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Saturday, June 01, 2013

• • Architecture prize should belatedly honor pioneering woman 

The Fountainhead  | [T]he myth of the architect as a singular male genius — the Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead” — feels increasingly antiquated in a world where design has become less about skyscrapers and more a tool to address global issues, including climate change, water scarcity, and poverty.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

 Can you MOOC your way through college in one year? 
[Jonathan Haber:] [T]he discussion boards [for a massive open online course, or MOOC] look like comment sections on news stories—really, really thoughtful and really, really misguided. At least half the people taking the courses are outside of the US, meaning that English is not everybody’s first language. Generally I found that any discussion that goes over 25 comments is gravitating toward the mean, which is the same old stale left/right debate. If the discussion goes on over 25 comments usually it’s because they’re having a fight over Ayn Rand.

Monday, March 11, 2013

• • Romney's nod to wealthy few is what made voters shake their heads 
Mitt Romney has popped up again ruing the things he did or didn’t do that cost him the election [...]. What he fails to grasp is that his problem was what he appeared to believe. People who believe, as Romney seemed to, that an elite few deserve the bulk of the material wealth of this country will always have an uphill battle to win the presidency. Ayn Rand’s vision is hokum. In fact, most of the population probably works just as hard as Romney, if not harder, and deserves a fair share of the pie rather than scorn.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

• • Enough is Enough: Exercising from Healthy to Harmful 
Inaccurate  | When Ayn Rand said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” Exercise must not have been her focus. Live well, exercise vigorously… but remember enough is enough.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

 Movie Review Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated and Live Action 
There’s a mini-“Simpsons” episode, the agreeable 5-minute quickie “The Longest Daycare,” in which baby Maggie endures the terrors of the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

 Candidates quibble over size of government, but what US needs is quality 
Individualism  | Yet Romney is also right to rumble against wasteful Washington, for we have often spent more without achieving more. Studies often find little correlation between school quality and spending, and it is even easier to waste vast sums on infrastructure boondoggles, such as Detroit’s People Mover monorail. Since America cannot give up on education or infrastructure, the right response to these shortcomings is not Ayn Randian individualism, but a passionate commitment to the wonky business of public-sector efficiency.

• • Federal flood insurance encourages irrational choices 
Ideologically, perhaps only the ardent Ayn Rand rightist argues that the federal government should not be in the business of helping our fellow citizens recover from devastation on this scale. Yet candidates who promise lower taxes and more government stuff relieve us from having to think rationally about paying for what we want to get from government. As a result, we have accumulated an astonishing $16 trillion debt, and that’s a tragedy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

• • • The shrugging continues in ‘Atlas Shrugged Part II’ 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | Here’s the thing about filming a great big book of capitalist science-fiction. If you’re enslaved to its every idea, one movie will never do. You might need two or three or 13. It’s a safe assumption that the people responsible for “Atlas Shrugged Part II” will require only one more installment to leave us alone. But who knows? (The copy I dragged around for six months was 1,200 pages.) They could be following that math principle in which a number is under constant division without ever reaching zero. Maybe we should be bracing for “Atlas Shrugged Part .044564: The Shruggening.”

Thursday, August 30, 2012

• • • In Rand’s world, the upper echelon rebels 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Paul Ryan  | Almost 50 years ago I read Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged.” These books changed my life and my political perspective (“Ayn Rand’s influence on Paul Ryan,” Letters, Aug. 21). They did not make me an atheist or a heartless conservative. They did, however, awaken in me the realization that there are giants among us, people who transform, through their individual force of personality and intellect, the world in which we live.

• • The worship of wealth crosses party lines 
Cathy Young writes that it is a “misconception” to think that Rand “worshipped the rich and saw moneymaking as life’s highest goal.” However, given the prominent role of money in today’s elections, liberals are as guilty as conservatives of helping to create this misconception. Rand “attracted hordes of followers.” Among them are the leaders of our political parties. Not too long ago, it seems, Richard Nixon said, “We’re all Keynesians now.” Today, we’re all Ayn Randians.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

