, with handwriting that can be used on the blog — handwriting that can extend into drawing (or using the written word in the form of a drawing (inspired by Saul Steinberg or whoever)).

Guildofcannonballs said...

This will be the toughest thing I've ever had to write here at the Althouse blog.

You, brilliant, cannot figure out what to draw because you don't like Hinnkenloooper's teeth.

I don't have the cruelty in me, sober, to expound.

You are a good person, who has done great things, but the scary aspects in dreams are real. My diagnosis, and any salt-worthy phd will concur, is to live up to your ideal of not being interested in politics. Don't lie to yourself, don't lie to others also.

Let us all image what the life of Bern Sanders would have been like had he never lied to himself after turning age 38. No power, no money, no pant creases*, but can anyone question whether he would have had more dignity?

Dignity matters a Hell of a lot more than cock size does.

*If Obama's pant creases made db realize he was going to be a potUS and a fucking great goddamned potUS what in Hell does db say about the slob Sander's non-creases? Asshole.

Ann Althouse said...

" As Glenn Reynolds often says, Any Rand's "Return to the Primitive" was meant to be a warning for us, but has become a how-to guide for the left."

I enjoyed your typo.

I have just conceived of another one of my "unwritten books." It's about Ayn Rand's ridiculous twin, Any Rand. She creates her own ridiculous world, which she calls, slyly, Random.

Ann Althouse said...

Another unwritten book of mine is for children: Hortense the Hortoise.

Fernandistein said...

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Thanks! That's one of the classic introductions to gene expression.

Atlas Shrugged is a ridiculous book.

It did seem cartoonish yet stodgy.

IRC, all the "producers" disappear leaving the "parasites" to run society on their own.

Wasn't one of "producers" a philosopher who was so philosophical that people voluntarily paid him to hear his philosophizing? As if.

gilbar said...

isn't the Whole point of an aptitude test how QUICKLY you can think? how well you can think quickly?

they take points off for wrong answers, so you have to be sure of your answer; and there's more questions than you can finish; or that you can afford to ponder on

thinking on the fly is what those tests test.
This is important for real life. Can you be able to come up with the answer NOW, not tomorrow?

of course, if you're rich enough to hire a doctor; then you get ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD, because?

Ann Althouse said...

""is the one chosen for age 92: 'Nothing to be Frightened Of'” Seems appropriate for any age."

Yes, I think it would be most useful — judging from my own experience — for someone who is 38 or 39, facing the big 4-0.

When you're much older, you've figured things out and gotten used to it in a completely different way. It's younger people who really suffer from this fear, I believe.

wild chicken said...

I got through Fountainhead but hated the long speeches. Like everyone's gonna sit there all enthralled.

But it was entertaining and espouses the same ideas, probably.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I don't erase, but I did catch myself using logic to refute the illogical.

Stupid.

Howard said...

Being a slug reader, I edit what I read using the Elmore Leonard rule of Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip

Also, if you can't read quickly with high comprehension, maybe you shouldn't consider the law. I can see how that might matter less in an Academia environment as compared with the productivity required when offering professional services.

rcocean said...

Actually, tests are bad because the time limits are too short. In real life, you don't have to come up with an answer, or write an analysis of a problem in 15-30 minutes. You usually have hours or even days to write it. Nobody in corporate America is churning out Engineering analyses or Business plans in 30 minutes - or doing 12 of them in an 8 hour day.

And the SCOTUS clerks certainly aren't writing draft opinions in a couple hours.

Ann Althouse said...

"Its only when she has to write about sex and her heroes Dominique and O'Rourke that the book goes off the rails. Rand also uses the same adjectives over and over which gets boring. O'Rourke's hair is described as Orange about 30 times, and we're told Dominique has a "vicious" or "Cold" mouth about 25 times."

Oh, that would completely interfere with my progress. Descriptions! I hate pulpy descriptions of how the characters look and what their expressions and gestures are. Blah!!

I have the Kindle text. The word "vicious" appears 50 times.

I don't know about orange hair, but:

"Betty Pope came into the living room, dragging the folds of a satin harlequin negligee—checkered in orange and purple. She looked awful in a negligee, thought Taggart; she was ever so much better in a riding habit, in the photographs on the society pages of the newspapers. She was a lanky girl, all bones and loose joints that did not move smoothly. She had a homely face, a bad complexion and a look of impertinent condescension derived from the fact that she belonged to one of the very best families."

See, I could write a blog post about just that, but I can't tolerate slogging through pages and pages of it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Level 1: logic assuming IQ of 120+ and aged 25 or more.

Level 2: Messaging mediums

Level 3: Power/Money/Influence/Bu Bu Operations/Cesspit Intelligent Agencies

God.

Ann Althouse said...

More "Atlas Shrugged" orange:

"The walls of the street around him had the stressed, unnatural clarity of a summer twilight, while an orange haze filled the channels of intersections and veiled the tiers of roofs, leaving him on a shrinking remnant of ground. The calendar in the sky seemed to stand insistently out of the haze, yellow like a page of old parchment, saying: August 5."

Veiled the tiers...

Is that anything like the Vale of Tears?!

rcocean said...

BTW, no one laughs in the Fountainhead, unless its Cruelly or sarcastically or at someone. They'e a humorless lot, out for domination.

Howard said...

Blogger rcocean said...

Actually, tests are bad because the time limits are too short. In real life, you don't have to come up with an answer, or write an analysis of a problem in 15-30 minutes. You usually have hours or even days to write it. Nobody in corporate America is churning out Engineering analyses or Business plans in 30 minutes - or doing 12 of them in an 8 hour day.

And the SCOTUS clerks certainly aren't writing draft opinions in a couple hours.


Except if your a man working in running something in the field in real time, then you better know how to fix and/or adjust correctly and fast. This is the biggest complaint about enginerds, college boys and eggheads from working men.

wild chicken said...

Wasn't one of "producers" a philosopher who was so philosophical that people voluntarily paid him to hear his philosophizing? As if.


Like Jordan Peterson?

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://uproxx.com/filmdrunk/full-metal-jacket-fun-decoding-if-it-shortdicks-every-cannibal-in-the-congo/

There is no topic this link isn't relevant toward. Not one.

Ann Althouse said...

"Robertson Davies said that you should read a book when you're the age the author was when he wrote it."

Good idea. Tried unsuccessfully to find a list ordered according to the age of the author.

I did find "The Ages of 101 Famous Writers at First Publication."

That's good for finding the first thing published (not necessarily a book) and only if you are aged 17 to 41.

rehajm said...

Never could stand Ayn Rand' fiction or philosophy books.

This is me....


As diagrams go, scatterplot beats venn

Fernandistein said...

Like Jordan Peterson?

Good point. I wouldn't pay him, but other people sure do, to the tune of IIRC over $80K a month on Patreon (which he left because of their censorship).

Francisco D said...

Atlas Shrugged is a ridiculous book.

Would you say the same about Animal Farm?

chickelit said...

Can't get to the WaPo link and I don't want to support them in any way.

chickelit said...

If I believed for a second that WaPo had some modicum of balance in their newsroom reporting, I might make an effort to read their other pages.

rcocean said...

"Except if your a man working in running something in the field in real time, then you better know how to fix and/or adjust correctly and fast. "

True. Except that's not the same as writing a detailed analysis. Coming up with a quick solution because X failed unexpectedly, isn't the same was writing a paper trying to explain WHY X failed unexpectedly.

buwaya said...

Sure you can veil tiers.
"World of Tiers" series, Philip Jose Farmer.

I read very fast, what interests me is concept.
Typical for engineers, geeks and nerds.

David Begley said...

Mary Shelley was 21 when she published Frankenstein. I am 61 and wrote the script for Frankenstein, Part II.

Penn Neff said...

What an anti male list.

rcocean said...

"Can't get to the WaPo link and I don't want to support them in any way."

Chick wants democracy to die in darkness. Sheds tear.

WK said...

I found the comment in the podcast by Scalia that one of his most exemplary law clerks graduated from Ohio State law. But that had no influence on him ever looking outside the top 14 when choosing clerks. Maybe Trump can look outside the usual suspect schools when choosing the next Supreme Court judge.

rhhardin said...

A tortoise reader does very well reading Derrida.

Ann Althouse said...

