NOTABLOG MONTHLY ARCHIVES: 2002 - 2020
|JANUARY 2006||MARCH 2006|
FEBRUARY 28, 2006
Song of the Day: Born Free, music by John Barry, lyrics by Don Black, won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Song from the heart-string-pulling film of the same title. Listen to audio clips of versions by Andy Williams, Matt Monro, and from the original soundtrack.
FEBRUARY 27, 2006
Song of the Day: My Kind of Town, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, was nominated for a 1964 Academy Award for Best Song, from the film "Robin and the Seven Hoods." Listen to an audio clip from the one and only Francis Albert Sinatra.
FEBRUARY 26, 2006
Congrats to Apolo Anton Ohno on winning the Gold Medal in the thrilling 500-meter short-track speedskating race last night.
Tonight, the Closing Ceremonies of the XX Winter Olympics.
Oh oh, I love that Apolo boy since 4 years ago.
Posted by: Hong | February 26, 2006 03:58 PM
I watched the Closing Ceremonies last night and was moved to tears during the segment on Vernon Baker, a tremendous fighter for freedom. Ayn Rand was conspicuously silent with regards to racism during the height of the civil rights movement. If, as Nathaniel Branden claims, Rand refused to speak out because of the monopoly on the subject by the left, this was a tragic missed opportunity. Rand's assessment of racism in the September 1963 issue of "The Objectivist Newsletter" was brilliant. But shouldn't her voice have been raised louder and more often against what she claimed as "the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism"?
Posted by: Mick Russell | February 27, 2006 03:37 AM
I second your question and I doubt Chris will disagree.
I haven't read that essay in ages but the excerpt you provide from it is powerful.
I can't begin to imagine what it'd be like to spew haterd towards people because of their skin color and reduce folks to an undifferenated collective like that.
utterly disgusting and it is definitely a shame that Rand didn't write more on the topic
Posted by: Nick | March 1, 2006 08:26 PM
excuse my crappy spelling please! hehe
Posted by: Nick | March 1, 2006 10:48 PM
Hong, you're right about Apolo... and I was very happy to see him win!
As for Rand on racism, let me just point to my own discussion of that very topic in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, pp. 343-348. Rand may have only authored one essay on "Racism," but she deals with that phenomenon in a number of essays and lectures, all of which I draw from in reconstructing what I believe is her profoundly dialectical critique of racism. Check it out...
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 2, 2006 07:14 AM
I didn't know you had drawn from such a wide range of material and thought you were only using the essay Mick quoted from.
I might have to give that part of Russian Radical another look.
Posted by: Nick | March 2, 2006 02:27 PM
Song of the Day: More (aka "Ti Guardero' Nel Cuore") (audio clip at that link and here too) features the music of Riz Ortolani and Nino Oliviero, the Italian lyrics of Marcello Ciorciolini, and the English lyrics of Norman Newell. It was nominated for a 1963 Academy Award for Best Song, from the "shocking" documentary film "Mondo Cane." I enjoyed playing this song on violin when I was a kid in junior high school. Listen to audio clips from the original soundtrack here, a Joe Pass version played to jazzy perfection on 12-string guitar, and an Andy Williams version too.
FEBRUARY 25, 2006
Readers may have noticed that I'm doing a lot of singing and music-listening on the blog over the past couple of weeks. I just haven't had as much time to blog, even though there have been quite a few issues I'd like to write about. The upcoming Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Spring issue has been taking up a lot of my time during the day, and will continue to occupy me through the month of March. In the evening, I've been catching up on my reading, and enjoying the XX Winter Olympics (which has compelled me to tape a few of the TV series I watch on a regular basis ... so I'm behind on a number of programs...).
I have really enjoyed the skiing and the aerials, ice hockey, speed skating, snowboarding, and figure skating too (though I was rather disappointed that Sasha Cohen failed to get the gold). Last night, the figure skaters treated us to the Exhibition Gala; I have to say that I was most impressed with, and moved by, the interpretive piece performed by Johnny Weir to Frank Sinatra's rendition of "My Way." If ever there were a song perfect for a specific figure skater, this was it. Too much grace is sacrificed during the competitions in the quest to achieve technical points. Weir was among those who reminded us of just how graceful and beautiful this sport can be.
I'll have some things to say about current events in the coming days and weeks.
Too bad Weir botched the long program.
Posted by: Hong | February 26, 2006 03:56 PM
"Too much grace is sacrificed during the competitions in the quest to achieve technical points."
Indeed. I've yet to get over Michelle Kwan being robbed of the gold in Nagano.
Posted by: Mick Russell | February 27, 2006 03:00 AM
What was the name and artist of the song Arakawa skated to during the Exhibition Gala? It's one of those "Senior moment" things.......
Posted by: L. | February 28, 2006 10:27 AM
L, the song that Arakawa skated to was "You Raise Me Up." I have heard the version by Josh Groban, but this was most certainly not Groban's version---unless Groban's voice has suddenly climbed a few octaves. (The version played behind Arakawa's performance was by a female singer.)
I did a quick search on google, and the articles mention that she danced to Josh Groban's rendition... but, as I said, that was not Groban (unless they were running some weirdly altered vocal speed-up with tempo compression).
Hope this helps.
As to Weir and Kwan: You're right, Hong, about Weir; and I will always lament the fact that Kwan never got the gold.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 2, 2006 06:57 AM
My thoughts on the Winter Olympics:
I hope Weir competes next time. He's fun to watch and his outrageous quotes are amusing.
I agree with Chris on grace being sacrificed for points in ice skating competition. Michelle Kwan was sadly missed during these Olympics. On another note, I'm sorry the rule against women wearing pantsuits in competition was relaxed--those ladies' pantsuits look just TERRIBLE. The lovely Irina Slutskaya looked like an adolescent boy in competition, and those fluttering pantlegs on other female competitors really detracted from the aesthetics of their movements on the ice. Was anyone other than I bothered by this development?