• • • Ayn Rand’s detractors miss her vision 
Altruism  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  | Ayn Rand, the Russian-born writer and self-styled philosopher who died three decades ago, is back in the news as a favorite author of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. In recent years, the passionately individualist, pro-capitalist Rand has been embraced as a champion of freedom by many conservatives and libertarians, and denounced as a prophet of greed and narcissism by many liberals. Yet, if Rand admirers tend to ignore the flaws of her vision, her detractors reduce her to grotesque caricature — and invoke her popularity as proof of right-wing nuttiness.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

• • • Conservatives need to outgrow their fixation on oddball fantasy author 
Atheism  |Paul Ryan  |Personal life  | The op-ed by Joanna Weiss on Ayn Rand (“Sex and the conservatives’ matriarch,” Aug. 19) is absolutely accurate in pointing out that Rand’s ideas, which completely dominate the Republican leadership and the Tea Party, are an embarrassingly adolescent fantasy of being wealthy, powerful, brilliant, athletic, and sexy. It is unfortunate that Paul Ryan and his colleagues have not grown out of that fantasy.

• • Ayn Rand’s Influence on Paul Ryan: Ayn Rand fans put too much faith in writer 
Alan Greenspan  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Whenever I see the name Ayn Rand connected to a public figure, it sends up a red flag for me. Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and other works, was a Russian émigré to America whose views were formed in extreme reaction to the Russian Revolution. Her philosophy of the entrepreneur as hero seems to owe something to 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche — the businessman as superman. I’ve never read her fiction and only perused the nonfiction, but what I know of her philosophy strikes me as ludicrous.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

• • • Sex and the conservatives’ matriarch 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Essay Contests  |Paul Ryan  | I’ve been trying to imagine the late-night discussions in Paul Ryan’s congressional office, to envision what his young aides whispered to each other about the righteous, racy novels of Ayn Rand. You’ve heard, by now, about Ryan’s unofficial book club: In 2005, the would-be vice president told a group of Rand acolytes that he made his young staffers read “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” (Ryan has since disavowed parts of Rand’s all-encompassing “objectivist” philosophy — such as the part where you’re supposed to be an atheist.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

 Paul Ryan biography 

Paul Ryan  | Personal: Catholic, has cited as influences libertarian writer Ayn Rand and philosopher and saint Thomas Aquinas.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

 Delay of highly anticipated BioShock game called smart move 
BioShock  | BioShock Infinite is a follow-up to Irrational’s 2007 BioShock, a grim and intellectually challenging game inspired by the libertarian philosophy of novelist Ayn Rand.

Monday, April 30, 2012

 The Difference Between You and Me,’ ‘Radiant Days,’ ‘The Miseducation of Cam 
Madeleine George’s “The Difference Between You and Me” takes on a lot (homosexuality, cancer and loss, family, corporate business vs. small towns), but at its core it’s a funny and warm book about a romance between a 15-year-old who accepts who she is and her classmate who has let others’ expectations define her. [....] George sometimes defies character clichés (e.g., Wyatt, Jesse’s gay best friend, worships Ayn Rand instead of Judy Garland), but other times, embraces them: Emily is a pretty girl with problems, and her friends are mean clones.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

 Review: Peter Pan show high on its own starstuff 
There’s [Alex] Timbers’ winky-winky, oh-so-witty cultural references -- Kelis’ “Milkshake,” Starbucks and Ayn Rand, all not terribly Victorian really -- that he also offered while helming “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” and there’s the endearing boyish naivety that Rees has added to parts on “Cheers” and “The Addams Family.”

Monday, April 16, 2012

• • Bruins goalie Tim Thomas a champion of underdogs 
Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  | An English major, Thomas was particularly impressed by Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” an ode to rugged individualism in a society faltering under an overbearing government. He took full advantage of his scholarship, never lagging academically and graduating on time.

Monday, January 02, 2012

 Pity the Billionaire: The Hard Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right by Thomas Frank 
Capitalism  | Book review.
Frank is a historian, not a soothsayer, and the bulk of “Pity the Billionaire” is a tour of recent political ideology. Frank relies on a pop-cultural archive: from the succulent conspiracies spun by Glenn Beck and the fiery Tea Party insurgents in search of YouTube’s fleeting grace, to lavish Gordon Gekko culture and Ayn Rand’s novels. Anything, in fact, that championed the culture of fiscal aggression gained celebrants, leading to an inversion of victimhood. Traders and captains of industry, the very people that brought on the collapse, became heroes, and government regulators in Washington were cast as devils, simultaneously omnipotent and incompetent.