"isn't the Whole point of an aptitude test how QUICKLY you can think? how well you can think quickly?"

Listen to the podcast.

Consider the value of thinking deeply about something really difficult. That's just not even something the LSAT attempts to test. It's multiple choice and it goes only so deep. There's a level of difficulty it's pitched at and it's right in the zone for a smart hare. But for really challenging legal problems, you might have to think and study and brood for 2 months, which is what the former Supreme Court clerk interviewed in the podcast talks about doing. Justice Scalia talks about only taking clerks from Harvard and Yale, because they're pre-selected (by the LSAT, mostly) as very smart. But they're smart in the "hare" way, and Scalia goes on to say that the BEST clerk he ever had was Jeffrey Sutton (whom he inherited from Justice Powell), and Jeffrey Sutton went to Ohio State Law School. Sutton WANTED to go to Michigan Law School, but he didn't get in. The very thing that makes Sutton the best Scalia law clerk is what the LSAT is not structured to discover.

So, yes, the LSAT is an aptitude test, but there are so many different aptitudes, and people are prejudiced to think that the aptitudes they have are the important ones. Why is reading fast and solving intermediate-level problems fast (and without written explanation of your work) the central test in the access to the legal profession? Gladwell is saying that Sutton is the key to valuing what SLOW readers have to offer.

I've known a lot of very smart people who comment that they have the problem of reading slowly, but maybe slow reading correlates with something else that is very useful (such as seeing a lot). I notice that I frequently get the criticism: You're thinking too much. Or: You're reading too much into this.

What if you had microscope eyes and were staring at a drop of pond water? Other people would say, what's wrong with you?!

Howard said...

Guido: Kubrick is mocking/stealing from his previous work:

"Stay on the bomb run, boys! I'm gonna get them doors open if it harelips everybody on Bear Creek."

rcocean said...

Personally, I want Democracy to die after taking out six super-villains and blowing up their death star.

Ann Althouse said...

To Scalia, compare:

"There are smart kids every place. They are male, they are female, they are black, they’re white, they’re from the West, they’re from the South, they’re from public schools, they’re from public universities, they’re from poor families, they’re from sharecroppers, they’re from all over. I look at the kid who shows up. Is this a kid that could work for me?"

That's Clarence Thomas.

"Justice Thomas’s clerks are usually the most diverse, hailing from 23 law schools since 2005, with one-third of them having graduated from law schools outside the Top 10 on the U.S. News and World Report rankings. In fact, compared to the rest of his SCOTUS colleagues, 75 percent of Justice Thomas’s clerks have graduated from law schools other than Harvard and Yale. As Justice Thomas mused in the past, despite the law schools they may have come from, his clerks are not “TTT.”"

But of course, Malcolm Gladwell did not bring up Clarence Thomas — not to be praised.

whitney said...

I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 13 while I was at Christian summer camp. The first day the counselor asked me if I'd read my Bible today I told her I was an atheist. That was a rough month. By the time I was 24 I knew Rand was crazy

buwaya said...

Mary Shelly is still underrated.
There is more high-concept stuff going on in Frankenstein than in any film of it, or most derivatives.

WK said...

Thank you for the Clarence Thomas link. Gladwell sometimes (often) leaves out items that do not support his thesis. But they are interesting podcasts......

buwaya said...

Rand wasn't crazy.
She took her ideas as far as she could, and wrote them down.
She was personally very eccentric, but so are a lot of creative people. And given her life I'd excuse her her eccentricities.

Now, you could try to read her work as a bible or koran, but thats just for real eccentrics.

Fen said...

Consider the value of thinking deeply about something really difficult.

It has great value, but as someone who's friends have always complained gets too deep, I've envy those who are quicker on their feet than me. It's similar to "the perfect is the enemy of the good". My wise counsel is of no use the day after the order was given to launch all the missiles.

Narayanan said...

AA said ... And, no, I've never read "Atlas Shrugged." I tried a little, but I have to like the sentences. I'm a sentences reader.

/were you younger or older than 24/

(If a sentence needs diagramming are you really reading or working a puzzle)

There are many puzzles in that book and you discover your self one way or another.

Please give an example with brief analysis - de minimis as some say.

I would like to understand what that means. I'm not mind reader.

A "tortoise"-type reader is not going to do well with "Atlas Shrugged"!

I'm curious. Why do you make this claim?

I would start with The Fountainhead and not Atlas Shrugged. Even better would be We The Living

Francisco D said...

By the time I was 24 I knew Rand was crazy

She very likely has a narcissistic personality disorder, based on what I read in her biography by Barbara Branden.

I say that as a fan.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JackWayne said...

Now slag Marx the way you do Rand.

Mike Sylwester said...

In the movie Dirty Dancing, Baby learns that Penny got pregnant by Robbie and that Penny wants to get an abortion but does not have the $250 to pay for it. So, Baby takes the initiative to go to Robbie in the restaurant, where he works as a waiter, and to nicely ask Robbie to give Penny the necessary money, because it would be the right thing to do. Robbie responds essentially that this matter is not Baby's business and that Penny very likely got pregnant not by him, but by some other guy.

Then Robbie pulls a paperback book out of his pocket and hands it to Baby, saying:

Some people count and some people don't. Read it. I think it’s a book you'll enjoy, but make sure you return it. I have notes in the margin.

Then Baby gets mad, pours a pitcher of water onto Robbie and walks out of the restaurant.

------

Lots of people watching the movie wonder what the book is, and so they search on the Internet and find my blog article about the book -- which is Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead.

That blog article of mine, published at the end of 2008, has received about 32,000 pageviews. This week, it has received 40 more.

------

This scene is supposed to communicate to the movie audience that Robbie (like Ayn Rand) is egocentric and selfish -- in contrast to Baby, who is considerate and generous. Robbie thinks he does not have to help pregnant Penny, because Robbie "does count" in life, whereas pregnant Penny "does not count" -- according to Ayn Rand's selfish philosophy.

-----

Beyond that rather obvious point in that book scene of the movie, however, there is a more subtle aspect that develops subsequently.

Robbie is involved with Baby's sister Lisa in a romantic relationship that has its ups and downs. Robbie and Lisa seem to repeatedly break up and reconcile. Toward the movie's end, Lisa decides, after much hesitation, to "go all the way" sexually with Robbie.

Lisa's decision to do so is caused largely, I think, by her own reading of this book that Robbie was recommending. Although Baby had refused to read the book, Lisa did read it. Robbie was engaging Lisa in philosophical discussions that were new and interesting to her. One scene shows Robbie and Lisa discussing the Domino Theory.

As Lisa read The Fountainhead, she pondered the novel's rape scene. One night, the novel's hero sneaks into the heroine's bedroom, rapes her and then leaves. This was the first sexual intercourse between these two characters. As the rape is happening, the heroine felt that he was “a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of a slave".

The heroine does not complain to the hero or to anyone else about the rape. In the following years, the heroine goes on to marry two other men and to continue to admire the hero from afar. She justifies, in her own mind, the rape as follows (in my own words):

She reasoned that an extraordinarily intelligent woman such as herself should grant a special understanding, appreciation and indulgence for the sexual desires of such an extraordinarily creative and superior man.

------

Continued in my next comment

Fen said...

I read very fast, what interests me is concept.

Me too. But I guess it depends on what you are reading. Some communication is like a Double Quarter Pounder large fries large coke that I'll devour within a mile of leaving the drive thru. Other communication is like a fine red wine, you don't gulp it down, you're there to experience it not consume it.

Sex is the same way. There are some you just want to fuck, but others you want to make love to.

I've put some good books down and listed them for later, because there were so many layers to one sentence that it would almost be blasphemy to scan through the pages.

Mike Sylwester said...

Continued from my previous comment, at 11:02 AM

--------

As Lisa read this novel, she decided that she should "go all the way" with Robbie, because he too was such a creative and superior man.

Lisa confides her decision to Baby, but Baby objects:

It's just wrong this way. It should be with someone -- with someone that you sort of love.

Baby's objection is somewhat ironic, because she herself has gone all the way with Johnny, whom she now knows cannot be a permanent romantic partner for herself. Baby has been sexually pleasuring Johnny because he is an extraordinarily creative and superior man.