Bode Miller: As my father would say, that guy has an alligator mouth and a hummingbird butt. I don't mind hype and a big mouth if you bring the game, but he didn't.
All hail to Joey Cheek, the only adult on the US Male longtrack speedskating team. I hope Harvard reconsiders their decision on admittance.
Glad to see Apolo Anton Ohno win a gold the old fashioned way--by flat out coming in first!
And Chris: Hope your JARS work is coming along quickly. There's been so much going on in the world and we're thirsty to read your take on them! And speaking of JARS, please tell your collaborator that I wish he had a "gift subscription" section on the website. I wanted to give a JARS subscription to someone as a birthday present, but there was no place to do that! :-(
Posted by: Peri Sword | March 4, 2006 10:31 AM
Song of the Day: Charade is another magnificent collaboration between composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer. It was nominated for a 1963 Academy Award for Best Song, featured on the beautiful score for the classic Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn film of the same title, the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never directed. One of my favorite versions of this song is an instrumental rendering by jazz guitarist Joe Pass, who plays it on the 12-string guitar. Listen to audio clips from the original soundtrack here and a version by Andy Williams.
FEBRUARY 24, 2006
Song of the Day: Days of Wine and Roses features the stellar music of Henry Mancini and the poetic lyrics of Johnny Mercer. This great American standard was the 1962 Academy Award Winner for Best Song. Listen to audio clips of versions by Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett with pianist Bill Evans, Bill Evans and harmonica player Toots Thielmans, guitarist Wes Montgomery, and Monica Mancini (Henry's daughter).
FEBRUARY 23, 2006
Song of the Day: Mona Lisa, music by Ray Evans, lyrics by Jay Livingston, from the film "Captain Carey, USA" won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Song. In the history of the Oscars, it was the first award-winning song from a nonmusical film. Listen to an audio clip from the definitive version of this song by Nat King Cole. Also check out an audio clip from Conway Twitty (thanks Jeff!).
FEBRUARY 22, 2006
Song of the Day: It's Magic, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, was sung by Doris Day in her film debut, "Romance on the High Seas." The song was nominated for a 1948 Academy Award for Best Song. Listen to audio clips from Doris Day, Tony Martin, Carmen McRae, and Sarah Vaughan.
FEBRUARY 21, 2006
Song of the Day: My Shining Hour, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, from the film "The Sky's the Limit," was nominated for a 1943 Academy Award for Best Song. One of my favorite swinging versions is by jazz vocalist Betty Carter (from a live album, "Round Midnight"). Listen to audio clips of versions by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, saxophonist Eric Alexander, and guitarist Howard Alden.
FEBRUARY 20, 2006
Song of the Day: Dearly Beloved, music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was nominated for a 1942 Academy Award for Best Song from the film "You Were Never Lovelier." My brother, jazz guitarist Carl Barry, recorded this song on his first album. Listen to audio clips from Fred Astaire (who starred in the film), Dinah Shore, and, for jazz guitar fans, the great Wes Montgomery.
FEBRUARY 19, 2006
Song of the Day: When You Wish Upon a Star (instrumental audio clip at that link), music by Leigh Harline, lyrics by Ned Washington, from the Disney film, "Pinocchio," won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Song. In the film, it was performed by Jiminy Cricket (the voice of Cliff Edwards, audio clip here). Listen also to audio clips by Linda Ronstadt and Bill Evans, with Freddie Hubbard and Jim Hall.
FEBRUARY 18, 2006
Song of the Day: Change Partners, words and music by Irving Berlin, was nominated for a 1938 Academy Award for Best Song, from the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film "Carefree." Listen to an audio clip of a lovely, "carefree" bossa nova rendition by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
FEBRUARY 17, 2006
With a dismal forecast by the Groundhog, and the biggest snowfall in New York City history, with temperatures entering the 60s today, and dropping back down to the 20s tonight, we're not quite sure what season it is. But yesterday, pitchers and catchers reported to Yankees Spring Training Camp. And that's good enough for me on my birthday (which is today!).
Welcome back, Yanks! Only 13 days, 3 hours, and 45 minutes to the first Spring Training Exhibition Game!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS!!!!!!!!!!
Have a great day. Birthdays should always be a celebration -- celebrate you today!!!
Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | February 17, 2006 10:33 AM
Happy Birthday Friend!!
I hope you celebrate your existence like crazy today
Posted by: Nick | February 17, 2006 11:37 AM
Happy Birthday Chris! I wish you well but not your Yankees. Go Padres!
Posted by: Mick Russell | February 17, 2006 11:49 AM
Happy Birthday, Chris.
BTW ... how is this for a scary prediction ....
... the class of the AL East this year will be ... Toronto
Posted by: George Cordero | February 17, 2006 11:53 AM
Chris; Let me also join in wishing you a happy birthday. May you have good health and lots of book sales. I hope you find another Blondie. Chris Grieb
Posted by: Chris Grieb | February 17, 2006 01:53 PM
Let me add to the chorus of Happy Birthdays!
Posted by: Robert Campbell | February 17, 2006 05:10 PM
Happiest of Birthdays, Chris!
Posted by: James Valliant | February 17, 2006 07:58 PM
Many happy returns, Chris. Best to you on your 30th birthday! (Well, 40 is the new 30, right?) ;)
Posted by: Casey Fahy | February 18, 2006 12:49 AM
Happy Birthday, Chris. You're a Yankee in making the world that matters a better place by being here. Please continue.
Posted by: Jane Yoder | February 18, 2006 06:51 AM
Best wishes on your Birthday, Chris!
Posted by: Joe | February 18, 2006 10:28 AM
Happy belated birthday, Chris! I hope it was a good one--celebrate all weekend, buddy!
Posted by: Peri Sword | February 18, 2006 04:06 PM
Hey, thanks to all those who wrote here at Notablog, and to me privately, for your birthday wishes. Excuse my delay in replying, but when one's birthday falls on a three-day weekend, the celebration suddenly balloons to three nights and four days. As Bob Cratchit would have said: "I was making rather merry..."
