Just got home last night from my trip to Pittsburgh where I had forgotten how bone chillingly cold winter weather is there. It must be a unique combination of cold and humidity in the Pittsburgh climate. My aunt took me on a tour of some neighborhoods that I had missed when I lived there before. Little hidden gems that would be prime real estate territory if Pittsburgh was San Francisco. She’s got a good eye. The view from the cliffs is spectacular and houses in that area are going for a song. Nope, not going to tell you where they are in case I decide to become a long term real estate investor. Bwahahahaahhhhhh!
I was away from my internet connection for almost 5 days and I am here to tell you that it is survivable, especially if there are interesting people around to talk to. But I was able to surf a teensy bit when the wind was blowing signal in my direction. One of my favorite posts of the past week was Matt Taibbi’s 10 Most Pretentious Moments in History. There are some awardees I had never heard of but will now have to track down, if I can stand it. How have I managed to miss Martin Amis all my life??
Anyway, coming in as a close runner-up to the most pretentious moment in history is Ayn Rand’s appearance on Phil Donahue’s show in 1979. Only one segment of this infamous interview was included in the post but it was so jaw-droppingly pretentious that I had to see the whole thing. Take a look:
Wow, Roger Ailes must have been watching that because Rand laid out the entire conservative strategy for duping people on Fox. She even demonstrated how the “Shut up! Shut up!” tactic works. You just refuse to answer questions you don’t like and tell your questioner that they’re being rude. What a piece of work. It’s all there. But what was really unsettling was that the audience was much smarter back in 1979. They called her on her bullshit. You’re not allowed to do that on TV anymore. Questioning uber meany conservatives who say stupid, illogical things is strictly forbidden. It’s so forbidden that it probably hasn’t been done like that since 1979.
Rand was full of good ideas like letting the rich and powerful do whatever they liked and giving them permission to feel special about themselves. She was an early proponent of eliminating public education. She was an anti-feminist. If you want to know why Hillary lost in 2008, look to Rand. She gave men permission to murder a powerful woman’s political career for no other reason than they felt they should never have to follow a woman.
It’s hard for me to take in that Alan Greenspan was this woman’s disciple, but it certainly explains Andrea Mitchell’s dismissive and nasty attitude towards Clinton in 2008. I listened in on the press briefings and was always struck by Mitchell’s nastiness and arrogance.
I only read The Fountainhead and decided to stop there. So I had to read the cliff notes version of Atlas Shrugged on Wiki and, apparently, the precious “jahb creators” decide to drop out of society to teach the rest of us a lesson, which sounds like a very good idea. But the literary reference that I think would most accurately describe the consequence of that decision is probably the one from Douglas Adams’ Restaurant at the End of the Universe where the wise people of Golgafrinchan scared their problematic stratum of society into thinking their planet was about to be destroyed and tricked them into boarding an Ark Ship to be sent ahead to an outpost planet millions of light years away, leaving all the productive innovators and working class bereft of their input.
Unfortunately, according to Adams, the Golgafrinchans landed on earth. Rand was like an ancestral Eve.
And now for something completely but not really different, take a listen to this podcast by the Thinking Atheist’s Seth Andrews on the Church of Satan, which Andrews does with tongue firmly in cheek. Rand and Anton LeVey must have known each other. It’s uncanny.