In contrast, Lisa hopes that her own going all the way sexually with Robbie will be a big step toward marrying him. Lisa has learned from Ayn Rand's novel that she as a woman should be sexually considerate and generous toward a superior man like Robbie.

------

Although Lisa does not actually go all the way with Robbie, her limited experience with him teaches her valuable lessons about romantic relationships. Lisa will go on in her life and will marry happily.

In contrast, Baby probably will become a career woman and never will marry happily.

Fen said...

I'm very suspicious of attempts to marginalize Ayn Rand.

They are usually the ones who also coo "is socialism REALLY so bad?"

Narayanan said...

Francisco tells Dagny :
I have come to witness the farce.

I came to USA mid 1970s. ( Jimmy Carter)

I fully understand him.

Trump is an interesting chapter.

Fernandistein said...

Being a slug reader, I edit what I read using the Elmore Leonard rule of Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip

Heh - someone (here?) mentioned Leonard so I checked out "Get Shorty", and although he did a great job characterizing the smart thug, I ended up skipping the last 1/4th of the book up to the last two pages; but I'm skipping 100% of the movie because it has John Revolta.

"isn't the Whole point of an aptitude test how QUICKLY you can think? how well you can think quickly?"

For many of them, yes, because reading speed is highly correlated with mental processing speed and IQ. A fast reader is more likely than a slow reader to successfully tackle really challenging legal problems that they might have to think and study and brood about for 2 months.

rcocean said...

Mike - amazing piece of writing. Thanks for the link.

Fen said...

but I'm skipping 100% of the movie because it has John Revolta.

I hear ya, but it's worth the watch.

I endured West Wing because Sorkin is a genius, a tragedy that he only painted with half the color spectrum, and why he will never truly be a great artist. But once I got used to finding my eyes after they had rolled out the back of my head and under the couch, it was worth it.

Revolta actually does a decent job. Use him for the entertainment value then toss him away.

WK said...

Mike. I don’t remember. Was Baby above the age of consent? Did Johnny commit statutory rape?

Fernandistein said...

I hear ya, but it's worth the watch.

Since you're a fast reader I'll tend to trust your opinion, but that Revolta guy always makes me think of used car salesmen, and not in a good way. But I'll check it out.

Sometimes I/we fast-forward over the appearances of characters we don't like and it usually doesn't seem to hurt the show (like the two wives in "Breaking Bad"), but skipping the main character in a movie would be new and different.

Narayanan said...

Short summation of what Ayn Rand is all about.

She says of Aristotle ( more properly Aristo-teles or Noble Purpose) that he summed up the fact for basic philosophy : *Existence is Identity*

She completes the corollary through John Galt : *Consciousness is Identification*

What is judicial process except working through evidence to identify ? is X true ?

Roger Sweeny said...

“Every time one of my friends says to me, ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ I would like to smack her.”

Makes me want to read that one.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am definitely a hare. Read fast with good comprehension, but need to slow down and reread for great comprehension. So I typically ace standardized tests, but did not do as well as the Anns of this world on LS essay tests (but much better on LS essay tests than undergrad essay tests). I did fairly well on those tests, but never did great. It makes sense that Ann would be happier in academia where slow and thorough is better. My experience is that much of the practice of law involves reading volumes of badly written stuff. Or even decently written stuff. The thing is is that you so often have deadlines to meet with the clock running, and stopping to appreciate the prose is the last thing that you have time for. Probably changes for senior partners who have flocks of associates to do the grunt work. I was never there.

Most of my legal career was spent in patents. There you have both issues. Much of what you read was written by engineers, most, but not all, of whom ultimately got law degrees. Plus huge amounts of boilerplate. Ann would probably last about 15 minutes, given the abysmal quality of the prose. To be effective there, you need to be able to read fast, looking for specific items to trigger a deeper analysis. But then you get into patent claims, which are hyper complex, and often have to be diagrammed, at least in your head, to make complete sense. Luckily, for the most part, you are almost always reading in one mode or the other, depending on what you are trying to do.

I look at my non work related reading, and find that I like reading what the tortoises here would probably consider trash (though Atlas Shrugged got tedious even for me, esp the first time I read it, as a teen). I like a good fast moving plot, with some threads, but not a bazillion of them, running at once. I never spend enough time on a page to truly appreciate really good prose. What I really love is being forced to ask “what if?”, esp if it challenges our preconceived assumptions.

ken in tx said...

"We the Living", is Rand's best book, less pontificating. It would make a better movie than "Doctor Zhivago"; however, I have not seen the Mussolini commissioned Italian version. They probably made it too propagandistic.

narciso said...

Yes I was a west wing fan, Sorkin figured out somethings in spite of himself, either that or the fellows that wrote certain episodes like the qumar extended ark, sheen is quite insufferable though.

anti-de Sitter space said...

"But of course, Malcolm Gladwell did not bring up Clarence Thomas — not to be praised."

Why would Clarence be mentioned? The podcast wasn't praising the selection of folks who are picked because they satisfy the "mates in a foxhole" requirement. If anything, that requirement is another sorta thing like the T14 foxhole. Not praised.

Weird for Althouse to try so clumsily to stick a round peg in a square hole. Total backfire. So self defeating, especially re all her bragging re comprehension capability re this subject/post/thread.

Not to mention that Althouse's own blather is supposedly anti-ideology re politicians. Are we to believe that using extreme ideology tests for clerks is praise worthy for the SCOTUS? Is it really that hard -- even for a slow figurer -- to figure why the podcast didn't praise Thomas?

IMHO.

narciso said...

Who so you think would have been a better chili palmer, than travolta?

Fernandistein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandistein said...

The anecdotes from Gladwell and the government lawyers may be amusing but they're essentially meaningless. Because anecdotes.

++

"But Gladwell frequently holds forth about statistics and psychology, and his lack of technical grounding in these subjects can be jarring. He provides misleading definitions of “homology,” “sagittal plane” and “power law” and quotes an expert speaking about an “igon value” [LOL] (that’s eigenvalue, a basic concept in linear algebra)."

"In the spirit of Gladwell, who likes to give portentous names to his aperçus, I will call this the Igon Value Problem: when a writer’s education on a topic consists in interviewing an expert, he is apt to offer generalizations that are banal, obtuse or flat wrong."

Fernandistein said...

Who so you think would have been a better chili palmer, than travolta?

Steven Pinker?

anti-de Sitter space said...

Fern,

In the recommended podcast Gladwell repeatedly refers to Scalia's favorite clerk. Scalia only said he was one of his favorite clerks.

Those are not the same thing.

How does that get past editing?

Odd.

narciso said...

Atlas shrugged is a how to manual for progressives, it was a warning from what she has seen growing up in pre revolutionary russia.

Tina Trent said...

According to WaPo, 50 Shades of Grey is for fifty year olds.

That's sad in so many ways. As many as fifty.

I blame it on Nancy Drew. There's a bondage scene in every book, then her male chum, or her dad, or her gay friend George rescues her.

narciso said...

I watched the series back in the 70s, in retrospect a much more normal world, leave out disco.

Yancey Ward said...

I am a fast reader- a very fast reader. I can read slowly when I have to, but I rarely have to. The only times I have to slow down is when the writer abuses or violates the rules of writing sentences and paragraphs repeatedly.

On the other hand, though, I am a slow writer of pretty much everything except for comments on blogs.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

This thread touches upon The Associated Press style manual." TAP emphasizes fast writing and fast reading, but low regard for comprehension. It is not suitable for reading aloud. Noteworthy TAP traits are contractions, double possessives, and temporal conflation.

Consider the contraction "who's." This could represent "who has" or "who was" or "who is." Read aloud it is indistinguishable from "whose." This writing is a discourtesy to the reader.

Consider the double possessive "a friend of John's." This mean simply "John's friend" or the equivalent "a friend of John." Perhaps there is more to follow: "a friend of John's brother's wife." Clarity is held in suspense as the sentence unfolds.

Words such as "as," "while," and "after" are used in TV babble relinquishing speakership. The practice is common TAP writing, but to no particular purpose. An example sentence follows.

"According to Officer Gonzalez, who spoke even as EMS personnel were attempting to remove the driver from the vehicle, and while motorists who had stopped to assist were gathering the escaped chickens and as others just slowed down to gawk added to the congestion, the truck left the road on the curve after the driver had departed the feed lot but not before stopping to refuel where he was reported to have been been seen buying a six-pack."