So, thanks, Aeon, Nick, Robert, Mick, Jane, Joe, Peri, James, and Casey (but if 40 is the new 30, what's 46? :) ).
Speaking of which, Mick: You must still be sore over that four-game World Series sweep of the Padres by the Yankees back in 1998, eh? :) That 98 Yankees team was just unbelievable, so don't feel too badly. In all honesty, however, I'll be watching the Padres a bit more this year. You now have possession of one of my favorite Mets players: Mike Piazza. (Yeah, I am a Yankees fanatic, but I do respect talent, wherever it might exist!)
Thanks George too, though I do think you're not off in your comment on Toronto. Of course, it all looks good on paper, even for the Yankees... but we do need to see how these things translate into a season's reality: injuries, trades, etc.
Chris, thanks too for your kind thoughts; I may not find another Blondie, literally, but our hearts are certainly open to the possibility someday ...
All my best always,
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 22, 2006 07:39 AM
Happy birthday, Chris!
Posted by: Geoffrey Allan Plauche | February 22, 2006 07:19 PM
Oops! I missed this (I was in San Francisco). Belated happy birthday!
Posted by: Roderick T. Long | February 23, 2006 05:09 PM
Glad you had a great weekend, Chris.
This baseball talk reminds me of the last time I was in NYC--during the Yankees/Red Sox World series. During the Series, when I was out and about, I saw, naturally, all kinds of people wearing Yankees regalia. The morning after the Red Sox won, I wondered what the mood would be on the street. That morning, I saw something that made me smile and epitomized for me the spirit of New Yorkers: I passed a couple of guys outfitted in Jets gear; they'd bounced right back from the loss--the World Series (and the baseball season) was over; time to move on...
Posted by: Peri Sword | February 27, 2006 09:16 AM
Hey, Roderick, thanks for the belated greetings, and thanks also to Peri. Yeah, you're right about New Yorkers and their capacity to bounce back.
Now, if Mother Nature would cooperate a little and bring us Spring a bit sooner, I'd really appreciate it. (They're expecting snow today. ugh...)
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 2, 2006 07:09 AM
A certain beardless center fielder had a very auspicious debut for the Yankees. I know it's only Spring Training but it looks like the Yanks are retooled again. DAMN IT!
Posted by: Mick Russell | March 3, 2006 01:32 AM
Here's a belated birthday greeting (here) that Chris only discovered today (which was not belated there). But it's been there - just for you, Chris.
(I love it when these little Easter eggs, er... birthday eggs finally get discovered...)
All the happiness in the world to you from all of us.
Michael & Kat & all the others
Posted by: Michael Stuart Kelly | March 7, 2006 08:10 PM
Just wanted to thank Mick and Mike for the additional posts here. Mick, don't know if you're named after a famous Yankee :) ... but, yes, the Yanks look like they are retooled for the new season... on paper. Let's see what happens in reality. :)
And Michael, thanks, belatedly, for that very nice little birthday tribute, and for the "Sciabarra Corner" (which can be found here).
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 9, 2006 07:49 AM
Song of the Day: Ben-Hur ("Friendship") [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa, continues an annual tradition, in which I feature a composition from my all-time favorite soundtrack. I pick this stellar theme today in celebration of my own birthday and in celebration of my friends, those who have given me their love and support over the past year, in good times and in very difficult times too. Today also begins my annual salute to film music. This year, instead of focusing on selections from my favorite film scores, like today's entry, I will focus on cinematic songs. From tomorrow until the Oscars on March 5, 2006, I will highlight some of my favorite songs from the silver screen, taking a chronological trip down memory lane.
FEBRUARY 16, 2006
Song of the Day: Nessun Dorma, an aria composed by Giacomo Puccini, with librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, for the opera, "Turandot," has been sung by many great tenors. Listen to an audio clip from Luciano Pavarotti, who performed the piece for the XX Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.
FEBRUARY 15, 2006
Song of the Day: Another Part of Me, music and lyrics by Michael Jackson, is a pop-funk midtempo dance track. Though it was one of an armful of hits from the album, "Bad," it actually made an Epcot debut as part of a 3D short film, "Captain Eo," starring Jackson and Angelica Houston, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Listen to an audio clip here.
FEBRUARY 14, 2006
Song of the Day: I've Got a Crush on You, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, is one of the great standards of the American songbook. It has been recorded by countless artists through the years. It was covered recently by Rod Stewart and Diana Ross (though a November 12, 2005 Billboard review said that the duet "meshes Stewart's burlap delivery with a razor-thin satiny performance from Ross. A more unlikely pairing would challenge the imagination---and that is no compliment. Every variable of this effort is an assault on good taste, like serving Pabst with brie." Ouch.) Listen to audio clips of recordings by Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald (each of these features the intro), and by Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. Moving from songs with a moon motif, I wish all the honeymooners and romantics out there (including my very own "sweetie pie") a Happy Valentine's Day.
FEBRUARY 13, 2006
Song of the Day: Sister Moon, written and recorded by Sting, is a sequel of sorts to "Moon Over Bourbon Street." It is another moon song with a nice bluesy feel. Listen to audio clips of Sting solo, a jazzier version featuring Sting with Herbie Hancock, and a sultry take by Vanessa Williams with Sting on background vocals and Toots Thielemans on harmonica.
FEBRUARY 12, 2006
Song of the Day: Moon Over Bourbon Street, written and recorded by Sting, was an homage to Anne Rice's novel, "Interview with a Vampire." Listen to an audio clip here, and enjoy the Full Snow Moon tonight. Indeed, we are a bit full of snow right now due to the NYC Blizzard of '06, which keeps on comin' ...
FEBRUARY 11, 2006
Song of the Day: Spank, words and music by Ronald L. Smith, was recorded by Jimmy "Bo" Horne. It was one of a multitude of classic dance tracks mixed to perfection during the XX Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Torino, Italy last night. Leave it to my Italian paisans to stage a "Parade of Nations" as if it were one huge disco party. And many of the featured songs can be found on my list of favorites, including today's pick, a huge dance hit from 1979. Listen to audio clips of the irresistible original version and a remixed version as well.
FEBRUARY 10, 2006
Song of the Day: The Pink Panther Theme, composed by Henry Mancini, is one of my favorite jazzy film themes of all time. It can be heard in the original film version and in subsequent sequels, cartoons, and the 2006 remake, starring Steve Martin, opening today. The song won Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Composition, Performance, and Arrangement in 1964. Listen to audio clips (at title links) from the "Pink Panther" and "Ultimate Pink Panther" soundtracks and another from "Ultimate Mancini," featuring Plas Johnson on tenor sax, Joey DeFrancesco on organ, and Gary Burton on vibraphone.
FEBRUARY 09, 2006
Song of the Day: Superstition, written and performed by Stevie Wonder, went to #1 on the Billboard chart in 1973. It's classic Stevie. Listen to an audio clip here. And listen also to an audio clip of a great Jeff Beck version (thanks Billy!).
FEBRUARY 08, 2006
As readers of Notablog know, Bill Bradford passed away on December 8, 2005.
In the March 2006 issue of Liberty, there is a lovely tribute to the man, with contributions from Stephen Cox, Ross Overbeek, Doug Casey, Jo Ann Skousen, Mark Skousen, Wendy McElroy, Patrick Quealy, Brian Doherty, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, Robert Higgs, Paul Rako, Andrew Ferguson, Timothy Sandefur, Jane S. Shaw, Randal O'Toole, and Tim Slagle.
My own piece, "Ayn Rand and Coney Island," also appears therein. I will publish that piece on my blog in its slightly altered version when it appears in the forthcoming Spring 2006 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, of which Bill Bradford was a founding co-editor.
Take a look here at some of the current pieces of remembrance in Liberty.
Song of the Day: Too Turned On, words and music by Alexandra Forbes, is a hot sleaze-beat 1985 dance track recorded by Brooklyn-born Alisha. Listen to an audio clip here.
FEBRUARY 07, 2006
Song of the Day: Don't You Want My Love, words and music by Aldo Nova, was recorded by Nicole (actually Nicole J. McCloud). It has the same title as yesterday's song, but it's a different composition. This hot dance track was featured on the soundtrack of the 1986 film "Ruthless People." Listen to an audio clip of a 2002 remix. Back in my DJ days, I'd create my own steamy remix of this song by interweaving its "dub version" to keep the dance floor jammed.
FEBRUARY 06, 2006
Song of the Day: Don't You Want My Love (audio clip at that link) is a disco stomper sung by Debbie Jacobs, with words and music by Paul Sabu. It was also recorded by Rosabel, featuring Debbie Jacobs (audio clip at that link).
FEBRUARY 05, 2006
Song of the Day: Artistry in Rhythm was a signature tune for the progressive big band sounds of Stan Kenton. Listen here to an audio clip of this classic Kenton tune.
FEBRUARY 04, 2006
I have been working very hard on catching up with my reading and have had Jack Criss's book, Ready, Aim, Right! Editorials, Essays and Reviews, 1990-2004, sitting by the side of my computer waiting for a mini-review for much too long.
As discussions of "left-libertarianism" and "right libertarianism" proceed, I found it of interest that Criss discusses his own "odyssey" from "Marx, Ginsberg, Siddhartha, long hair and 'Rock Against Reagan' ... to Ayn Rand, Aristotle, Ludwig von Mises, Voltaire and business meetings," as he puts it in the Preface of his book. He praises "laissez-faire, individual freedom, high culture"---values "most often identified with the Right," while having no sympathy for the Libertarian Party (though he clearly agrees with the LP's core principles and "party message").
All this seems pretty "Right-wing" to me, including some of his stances on the current war.
But Criss is no traditional conservative. As he wrote back in 1995:
Put up your Playboys and hide the liquor in the cabinet. They're at it again. I mean, of course, the Grand Ol' Party and their rather empty banter about family values. Empty content of ideas certainly has precious little to do with legislation in Washington---but potentially liberty-threatening. ... These men honestly seem intent on somehow defining a very intimate sphere of human existence as they see fit, and then enacting legislation to see that their definition is enforced. At best, this is amusing. At worst, it is moral totalitarianism. ...
Liberals interfered with families with the Great Society of the sixties and it got us to where we are today. ... But conservatives now wish to intervene again with government programs to cure what government botched in the first place. It won't work. It shouldn't even be considered as a viable option. Government already dictates entirely too much of what we can and cannot do in our economic lives; to allow the behemoth to enter our homes and regulate our most private and cherished institution is equally evil and should not be tolerated.
Dems fightin' words. In fact, Criss has a fightin' style to his writing: very colorful and very entertaining. Even when you disagree with him on any specific issue, you marvel at his way with words.
The book is not all politics, however; I was most enchanted by his various musings on his personal life. A tribute to his father and his reflections on becoming a father offer the most poignant moments in the book.
All in all: A very enjoyable read.
Thank you for this post and the link to the essay on "Left Libertarianism" and Rand contained within it. It offers me a new avenue to explore, and different insights into Rand.
The "thought police," "nanny state" fascist mentality of the rhetoric coming from the left wing of the Democratic party and the religiousity and corporate and military worship from the right-wing of the Republican party leave me disgusted and politically stranded. My political philosophy--insofar as I have one--is informed, somewhat naively perhaps, by the Declaration of Independance, Wilde's "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" (which is not really about Socialism at all; Wilde's grasp of the Fabian movement was tenuous and blurry at best, but, DAMN, he saw further than they did), with a dash of Nietzsche thrown in for good measure.