Notice the word "down." The writer thoughtfully included it to avoid misinterpretation that drivers "slowed up."

Richard Dillman said...

Accomplished, skilled readers use different reading medthods for different style texts and genres. Reading skills are not binary because reading strategies can be adapted to different types of material. Most effective readers adapt different styles of reading for poetry, for example, than they do for economics or legal texts. These reading modes are fluid and context sensitive. When I took the LSAT years ago I read one way; when I read Emily Dickinson’s poetry, I read slowly but still analytically. I think that reading texts rhetorically is a reading style that is seldom if ever mentioned. . By reading rhetorically, I mean reading in a way that examines and analyzes the rhetorical strategies of texts in order to understand the techniques being used to manipulate your responses.

Francisco D said...

Lots of people watching the movie wonder what the book is, and so they search on the Internet and find my blog article about the book -- which is Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead.

Movies are a very effective form of propaganda. Sometimes, it is almost Soviet style.

One of my favorites was A Beautiful Mind. Ron Howard (Or Akiva Goldman) transmogrifies John Nash's mathematical proof that competition creates the best outcomes into cooperation creates the best outcomes for all.

I still enjoyed the movie, but if you want to separate fact from fiction read Sylvia Nassar's biography.

Ann Althouse said...

“Reading skills are not binary because reading strategies can be adapted to different types of material. ”

I agree. I can read articles about politics almost instantly.

Speed reading has a lot to do with knowing already what you’ll probably see and just checking for confirmation. You’re often just thinking is there anything new here or do I need this. It’s a sport and you use instinct and muscle memory.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann said...
“Consider the value of thinking deeply about something really difficult.”

There is, and Einstein was considered slow by many. Have a brother like that. Three of us scored significantly higher on the math SAT, yet he was clearly the math genius in the family - which was frustrating as he was two years behind me in the math dept in college.

Fen said...
“It has great value, but as someone who's friends have always complained gets too deep, I've envy those who are quicker on their feet than me. It's similar to "the perfect is the enemy of the good". My wise counsel is of no use the day after the order was given to launch all the missiles.”

That brother followed me into patent law. And our practices have been quite different. I did a lot of fire drill work, where you have some deadline, often a very hard one, and inventors who got behind the ball, and woke up late at the 11th hour. I can’t count the number of filings I made with USPTO timestamps between 11:30 and 11:55 PM Eastern time. Anything before 11 pm is considered a major planning success. That brother has done none, and probably has never done one the day it was actually do. He warns clients that if they don’t get him what he needs in plenty of time, it is on them, not on him. He gives himself plenty of time, puts it in writing, and enforces it. One result is that I dealt with startups a bit, and he doesn’t. Period.

In the last 30 years, I have been seriously involved with two women. The first one, the mother of my kid, never rushed, always had plenty of time, and didn’t think that she was good on her feet. I think that she sold herself short, since she won the extemporaneous speaking award at the Dale Carnegie class we took together. Our kid is more like me, but with a mother like that, doesn’t fly by the seat of their pants nearly as much as I do. Current one is just the opposite. Lightning fast mind, but not so good on analysis. And, of course, I analyze everything, and it bores her to death. Her best friend is a very successful litigation attorney, who has made a fortune thinking on his feet, and she is one of the few who think faster than he does. She and her brother were state champion debaters in high school, with him providing the charm, and she with the photographic memory combined with that lightning fast brain. Of course, that also means that I never win our arguments, but guys rarely do anyway. There was one young lady in between, another attorney, who probably fit me better in that respect, but was jealous of my kid, and my flying back to CO every other weekend to be with them. Much better my partner’s handling of that issue - she adores my kid, and I do hers, though their spouses are not in as high of regard.

narciso said...

Did not notice that distinction, that is a big deal

Narayanan said...

...They probably made it too propagandistic...

Actually it is the most faithful and effective of movies made from her novels.

Ayn Rand writes almost in style of movie script description of the action.

Italian just used translation for script.

It was made in two parts and does full justice.
Noi Vivi and Adio Kira.

Fascist allowed it to be made for propaganda value but soon banned it as the public quickly made connection between fascism and communism.

Francisco D said...

Speed reading has a lot to do with knowing already what you’ll probably see and just checking for confirmation. You’re often just thinking is there anything new here or do I need this. It’s a sport and you use instinct and muscle memory.

I speed read a a lot of opinion articles on sports and politics because they tend to be both repetitive and predictable. Every now and then, I catch a new twist, but this site is much preferred in that regard.

Atlas Shrugged is an enjoyable second read if you merely peruse the boring and predictable parts. Ayn Rand's penchant for political and sexual drama is predictable. Really, who is going to read every sentence of John Gault's speech for a second time?

Guildofcannonballs said...

Blogger narciso said...
Did not notice that distinction, that is a big deal

6/29/19, 12:22 PM

222 is my favorite number combination. I don't mind if you add an : to spice it up.

People who demand my tax dollars support chopping up babies for the profit of the choppers, more than anything such as empathy toward pregnant 13 year olds progs want to indoctrinate, to feel as though that position makes them superior to non-evil practitioners of humanity. It is quite simple.

Simply, I decided to not make intelligable comments. Having done so before, it was an easy one.

Justified Theme Lyrics

Gangstagrass - Long Hard Times to Come Lyrics


On this lonely road, trying to make it home
Doing it by my lonesome-pissed off, who wants some
I'm fighting for my soul, God get at your boy
You try to bogart--fall back, I go hard

On this lonely road, trying to make it home
Doing it by my lonesome-pissed off, who wants some
I see them long hard times to come



Full Version Continues:

Verse 1:
My life is ill son... prepared to kill son
A paradox of pain, baby; it's real son
Lonely traveler, aint trying to battle ya
But if you're feeling tuff dog, I welcome all challengers
Aint got no family, you see there's one of me
Might lose your pulse standing two feet in front of me
I'm pissed at the world, but I aint looking for trouble
I might crack a grin, I aint looking to hug you
Think about it, nobody wants to die
There's rules to this game son, I'm justified
I'm ready to go partner, hey I'm on the run
The devils hugging on my boots that's why I own a gun
This journey's too long, I'm looking for some answers
So much time stressing, I forget the questions
I fear no man, you don't want no problems 'B'
Eyes in the back of my head, you better not follow me

[Chorus]
On this lonely road, trying to make it home
Doing it by my lonesome-pissed off who wants some
I'm fighting for my soul, God get at your boy
You try to bogart--fall back, I go hard
On this lonely road, trying to make it home
Doing it by my lonesome-pissed off, who wants some
I see them long hard times to come

Verse 2:
You probably think I'm crazy, or got some loose screws
But that's alright though--I'm a'do me, you do you
So how you judging me? I'm just trying to survive
And if the time comes, I aint trying to die
I'm just trying to fly, and get a little love
Find me a dime piece and get a little hug
Hook the car up--hit the bar up--clean the scars up--hey yo, the stars up
Hey this is the life of an outlaw
We aint promised tomorrow--I'm living now, dog
I'm walking through life. but yo my feet hurt
All my blessings are fed, man I'll rest when I'm dead
Look through my eyes and see the real world
Take a walk with me, have a talk with me
Where we end up--god only knows
Strap your boots on tight you might be alright

[Chorus]
On this lonely road, trying to make it home
Doing it by my lonesome pissed off who wants some
I'm fighting for my soul, God get at your boy
You try to bogart fall back I go hard
On this lonely road, trying to make it home
Doing it by my lonesome pissed off who wants some
I see them long hard times to come
Copyright: Lyrics © Original Writer and Publisher

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/justifiedlyrics.html

Bruce Hayden said...

“On the other hand, though, I am a slow writer of pretty much everything except for comments on blogs.”

Depends for me. Obviously, I write my blog comments much too quickly, and rarely check them for Spellcheck problems until I have hit transmit. Apologies to all here who have tried to read some of my garbled comments. I didn’t start out fast with patent work, but ultimately got pretty fast, esp writing patent specifications, likely from the realization that style was less important than speed and comprehensiveness. Much of it is just verbally describing the drawings. After awhile I got decently quick writing the patent claims too, though not as quick as a good friend of mine who bragged last week on writing them for a case in under a half hour in a very large application. But you should know what you are aiming for with the claims after spending that much time with the rest of it. I still go really slow with writing and tweaking contracts.