My difficulty with Rand lies precisely with her right-wing aspects as described by the essayist in your link, and when my partner Michael Russell began exploring her writings, I felt profound skepticism. He turned me onto your (nota) blog and I was intrigued to discover that a warm, compassionate, generous and respectful person like you, seriously studying and promoting Rand. It inspires me to go back and take a look at a writer I had dismissed right after college, having been put off by the "straw-man" characters I found in my first attempt to read "Atlas Shrugged."
Posted by: Peri Sword | February 4, 2006 02:44 PM
Peri, first I wanted to say "thank you" for your kind words and support here. You and Michael are valued participants here at Notablog, and I really enjoy reading posts from both of you.
Second, let me just say that I have long advocated preserving the elements of "radicalism" from a wide array of thinkers---Rand included---while leaving behind any vestiges of conservatism. With regard to Rand check out:
What the Hell Has Happened to the Radical Spirit of Objectivism
On Rand and foreign policy:
Understanding the Global Crisis: Reclaiming Rand's Radical Legacy
On Rand and homosexuality, my monograph:
Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation
On Rand and feminism, an anthology I coedited with Mimi Reisel Gladstein:
Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand
... as you can see, I am in broad agreement with Roderick Long on many of these issues...
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 4, 2006 11:08 PM
Oh, and, uh, it occurs to me: My Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and my whole "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy" focuses on that "preservation of the radical" I mentioned above. :)
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 4, 2006 11:10 PM
Thank you, Chris. I've just read the first two essays you mentioned and there's a lot to absorb, especially on the history of foreign policy during the last century. A lot of Rand's criticism as described in your second essay resonates with me; however, what did Rand have to say about the Holocaust? I'm not so naive to believe that FDR seriously considered that a reason to declare war on the Axis Powers (after all, the US turned away boatloads of European Jewish refuges), but how did she approach that huge moral question?
I should probably just go to the source and figure it out for myself, but that is one question that occurred to me as I perused your essay.
Posted by: Peri Sword | February 11, 2006 11:13 AM
Another question occurs to me--having been assigned, and quite horrified--by Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" in my 8th grade Advanced US History class, I have always been under the impression that some of the progressive reforms under T. Roosevelt and others were positive actions. After all, as the 19th century ended the country was running out of places for people to settle and become Jeffersonian "yeoman farmers" and most jobs were to be found in the industrialized cities. People were being exploited, and unhealthy products were being foisted on the public.
Of course, it's probably time to revisit those issues with something other than what I learned in the 8th grade. :-)
Posted by: Peri Sword | February 11, 2006 11:36 AM
While I can not speak to Miss Rand's comments about the Holocaust she always spoke for open immigration. I don't think this is was a position she just arrived at in the 1950ths. Peri: on your other question read Gabriel Kolko.
Posted by: Chris Grieb | February 12, 2006 11:23 AM
There's a revisionist interpretation of that era written by Gabriel Kolko called The Triumph Of Conservativism which is the work I think Chris Grieb is talking about when he references him.
It has an entire section dedicated to disputing the traditional historical view of the introduction of government regulation in the meatpacking industry
hope that helps!
I think Chris would suggest the same reading
Posted by: Nick | February 12, 2006 05:52 PM
Peri, thanks for your comments here, and thanks also to Chris and Nick for their replies (and, especially, their recommendation of the Kolko book).
With regard to Kolko and so-called "revisionist history," you might also wish to see this seminal essay written by libertarian Roy Childs, who passed away some years ago. It integrates a Randian take on history as "a selective recreation of the events of the past, according to a historian�s premises regarding what is important and his judgment concerning the nature of causality in human action," with an Austrian-school perspective on economics, and a New Left-inspired historical viewpoint:
Big Business and the Rise of American Statism
Thanks especially to Roderick Long for making that essay available online.
As for Rand's take on the Holocaust: She actually never wrote a formal essay on the subject, though she did write an important essay on "racism" as both a "tribalist" reflection of and a modern-day component of statism. On her views about US involvement in World War II, you might also wish to check out Robert Mayhew's recently published book, Ayn Rand and Song of Russia: Communism and Anti-Communism in 1940s Hollywood. Also, let me recommend Leonard Peikoff's book, The Ominous Parallels, which discusses the philosophical origins of Nazism and has an important chapter about the Holocaust. Peikoff was an associate of Rand's and is the legal heir to her property; I have some differences with him concerning his historical perspective on the Nazis, but he's got a lot of wisdom in those pages.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 13, 2006 06:50 AM
Thank you Chris for making my post better. I was thinking of Truimph of Conservatism. Miss Rand's support of open immgration was something that people who wanted to forestall the Holocaust would have liked to have seen more of. The free countries being open to immgration would have reduced the death toll.
Posted by: Chris Grieb | February 13, 2006 01:53 PM
Thanks for your additional points, Chris.
Still, I do think it is remarkable that in all of Rand's journals and letters, there is hardly any real discussion of World War II, the Holocaust, etc. Perhaps such entries exist somewhere in the Rand Archives, but I've never seen any comprehensive discussion of these issues in any of the posthumously published collections of Rand's personal papers.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 22, 2006 07:26 AM
Song of the Day: Nocturne No. 2 in E-Flat, Op. 9 (audio clip at that link) was composed by Frederic Chopin. Listen also to an audio clip of a sensitive rendition by Claudio Arrau.
FEBRUARY 03, 2006
Song of the Day: Romeo and Juliet ("Love Theme"), composed by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, remains among his most recognizable and lovely works. Listen to an audio clip here.
FEBRUARY 02, 2006
It is no longer news that Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., passed away this week. She was 78.
An advocate and practitioner of nonviolent resistance, Martin Luther King Jr. once uttered a classic statement: "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
While a lot of discussion has ensued over the nature of the "love thine enemy" philosophy that seems to underlie King's statement, I think there is a truth therein, which was made even more apparent by King's wife. Coretta Scott King often repeated her husband's maxim: "Hate is too great a burden to bear." But she added: "It injures the hater more than it injures the hated."