Interesting to me, the place where I was a perfectionist was in my previous profession - writing code. A lot of it was esthetics. My code had to be elegant both functionally and visually. Everything had to line up, and be properly indented and paginated. Took me longer to write than some, but it failed less often too. My ex was just the opposite - she was the best around for quick and dirty. She did well at complex programming, but could turn out test code faster than anyone I ever saw.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Gladwell is himself a "tortoise" — a slow reader — and he doesn't like the way his kind are disadvantaged on the LSAT.

There are several types or ways to read, depending on the material you are actually reading.

Reading for recreational purposes where there is emotional nuances, sub plots, imagery, poetic license, depth of feelings, humor, sarcasm, interesting and convoluted sentences, allegorical references......is very different from reading academic text books, scientific papers for facts and data.

You slow down for recreational types of reading and may end up rereading the passages as you go along to gather all the depth of the writer's style. Stop to ponder the writer's skill and images. Savor the plot and enjoyment of being surprised.

Professional/academic reading is best done as first skimming the material for the main points, the thrust of the paper and THEN rereading, taking notes if necessary to cement the facts into your brain to be dredged up later.

If Gladwell can't change his style from recreational reading to professional as the situation suits, then that is something he needs to work on in his own mind.

Practice both types of reading until you can stop bitching about it.

PJ said...

the LSAT is an aptitude test, but there are so many different aptitudes

I agree with this, but I don't regard it as a criticism of the LSAT, which was designed to test only one aptitude: the aptitude for getting good grades in law school (and more specifically in the context of the sort of curriculum prevalent among American law schools when the test was developed). Speaking as a tortoise, I believe the LSAT I took lo those many years ago did an excellent job of not disadvantaging my reading style.

Regarding Ayn Rand, I agree with most of the criticisms of her prose style, and particularly with Mr. Cook's observation that her characters are two-dimensional. But "Atlas Shrugged" is a dystopia in which the characters are supposed to represent types or principles, and IMO that helps explain why they are drawn as they are (see, e.g., Jessica Rabbit). That's not to say it couldn't have been done better (see, e.g., Brave New World), but fully developed characters are not an important feature of that sort of work. I would say that the many who regard Rand's work as naïve are guilty of taking her literally but not seriously.

@Francisco D: I have often recommended that prospective "Atlas Shrugged" readers put off by the page count should skip the long John Galt radio speech, but it never occurred to me that they could instead read just the speech and skip all the vicious orange and bad romance. That would sometimes have been the better advice. As I remember them, Francisco D'Anconia's speeches were much shorter and in every way better.

Bruce Hayden said...

“I speed read a a lot of opinion articles on sports and politics because they tend to be both repetitive and predictable. Every now and then, I catch a new twist, but this site is much preferred in that regard”

I find that astute. I speed read a lot of political stuff, and would also do that with patents. You look for the new twist, and skip over the drek. Some writers have more new content - such as Andrew McCarthy and our noble blogress, Ann. And I read their stuff more slowly from the start.

Richard Dillman said...

Good readers tend to make good writers. Good writers may often be good readers. Readers who deeply understand writing conventions and rhetorical patterns, if you will, can more easily anticipate the structures and patterns of texts. This skill will accelerate reading and allow for effectively skipping some predictable material. Empty rhetorical gestures can easily be skipped and understood at the same time. The conventions of introductions and conclusions are easily glossed, for example. Some readers can easily predict which arguments will appear at certain times in, say, expository or argumentative writing.

Yancey Ward said...

Quick thinking and deep thinking are two different modes for solving chess problems- one recreational thing I like to do on Susan Polgar's website. A mate in 2-5 moves is an example of quick thinking problems, while an end-game problem will be one that requires a deep thinking mode. I am very adept at both, but over the years I have noticed that I am a bit of rarity for her site- I could literally predict which commenters would come up with a solution for both types of problems, and that those solvers pretty much never overlapped. I have wondered whether they self-segregate based simply on amount of effort required- you can solve a mate in 3 in under 5 minutes, but a end-game study might require hours of careful thought and analysis. Some don't want to waste the time on the longer effort, and some don't want to solve what they consider to be easy problems.

I guess what I am saying is that I am not convinced that the LSAT is biased against "slow" readers/thinkers, or that essay questions is biased against "quick" thinkers/readers- but rather it is the people themselves biased against the different kinds problems.

Tina Trent said...

I see Rand's difficulty, or maybe awkwardness as something that happens more with creative than analytic writing when you're writing in a second language and your first language is Slavic.

The same happens for different reasons with translations of French-language fiction and verse.

For some reason it's easier to be precise and elegant when writing non-fiction in a second language.

And English is just a much better instrument for a wide range of writing -- poetry and prose and non-fiction. Though I'm prejudiced against French.

Unknown said...

Atlas Shrugged is tedious. Fountainhead is an Important Book. We the Living is a good read.

Bruce Hayden said...

“I agree with this, but I don't regard it as a criticism of the LSAT, which was designed to test only one aptitude: the aptitude for getting good grades in law school (and more specifically in the context of the sort of curriculum prevalent among American law schools when the test was developed).”

I would disagree to some extent. My college grades were good, but not excellent (my mother was first in her class at the U of IL, and expected us to achieve similar results - and most of us didn’t), and ditto for law school. But I did very well on SATs, better on the LSATs, and similarly on my MBE, scoring in the top 2% of both. This gets to Ann’s point, that she excelled on LS exams because she was enough of a tortoise to read and analyze the passages thoroughly. What the LSAT does an extremely good job at predicting is MBE scores. Now back when I was first admitted to practice, my MBE scores were well above the cutoff to be admitted to the CO bar w/o considering my essays (and were even higher above the DC cutoff - the bar exam Crooked Hillary failed). I knew this going in, so practiced the MBE portion almost exclusively the week before the bar exam. I had to actually buckle down and practice for the essays, when I sat for the AZ bar a decade later, because they didn’t have the provision for getting in on just MBE scores.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

RE: Ayn Rand and her not so great fiction writing style.

English was not her first language. Ayn aka Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum was Russian. Not all languages translate easily from one to the other.

This may have something to do with the style of writing that English speakers and readers find awkward.

chuck said...

> I hate pulpy descriptions of how the characters look and what their expressions and gestures are.

It is all the rage these days because it is absolutely required to established the character's race, gender, and culture before they can take part in the story.

n.n said...

The greenness is progressive and liberalizing.

Richard Dillman said...

Joseph Conrad’s native language was Polish and his English prose style has some residual slavic syntax embedded in it. But his books,
like Heart of Darkness, are much more readable than Rand’s works. I think part of the problem with her style lies in the effort to blend propaganda or rigid ideology with fiction. It is difficult to do successfully. Historically, didactic literature, in general, tends to be stiff and sometimes clunky.

n.n said...

established the character's race, gender, and culture before they can take part in the story

Race or more correctly color; sex: male and female; gender: masculine, feminine, and trans (e.g. transversal); and culture, the more exotic, the more urbane.

Affirmative discrimination or political congruence ("=").

Bruce Hayden said...

@Yancey - I am thinking of getting back into chess. We have been together for 20 years now. We were both on the chess team in HS, but have rarely played since then. And we have talked about getting back into playing on multiple occasions. This just might be something that I can beat her at. Maybe. She clearly has a five move mate type of brain. I think that if I can survive the first 5 moves, and get into the end game, I will have her beat. We shall see. Of course, if I start beating her, she will very likely lose interest.

buwaya said...

Its an interesting question, about how non-native-English speakers write in English.

I did a bit of thinking about that a few days ago. Unfortunately you can't assume that a writer is non-native in fact, because over the last century there has grown up an international caste of Anglified people. People like Salman Rushdie, say, are substantially native English speakers.

Nabokov and Naipaul are in that category too, pretty much.

Rand and Conrad stand out in this sense, learning English as adults. An interesting case is Baroness Orczy ("The Scarlet Pimpernel"), born in Hungary and raised in France, who seems to have learned English in her teens.

buwaya said...

But of course Conrad was a genius.