I've talked about the effects of hating in other posts dealing with everything from Yoda to my articulation of "The Rose Petal Assumption," so I won't repeat my reasoning here. Suffice it to say, there is an internal relationship between hatred, fear, anger, and suffering, and, often, the transcendence of one brings forth the transcendence of all.
I think what the Kings focused on was not "loving one's enemy" per se, but the practice of a positive alternative in one's opposition to evil. Nonviolent resistance is not equivalent to pacifism. It is not the renunciation of the retaliatory use of force; it entails, instead, the practice of a wide variety of strategies---from boycotts to strikes, which remove all sanctions of one's own victimization. One refuses to be a part of a cycle that replaces one "boss" with another. One repudiates real-world monsters, while not becoming one in the process. For as Nietzsche once said: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."
Nonviolence is not a social panacea, and sometimes it is absolutely necessary to use violence in one's response to aggression. But much can be learned about how to topple tyranny from the lessons provided by the theoreticians and practitioners of nonviolent resistance.
It's fitting that today I've marked Ayn Rand's birthday, for Atlas Shrugged is one of the grandest dramatizations in fiction of the effectiveness of fighting tyranny through nonviolent resistance. It is no coincidence that, while writing her magnum opus, Rand's working title for Atlas was "The Strike." Of course, Rand was no theorist of nonviolence, but her novel is instructive.
For further reading on the subject of nonviolence, let me suggest first and foremost the books of Gene Sharp, founder of the Albert Einstein Institution. See especially Sharp's books, The Politics of Nonviolent Action and Social Power and Political Freedom.
Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for sharing this post. When I read it, I felt delighted and encouraged. With it, you've helped to satisfy my need for knowledge about nonviolent resistance - not to mention my curiosity to learn ever more about your point of view.
I've noticed your mention here and there of your interest in nonviolent resistance, and I've felt eager to learn more about your thoughts on this subject. Thank you for offering not only more such information, but also specific suggestions regarding how one can learn still more about nonviolent resistance.
If dialectics is the art of preserving context, then I'd like to voice my hopefully dialectical conviction that nonviolent resistance can't be most thoroughly understood unless with reference to the wider context of nonviolent communication.
During the course of the last few months, I've discovered something which is stimulating more excitement in me about the evolution of my worldview than probably anything I've read since I first discovered the work of Ayn Rand. That's the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. from PuddleDancer Press. If there were one book that I could persuade you (or any of your readers) to read right now, this would be it. I've fallen in love with it and with the NVC (Nonviolent Communication) method. In my judgment, Rosenberg's ideas are clear, accessible, immensely practical... and yet, when examined closely, are also deeply challenging philosophically and personally... and are even (dare I say it?) profoundly radical.
To make a long story short, with his method, Rosenberg has provided me with the equivalent of a road map for the next stage of my personal, philosophical and spiritual evolution.
I think that this book and its ideas could interest you for a variety of reasons, and not only because of the connection between nonviolent resistance and nonviolent communication. In your blog, you've at various times commented on such topics as the nature of civil discourse, discussion and debate. You've also sometimes expressed frustration in the face of the way that some people express themselves (for example, in your recent entry in which you discussed American conservatives' complaints about Academy Award nominations). The book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life has given me more insight into all these sorts of things than anything else I've yet read.
There are other reasons why I imagine that this book and its ideas might interest you.
One is that nothing that I've encountered since I first immersed myself in the work and ideas of Ayn Rand has clarified for me more fully why I want to let go of the moralistic judgmentalism that I now regard as a much-deeper-than-merely-stylistic impulse in Rand and Objectivism. For those who have read or listened to Damian Moskovitz's remarkable talk at my Living Action web site ("Moralism in Objectivism," a talk which profoundly moved and influenced me) - Rosenberg has helped me to understand moralistic judgment with even greater depth than Damian has.
Another is that Rosenberg is deeply committed to the idea - in principle and in practice - that we most fully satisfy our needs only if we communicate with one another in a manner that involves zero manipulation or coercion.
Another reason relates to your passion for communication and the choice of the most effective language with which to communicate. Rosenberg has called my attention to subtleties, nuances and subtexts in our language that I'm now convinced contribute to oppression in frightening ways.
Yet another reason relates to your passion for dialectics. I feel blown away by Rosenberg's ability to preserve context with respect to compassionate communication. I've never seen anyone manage this more impressively. (As a historical aside, Marshall Rosenberg's father and grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Russia, and I couldn't help but wonder whether they may have brought some dialectical patterns of thinking with them! To verify that would probably require massive research and the writing of a whole book, though. Still, it would be intriguing if Rosenberg ended up qualifying as yet another "Russian Radical." ;-) )
I'm betting also that I would feel amazed and dazzled if I were ever afforded the opportunity to read an exploration of potential opportunities for cross-pollination between Rosenberg's communication principles and the principles of dialectical libertarianism.
In the past, at least in private correspondence, I've mentioned to you that I've thought that tragically, despite offering major value, in their efforts to inspire cultural change, Ayn Rand's philosophy and the Objectivist movement contain the seeds of their own destruction. Prior to discovering this book, I've felt unequal to the task of adequately articulating why I've thought this. Now, for those who are familiar with Rand and Objectivism, the most helpful words of wisdom that I can offer are to call your attention to this book.
In light of my familiarity with Rand, Objectivism, and the challenges they have faced in their efforts to promote objectivity, rationality, individualism and liberty - and not only in their engagement with the wider culture but also in the schisms that have always dogged the Objectivist movement - nothing has ever provided me remotely the explanatory power that this book has... even David Kelley's book The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand doesn't even come close.
As if that weren't enough, the book is concise, easy to read... and yet it manages to incorporate an abundance of real world examples that illustrate how its principles work in action.
So... even though I know you are thoroughly invested in reading many other things already... I'm hoping I might have a shot at stimulating enough interest in you to give the book a reading. If you did, I would savor the opportunity to either discuss it with you or to read about any of your reactions.