Bilwick said...

The worst part about Rand, as any card-carrying member of the Academy could tell you, is that if enough people read her and decided, "Yes, my life belongs to me and not to the Wesley Mouches!" . . . why, we might actually get a free society! The horror . . . the horror!

Rabel said...

Age 57
“Remains of the Day”
by Kazuo Ishiguro

"If you’ve been living according to someone else’s rules, you can stop now."

- Washington Post

"Here are our picks for worthwhile books to read during each year of life, from 1 to 100, along with some of the age-appropriate wisdom they impart."

- Washington Post

buwaya said...

A few Filipino writers in English that are to some degree "ESL"

Nick Joaquin - personally I like his journalism and essays better, but if you like "social novels" and have patience for literary conceits, try "The Woman Who Had Two Navels". There is a definite Filipino flavor. His mother was an English teacher, so its unclear just how ESL he was.

F.Sionil Jose - A better literary writer imho, and genuinely ESL as he was of peasant stock, though educated entirely in English. Start with "My Brother my Executioner". I used to haunt his bookshop ("La Solaridad") as a kid.

Stevan Javellana - Definitely ESL, though educated in English. "Without Seeing the Dawn" is his only novel. This thing is intensely village-peasant Filipino in flavor and world view. Extremely authentic, if melodramatic.

PJ said...

@Bruce, I was focusing on whether the LSAT disadvantages tortoises, and I think it doesn't. But I would agree that the LSAT fails to reward hortoises like Ann for their ability to write fast, and I agree that the ability to write fast can lead to higher law school grades, at least for the few who use it smartly.

narciso said...

yes, I read sionel jose, on a library in south florida, found it interesting, I've read two of rushdie's work, first Shalimar the clown, and most recently midnights children, his Punjab magic realism, clashes with his misunderstanding of indian history,

narciso said...

I've mentioned this one in the past,

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10927555-the-secret-history-of-costaguana

buwaya said...

A typical representative of the "global" English native is Jessica Hagedorn ("Dogeaters"). Her origins and cultural milieu are precisely mine, she being a mestiza raised in three languages simultaneously, and with a foot in three continents, if not four. Like Rushdie, in all ways a native English speaker.

narciso said...

I tried read Cabrera infante after I saw the Golden City, but I found it too much, one English speaker who tried to capture my culture, was Peter Bart of Variety, something called Legacy, that was a terrible misfire,

Narayanan said...

,,,Regarding Ayn Rand, I agree with most of the criticisms of her prose style, and particularly with Mr. Cook's observation that her characters are two-dimensional. ,,

Help me out here! PLEASE.
For me also English not spoken growing up till HS
Also not well educated.

What are the two dimensions that are identifiable and how many are missing, what are they - reference, guide will suffice.

Limited Perspective said...

Having not read Atlas Shrugged myself, I recommend it to my challenging High School son. Damn, has anyone else had a committed teenager Libertarian to deal with? How about a Libertarian mid 20 year old at holiday dinners?

Book lists have been a constant in magazines, college studies, and church my whole adult life. I don't give a nevermind to them anymore.

Narayanan said...

Ayn Rand set herself the following task - quoting her : Do I have anything new to say? If it has already been said, can I say it better?

Ladies and gentlemen on the Jury : How grade you her?

Michael K said...

Reading for recreational purposes where there is emotional nuances, sub plots, imagery, poetic license, depth of feelings, humor, sarcasm, interesting and convoluted sentences, allegorical references......is very different from reading academic text books, scientific papers for facts and data.

I am right now reading a series of novels by an English writer who writes a very similar series to the Horatio Hornblower novels of CS Forester. They are almost the same pattern and historical period. I practically memorized the Hornblower series and have read them many times. I like this writer because he goes into much more detail of the period and of civil life between voyages.

I have read others of his books and I am always going to the laptop to research some items that are new to me. For example, the early Hornblower books (early in his career as Forester filled in the career with later novels.) concerned his service in Captain Pellew's frigate "Indefatigable." This author (Andrew Wareham) discuses the fact that "Indefatigable" was a "razee" which is a line of battle ship that has been cut down to a frigate by removing the top deck. (Hence "razeed.") He goes into some detail about the advantages and disadvantages of this design.

I like technical novels with accurate detail. Maybe that is a combination of sailing and Medicine.

Narayanan said...

@Limited Perspective :

You should not start in a marathon without training and warmup!

Start them on

Anthem while also reading Brave New World.

We The Living side by side with Dr. Zhivago for perspective and moral evaluation on living conditions.

You are now warmed up to start training on

The Fountainhead vs Babbitt maybe.

Atlas Shrugged vs 1984.

Narayanan said...

@ Michael K said..

I like technical novels with accurate detail.

I invite you to look at Atlas Shrugged as establishing primary source and failure and sabotage points in supply chain of values required for a civilization.

eddie willers said...

I don't think anyone should read Atlas Shrugged until they are over 30. Read until you get to the crucial part where they decide to go ahead and send the train through the tunnel. At that point, all that needs to be said...has been said. Read the next 500 pages only if you want to see how the story ends.

And Dr. K.: You MUST read Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. One of the greatest sentences in the English language is contained in the 3rd book: "Jack...you have debauched my sloth!".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Michael K

I am currently re-reading Samuel Elliot Morrison's two (massive) volumes on The European Discover of America. Historical and fact filled for sure. Lots of information about sailing, politics, mythology, and rather humorous in some parts. Very dry in others.

The books are broken into the Northern Voyages AD 500- 1600 and the Southern Voyages. Currently I am in the beginning of the AD 500 Irish and Viking Voyages. Not yet to the Portugese, Spanish, English, French etc.

Very interesting, especially if you are into sailing and ocean voyages.

Not a fast read by any means And not one that you can easily skim. Lots of heavy referencing and historical data....but worth the time.

J. Farmer said...

@Fen:

I'm very suspicious of attempts to marginalize Ayn Rand.

They are usually the ones who also coo "is socialism REALLY so bad?"


I read The Fountainhead in high school and was a Randian fan during my brief dalliance with libertarianism and anarchism in my teens. I'm still not quite sure if I buy Rand's framing of altruism. Self-sacrifice seems built into the human brain. It's unlikely we could cooperate in such large and complex ways without it.

But on "socialism," there really is no such option because the word itself is so broad and expansive to be almost meaningless in discussing the contemporary world. Milton Friedman in his autobiography tells a story about a meeting he attended with various free market economists, including Ludwig von Mises, at the Mont Pelerin Society. During a heated discussion, von Mises reportedly shouted, "you are all a bunch of a socialists."

Pretty much every country in the world as the same basic economic structure: the mixed economy. A combination of private markets and central planning, private enterprise and public enterprise. In some places (e.g. Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, East Asia), this is achieved with a good deal of success. In other places (e.g. Latin America, Africa) it is not achieved so well.

Michael McNeil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael McNeil said...

I really like Samuel Eliot Morison's The European Discovery of America.

narciso said...

I think statists of dirigistes, is more accurate depiction, of political economy, that was what von mises and hayek were struggling against in 1930s Europe, before they tackled Keynesianism, I'm indebted to louis Caldwell's economic biography of hayek for that insight,

Francisco D said...

You MUST read Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series.

I read it about 20 years ago, right around the time Patrick O'Brien passed away. I have the series and am thinking about rereading it, but feel guilty that I am not venturing into new territory.

JackWayne said...

Regarding a definition of socialism: All governments to this day have been “socialist” because no government has ever been limited. Every government to this day has regarded trade and business as something that must answer to government. Our Constitution gives the Congress the power to regulate commerce with NO limits placed on that power. If you want “capitalism” you must first have limited government.

NMObjectivist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NMObjectivist said...

The basic theme of Atlas Shrugged is that man’s mind is the source of all wealth. John Galt is a scientist and creator of wealth but refuses to bend to government regulators. 

The basic theme of the Fountainhead is that one ought to think for oneself and not be a “second hander,” i.e., a second hand thinker. Howard Roark is an architect who designs only buildings he chooses to build. 

Anthem shows a future totalitarian state as not technologically advanced like 1984 but as truly dystopian. All technology has been lost.  

These are big ideas and her books continue to sell years after the original publication.