I genuinely hope you will readit, though, only if you can do so with the same enthusiasm that a small child exhibits when joyfully feeding a hungry, baby duck. Because I wouldn't want you to do anything that I asked with any less enthusiasm.
Thank you again for writing and posting your encouraging and informative blog entry... and for welcoming comments. Both help to satisfy my need for nonviolent communication.
Posted by: Vid Axel | February 3, 2006 02:17 AM
Fess up, Chris. How much did you pay Vid for that response? :-)
Seriously, very good post. My experience is that a lot of people have the idea that we can solve many problems if we can just kill enough "bad" people. Witness the current "war" on terrorists. I'm no pacifist either, but both the morality and practicality of killing your way out of a problem need to be addressed. This is an issue brought up by Steven Spielberg in his great film "Munich."
And it is more than a little ironic that while Rand's great book was about nonviolent resistance, many of her followers today are rabid warmongers who literally want to bomb/invade/destroy most of the Middle East.
Posted by: Mark | February 3, 2006 04:21 PM
Vid, Mark, thanks for your comments here! And Mark, I haven't yet seen "Munich"---and Vid got not one cent. :) He's just prolific in his own right!
Vid, thank you for your kind words and for the passion you bring to this subject. I've not read Marshall B. Rosenberg, but have added him to my "list." :) I like the idea of "nonviolent communication"; I often wonder how much of that might, in fact, be incorporated into the theoretical edifice of the so-called "dialogical" schools that I survey in the final chapter of Total Freedom. Jurgen Habermas, for example, deals quite extensively with the "ideal-speech situation," as he calls it, which bars all forms of "strategic communication" from dialogue... that is, any forms of communication designed to manipulate one's dialogical partner. I think there is much to be said about the essential morality of such an approach to human communication. And it has been incorporated in the libertarian approaches of people like Hoppe, Kinsella, and others.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 4, 2006 11:21 PM
Oh, be sure to check out Roderick Long's comments on this thread, at Liberty and Power Group Blog here.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 4, 2006 11:39 PM
Hi Chris... I think I've brought up his books before, but this discussion and especially Roderick's remind me of Orson Scott Card's Ender series, particularly Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. The books well illustrate the theme of loving your enemy while nevertheless having to destroy him as well as lack of real communication and empathy as a major cause of war.
Posted by: Geoffrey Allan Plauche | February 24, 2006 02:46 PM
I still have to read those books, Geoffrey, but your point is well taken.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 2, 2006 06:59 AM
Having written quite a bit in celebration of the Ayn Rand Centenary last year, there is not much I can add this year, except to note a few very provocative posts on Rand published by my colleagues, Roderick Long and Sheldon Richman. At L&P, Roderick writes of "Ayn Rand's Left-Libertarian Legacy," and at "Free Association," Sheldon discusses Rand here and here. Both cite my own article on Rand's radicalism as applied to the realm of foreign policy: "Understanding the Global Crisis: Reclaiming Rand's Radical Legacy" (PDF version).
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the points therein made, I think it is terrific that more and more people are grappling critically with Rand's legacy, and practicing that Spanish proverb that Rand and her associates uttered on more than one occasion: "Take what you want, and pay for it"... that is, in this context, acknowledge what you've learned from Rand, and take responsibility for your own integrations and conclusions.
It's one of the chief means by which ideas filter throughout an intellectual culture.
Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand!
thanks for the links(they were interesting) and I count myself among those trying to grapple critically with her legacy/thought as I work on my personal essay.
Posted by: Nick | February 2, 2006 10:10 AM
I e-mailed a whole bunch of people with the hopes that Ayn's birthday will be honored and celebrated in lots of places around including someday in Terhan,Bagdad,Havana and PongYang. I don't think I'll see it in my lifetime but we should aim for no less
Posted by: Chris Grieb | February 2, 2006 06:03 PM
I also enjoyed reading the material that you drew to my attention with your comments and with the links that you generously included.
You wrote, though, that "[w]hether one agrees or disagrees with the points therein made, I think it is terrific that more and more people are grappling critically with Rand's legacy."
This leaves me curious about the following. What do you think about the points therein made? Having found that material fascinating - especially Roderick Long's - I would love to learn. I'd love to learn in particular whether you agree or disagree with any of Long's points. Specifically, I'm curious to learn what you think of the label, "left libertarianism."
Even more: what do you think the relationship is between "left libertarianism" and "dialectical libertarianism" - and does, say, "hard right libertarianism" ever qualify as a form of "dialectical libertarianism"? :-)
Posted by: Vid Axel | February 3, 2006 12:59 PM
Thanks, gents, for all your comments here, as always.
I agree with most of the points made by Roderick (whose birthday is today: Happy Birthday, Rod!!!), as evidenced in my post here.
I do have a bit of a terminological problem with the left-right divide, however, and don't know how eager I'd be to embrace "left-libertarianism" or "right-libertarianism"---as so designated.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 4, 2006 11:14 PM
Song of the Day: Cherokee features the words and music of Ray Noble. Listen to audio clips of versions by Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, Johnny Smith and Stan Getz, and an early bop adventure by Charlie Parker. As an aside, the Cherokee word for "Groundhog" is "Ogana". Happy Groundhog Day! (Punxsutawney Phil tells us six more weeks of winter... but Staten Island Chuck disagrees... )
FEBRUARY 01, 2006
It appears that a lot of people are very upset because this year's crop of "Best Picture" and other Oscar nominees are too blue for Red State America. Admittedly, I have only seen two of the "Best Picture" nominated films so far---"Crash" and "Brokeback Mountain," which has inspired this ongoing lengthy thread at Notablog. As for "Crash": I thought it was a very provocative film in its examination of the dynamics of racial prejudice, and, unless we are going to start defining "bigotry" as an American value, I am at a bit of a loss as to why anyone would view it as "un-American."