Ayn Rand used fiction in part because she believed a writer should “show rather than tell.” Her philosophy was developed more explicitly after she began to write non-fiction. See Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Peikoff.   

narciso said...

And Rand sees Howard Roark in the image of Frank Lloyd Wright, or if she had come along half a century later, Frank Gehry in vision not personal character,

Michael K said...

You MUST read Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series.

I started them years ago but could never get into them. The writer Wareham has a huge number of novels written on several topics, mostly history, There are very few good novels about sailing. Two favorites are "The Shipkiller," which is excellent but dated The boat in it is the same design as one I used to own and which I took through Mexican hurricane.

The other is "Overboard, " a novel about cruising on a sailboat by a guy who lives aboard or did. He died in 2017. There was a terrible movie made from it but not the one with Goldie Hawn, which is a favorite.

Michael K said...

I really like Samuel Eliot Morison's The European Discovery of America.

Me, too. I have both volumes in my library along with his Columbus books.

I have a condensed version of his WWII history of Naval Operations. I actually like Hornfischer's books better,

narciso said...

His solomons tale, largely relies on the notes of the father of an acquaintance on line, it really depicts the rather harrowing naval aspect of the campaign, somewhat fictionalized in bassetts, in harms way,

Unknown said...

Ann, have you ever read Tom Robbins? I consider myself a hare, but I have read most of Robbin's work, and I often had to stop and reread a sentence several times and contemplate it for a few minutes before proceeding.

--Rt1Rebel

rcocean said...

"I'm very suspicious of attempts to marginalize Ayn Rand."

She was a fucking libertarian - who wrote novels. If your politics are based on fiction, your politics are shit.

And why is it you libertarian Rand fan-boys can't argue or defend your Goddess? You fan-boys are always marking snarky replies or oblique defenses, like you don't have the guts or the brains to mount a full defense.

dgstock said...

I just read Atlas Shrugged for the rough sex.

Mr. Forward said...

Althouse shrugged.

wholelottasplainin' said...

The "Flashman" books are a great way to learn a lot of history and have a bellyful of laughs in the process.

policraticus said...

Reading and writing are definitely not on the same axis. In the Middle Ages many more people could read than could write. Charlemagne, famously, could read well, but was vexed by his difficulty in mastering writing. He practiced, according to Einhard, late at night, when he couldn't sleep, but never mastered the craft.

Narayanan said...

@Mike Sylwester ...

You left out bits of plot sequence.

Dominique does not know the name of the quarry worker or that he has been an architect at their first encounter.

Dominique carries on an intense affair with Roark before she marries Peter Keating or Gail Wynand as her form of " self punishment "

I will look at your blog.

I would like to see if you discuss the passage where Roark and Dominique declare their love before Roark let's her go on her quest.

Mike Petrik said...

As my ex-Libertarian son once said -- Objectivism makes perfect sense until you take note of children.

Narayanan said...

@Buwaya ...

I am still aghast at your take on what society and civilization is about.

I'm curious about your thoughts on Rand's ideas : do they hold hope for American culture rejuvenating?

If so does that mean Americans and the world will be forever at loggerheads?

Josephbleau said...

No Heinlien for teens I see. Where are new engineers to come from?

Josephbleau said...

There is no scifi about folks designing convolutional neural nets, just stories about the evil consequences thereof. Ian Banks was better at this, but died.

Skookum John said...

All one needs to read of Rand is the “Money Speech” of Francisco D’Anconia. It’s only a few pages long, encapsulates most of her philosophy, and does so very effectively and persuasively. As I have moved from Libertarianism towards cultural nationalism over my life, I can still buy in to 95% of this exposition.

donald said...

I read the son of a bitch, quit my job, started my own thing and never looked back.

It’s basically a holy grail to me.

Ann Althouse said...

“I guess what I am saying is that I am not convinced that the LSAT is biased against "slow" readers/thinkers, or that essay questions is biased against "quick" thinkers/readers- but rather it is the people themselves biased against the different kinds problems.”

I meant to say that an essay test gives a big advantage to fast writers and if you’re a bit slow reading but very fast writing, you have something you can use in law school that won’t show up an the LSAT, and some people who ace the LSAT may do relatively badly on the essay test if they write slowly. That is, the schools may be taking the “tares” and they are less good for the task than the “hortoises.”

Narayanan said...

I get the impression that as Real Estate Developer in NYC Trump has drunk deep at The Fountainhead.

Trump described himself as an Ayn Rand fan. He said of her novel The Fountainhead, “It relates to business [and] beauty [and] life and inner emotions. That book relates to…everything.”

Ann Althouse said...

“Ann, have you ever read Tom Robbins? I consider myself a hare, but I have read most of Robbin's work, and I often had to stop and reread a sentence several times and contemplate it for a few minutes before proceeding.”

I think it’s good to have a variable speed. Any time a sentence inspires you to stop and think, you probably should. Reread, find someone to read it to and have a conversation about it, memorize it and think about it while you’re out walking, or — my favorite— cut and paste it into your blog and write about it.

Also good: Diagram it!

Ann Althouse said...

And I can’t remember if I read “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” but if I did, that’s the only Tom Robbins book I read. Not sure why I didn’t read those books, which seem like they would fit my time. But back then I was more likely to read the great classics from the 19th century.

bagoh20 said...

I'm posting this question here only becuase this is the door I opened when I woke up in your back yard a few minutes ago after an all night bender.

Is there any other blog like Althouse where the host has a clearly different ideological or political bent than most of the commenters?

Although I disagree with her on lots of things, and sometimes to the point of anger or deep disappointment, I think the dichotomy we see here is a very admirable accomplishment for both her and her commenters. I applaud you all!

Now I'm going back to the compost pile which is surprisingly warm and soft. My chronic back pain is gone, but the alcoholism and drug addiction remains. Two out of three ain't bad, and unlike the others, the back pain is never enjoyed.

narciso said...

Alcohol and pain relievers isnt a good combination.

Robert Cook said...

’Atlas Shrugged is a ridiculous book.’

“Would you say the same about Animal Farm?”


ANIMAL FARM isn’t a ridiculous book.

Henry said...

The Road to Wigan Pier: Also not ridiculous.

bagoh20 said...

The internet has made reading books mostly a thing of the past for me. I try to read them, and often start them due to something I found online, but it takes me forever to finish one now, becuase while the pull to get back to the book is still there, the distraction of all the content online just pulls harder. Being able to instantly look up words or references is so awesome compared to the old days that it's like a Dodge Ram Pickup compared to a horse and carriage. Like the carriage, the experience of the book is special and intimate in a way hard to duplicate online, but the efficiency, and much wider utility of internet reading just overpowers a non-fiction oriented reader like myself. In non-fiction, it's common for writers to have a great idea or discovery to deliver, but then fluffing the hell out of it to make it into a salable book . Sometimes the whole thesis and proof could fit on a few pages, especially since the references and support only needs to be mentioned to be available in full at your fingertips, but nobody can make money on that.

As for fiction, I think books may never be replaced by anything better.

Unknown said...

Cowgirls was the first Robbins book I read, but I don't think I was able to appreciate it fully at the time, so I can't say for sure if it fits my description of his writing. I was 18 and living with my hippy uncle and aunt while working a summer job, they had it on the coffee table.

Roadside Attraction and his later work really cemented my opinion that he was truly a great writer.

bagoh20 said...

"Alcohol and pain relievers isnt a good combination."

Even that combination cannot ease the pain of living in America in 2019 under the patriarchy with the Trump economy and the horror of having both rich and poor sharing a single planet that is on fire.

narciso said...

Dont forget the no net neutrality has been like the snap, or might of the comet (that they are remaking!)

Fen said...

Cook: "ANIMAL FARM isn’t a ridiculous book."

What did you think the book was about?

Freeman Hunt said...

I think all the main standardized tests suffer from too much dependence on time constraints. Too many extremely intelligent, well-educated people I know did poorly on them. Further, the people I'm thinking of all subsequently graduated from college. I did well enough on my standardized tests to go to college for free, and good thing it was free because I didn't finish! These people who the SAT/ACT judged unworthy would have been better bets.

Fen said...

Although I disagree with her on lots of things, and sometimes to the point of anger or deep disappointment, I think the dichotomy we see here is a very admirable accomplishment for both her and her commenters. I applaud you all!

It's mostly her, and she is to be commended for that, we take it for granted.

I'm sad to say that even a few Republican/conservative blogs don't measure up. I have run afoul of censorship at

Legal Insurrection
Powerline
Patterico

Remember that, when they are targeted and whine about freedom of speech. They are just as bad as the people who will deplatform them.

Narr said...

Fast reader, fast writer-- once I get started. But almost everything I've ever written, from academic papers, MA thesis, encyclopedia entries, work reports, employee evaluations, recommendations, and comments on blogs are last minute first drafts. LMFD. I hate to reread and revise.

I've only read some of the more famous Rand set-pieces, the speeches that others have suggested summarize the philosophy; the novels themselves just don't work for me. I backed into small-l libertarianism from Heinlein and Robert Nozick; it's an inclination and an ideal for me, not a political program or (puke) party.

Peter Frankopan's The Silk Roads: A New History of the World and Jerry Brotton's A History of the World in Twelve Maps are excellent overviews and syntheses, and both available in paperback, from a button near you.

Narr
Maybe I'll RTFA now

Freeman Hunt said...

1 - Who cares? Adults should just read whatever they're reading out loud at this age.
2 - Big Red Barn
3 - Little Fur Family
4 - The Story of Little Babaji
5 - Millions of Cats
6 - Grimm's Fairy Tales
7 - Charlotte's Web
8 - Harry Potter
9 - The Phantom Toll Booth
10 - The Hobbit
11 - Wind in the Willows
12 - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
13 - Meditations
14 - Black Like Me
15 - The Iliad
16 - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
17 - Slaughterhouse Five
18 - 1984
19 - The Great Gatsby
20 - Poetics
21 - Heart of Darkness
22 - Atlas Shrugged
23 - Give Me a Break - Stossel
24 - Basic Economics
25 - The Law
26 - The Closing of the American Mind
27 - Mere Christianity
28 - The Puzzle of God
29 - Shop Class as Soul Craft
30 - The Brothers Karamazov
31 - Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
32 - The Screwtape Letters
33 - The Great Divorce
34 - The Secret of Our Success
35 - Bonfire of the Vanities
36 - The Sunset Limited (a play)
37 - An American Tragedy
38 - The Technological Society
39 - David Copperfield
40 - Middlemarch

wholelottasplainin' said...

Ann Althouse said...
“I guess what I am saying is that I am not convinced that the LSAT is biased against "slow" readers/thinkers, or that essay questions is biased against "quick" thinkers/readers- but rather it is the people themselves biased against the different kinds problems.”

I meant to say that an essay test gives a big advantage to fast writers and if you’re a bit slow reading but very fast writing, you have something you can use in law school that won’t show up an the LSAT, and some people who ace the LSAT may do relatively badly on the essay test if they write slowly. That is, the schools may be taking the “tares” and they are less good for the task than the “hortoises.”
************

this seems to me to be

As I've reported here before, the DC bar--notoriously difficult--was all essays, six hours a day for three days, when I took it and passed "first go".

I don't give a bleep--- and neither do the Bar Examiners---whether you passed the LSAT, or how well you did in law school.

ALL bar exams demand that you spot the issues, organize your thoughts, and put them down in a LIMITED amount of time.

But that's no different than the exams one takes in their law classes, at least when I was in school. There were NO multiple choice questions, evah.

So it seems Althouse thinks it's better to allow tortoises to mull over the answers.

Historically, what guild has ever allowed that?

SNORT.

eddie willers said...

So I was onced asked if Ayn Rand changed my life. I said no....but she did change my mind.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would have put The Republic on there, but let's face it, hardly anyone will read it. Probably kidding myself with The Technological Society too.

Michael K said...

I think all the main standardized tests suffer from too much dependence on time constraints. Too many extremely intelligent, well-educated people I know did poorly on them.

In medical school, we took part I of the National Boards, which was basic science like Biochemistry and Physiology. One test was Pharmacology and I had not read a book we were supposed to study. As I was going through the test, one of the typical for the time, multiple choice, I discovered a whole page of questions on a drug family I had never heard of, the Veratrim Alkaloids.

I went on, skipping the page, and was able to finish with a half hour left. I went back to the page and analyzed the questions knowing nothing of the subject. Some were of the type, "is the answer A, B, C or A and D, or C and B. You've all seen them if you are old enough. By analyzing the questions, I answered them all and found I had gotten 100% correct.

The guy who was the head of Medical Education, Steve Abrahamson, was a PhD and had never gone to medical school.. Using much the same method, he was able to pass the Pathology Board Exams. He became a sort of mentor.

He's dead now but the program still goes on.

Ken B said...

Like Ann, I like beautiful sentences. I think she has a parochial view of them. Edward Gibbon wrote beautiful sentences, as did Charles Dickens, and Scott Fitzgerald. Ann seems not to like beautiful sentences that predate her. “We drove on towards death, in the chilling twilight” is a beautiful sentence Ann did not like. Ann likes only modern sentences.

Michael K said...

Speed reading has a lot to do with knowing already what you’ll probably see and just checking for confirmation. You’re often just thinking is there anything new here or do I need this. It’s a sport and you use instinct and muscle memory.

Medicine is mostly about pattern recognition. A bit like cryptology. A friend of mine in internship and residency was a big Speed Reading guy., He even had Evelyn Wood teach a course at the County Hospital. I was already a fast reader so didn't take the class.

One day we got into an argument about renal function. Most kidney function testing in those days was on dogs. Dog kidneys are pure filtration so you can calculate blood flow from urine flow and creatinine content. Human kidneys, however, secrete creatinine so the blood flow calculated has to be adjusted by 25%. He disagreed and we eventually went to the library with a troop of interns and students with us. The book was a classic , "Goodman and Gilman", and Bob said the information was on page 321 on the left hand side at the bottom of the page. We got the book out and there it was , in the exact same spot but it said the opposite of his recollection. I never let him forget it.

Speed reading is not the last word.

Ann Althouse said...

“So it seems Althouse thinks it's better to allow tortoises to mull over the answers.”

No, you don’t have my point. Maybe you read too fast.

bagoh20 said...

"It's mostly her, and she is to be commended for that, we take it for granted."

Probably true, Fen, and kudos to her for that. Although, I have not personally experienced censorship on conservative blogs, I've heard of it so often by reasonable people that I expect it is a thing, though not SOP as it usually is on most blogs run by liberal-minded folks. The tolerance found here is a rare thing, of that I'm sure, and probably a lot of the reason I have come here for so long. I sometimes don't agree with the rare censorship exercised here, but it's hard to argue with the success of what she has done as she has done it. Still, what matters most in the great scheme of things is that she probably throws like girl.

buwaya said...

Naranayan,

Rands philosophy, or whatever it is, is about general human nature, not about a given society. Just as Marxism is held to be universal.

My working assumption is that civilization is a collective defense mechanism against the consequences of technology, against which the biological nature of the human animal has not had time to evolve, and can never catch up to in any case, as technology changes too fast for natural processes.

Rands concept of the problems she wants to address, and most others of her kind also, to be fair, is quite narrow.

buwaya said...

Josephblau,

I'm a great fan of Iain Banks. He was one of the masters of the SF high concept.
That is, the classic of asking "what if..." , and then running with it.
He was a communist of course, but in his SF anyway was rigorous enough to understand that it would require a situation without scarcity, and then of course what would it take to get that. And what would the consequence of that be, and so forth.

Karen said...

Wesley Mouch was straight out of the pages of the NYT,

Paul Mac said...

Heinlein should be on this list and not Rand, but if he was they'd use Stranger in a Strange Land which is not one of his best, not something like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Starship Troopers, since they have a certain world view.

But of course the goal in a list like this, beyond clickbait, isn't revelation but promoting a certain mental path.

Taleb's Incerto or at least something from it, probably either The Black Swan or Antifragile should be there too, though I'm not sure at what age.

Freeman Hunt said...

If we're talking sci-fi, I like Greg Egan.

Freeman Hunt said...

Do novelettes count? If so, I'd probably switch something out for Sandkings.

tim in vermont said...

"If it’s not worth reading slow, it’s not worth reading” - Emile Faguet - L’Art de Lire

OK, that’s the tl;dr version of a long passage in French.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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