This evening, however, I learned more about fundamentalist objections to the Oscars while watching "ABC World News Tonight."
Christian conservatives are telling us again that Hollywood is "out of touch" with mainstream America. Blah. Blah. Blah. But with "Brokeback Mountain" now nominated for eight Oscars, and "Capote" nominated for five Oscars, and "Transamerica" nominated for two Oscars, it appears Sexual Perverts Are Taking Over!!! Beware the Effects on Impressionable Youths!
Ironically, many Christian conservatives have written glowing reviews of "Brokeback Mountain"---some saying that the film is a finely crafted piece of celluloid, "brilliant" and "moving," in many ways. But that is what makes the film so dangerous. It's precisely the kind of effective tool that will corrupt the morals of this Christian nation! It cannot be tolerated because it is so obviously a part of the "Gay Agenda."
Mind you, it's not exactly as if "gay" themes have never been portrayed in Hollywood films (see this "Gays in Movies" timeline at ABC). It's just that some of today's celluloid queers are ... RANCH HANDS!!! Of all the nerve!!!
Well, people "in Peoria" are just fed up! And they are voting with their wallets; "the summer comedy 'Wedding Crashers'," it has been noted, "has done more box-office business" than all five of the "Best Picture" nominees combined.
Still, as the ABC report notes: "There seem to be dueling impulses in Hollywood right now. More gay-themed movies than ever were nominated for Oscars. But the movie studios have increasingly been courting Christians with films such as 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and 'The Passion of the Christ.'" Yeah. How about that?
I am, quite frankly, so sick and tired of hearing about all this crap. If Christian conservatives are pissed off because a couple of "gay-themed" films "broke" through into the mainstream marketplace, clearly nobody is compelling them at gun point to go see those films. And, likewise, nobody is compelling gays to go see the newest film installment of the "Left Behind" series.
Indeed, I'm amused that some Christian conservatives are screaming bloody hell over the use of "propaganda" in film. Pot. Kettle. Black. For a survey of how well the new crop of Christian fundamentalists have used various media for their own ideological purposes, see my article "Caught Up in the Rapture."
And I don't want to hear that I just have a prejudice against "Christian-themed" films. Hogwash. My favorite film is still "Ben-Hur," but that never stopped me from having an eclectic cinematic palette.
As a strait white male, who happened to love Brokeback Mountain, I'm tired of this Hollywood Vs "America" bull shit. A good film is a good film. Brokeback Mountain is refreshing in that unlike most Hollywood movies recently it's worth the price of admission. You couldn't pay me to see Wedding Crashers!
And how are "Hollywood" values any different from true American values? The United States is a diverse nation. As a whole we're relatively conservative, yet tolerant. Our wonderful nation is so under-served by the intolerant Jesus freaks guiding the idiot Bush.
Hollywood couldn�t be more American then baseball and apple pie. It�s not all about making money, the art of cinema is valued, but a movie won�t be made unless it�s backers feel it�s a money maker. Hollywood doesn�t impose it�s values on America, it reflects those values. Much to my dismay most of the time.
I�m encouraged that Brokeback Mountain getting mainstream recognition. It�s a sign of progress in �American� values.
Posted by: Mick Russell | February 2, 2006 01:28 AM
Thank you Chris and Mick for putting into words what's been on my mind for a long time. I can not believe that the neo-cons have managed not only to high-jack the government, but also the Bible's teachings. Have the majority of Christians forgotten Christ's message of love and forgiveness? Apparently so. But then what's more headline worthy; Gay's are taking over the world or Don't judge, lest ye be judged?
I have a niece and nephew that are living openly gay lives. Thank goodness. They are brother and sister. They come from a very devout Catholic background. Fortunately, both my brother and sister-in-law have continued to love and support them and their partners. The themes covered in Brokeback Mountain are very near and dear to me.
Let's hope that this dialog, while sometimes repugnant, opens hearts and minds to love and understanding.
Posted by: Robin | February 2, 2006 10:20 AM
When I was a boy there were a host of films that had the Roman Catholic Church featured. There were lots of films with priests and nuns. There were films with Catholic families. I haven't seen or heard of a movie like that in years. There are now films using the sexual molestation scandal in the church. I can recall only one film about a Protesant peacher(A Man Called Peter). It is sometimes to catch the coming attractions for some of these movies on TCM. The one for Going My Way refers to Bing Crosby as rolicking gay priest. It sound a little different today. Going back to Brokeback it seems to me that these two men do not have a happy life. It is some way their doing but it is still unhappy.
Posted by: Chris Grieb | February 2, 2006 08:25 PM
Chris G. - There was one film I saw on IFC a few years back that was about a gay Catholic priest. It was set in Ireland [?]. It was made in Great Britain and the Church was in an uproar about the subject matter. I believe the name of the movie was Priest. I could be wrong. It was a moving story about this priest, taking care of one of his young female flock that was being abused by a family member. He goes agaist the seal of the confessional to get the abuser. At the same time he is fighting his attraction to a young man in the small village. It is a very good film. I just wish I could be sure of the title.
Have a great weekend!
Posted by: Robin | February 3, 2006 09:42 AM
Robin - You have the correct title. " Priest " was a wonderful film.
Posted by: Mick | February 3, 2006 10:17 AM
Priest sounds like a great film. It seems curious to me that Catholics were a smaller part of the population back in the 40ths and 50ths yet more movies featured priests,and nuns were made.
Posted by: Chris Grieb | February 4, 2006 08:50 AM
Thanks for all your comments here, folks! As always, very illuminating and interesting...
As an aside, I did see "Priest" and liked it very much.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | February 4, 2006 11:23 PM
Song of the Day: January, February, words and music by Andy "Panda" Tripoli and "Latin Rascals" Tony Moran and Albert Cabrera, as recorded by Tina B at "117 Heartbeats Per Minute." It's a terrific freestyle dance hit. Listen to an audio clip here.