Ayn Rand conjured up the cult of Objectivism, which, to the best of my knowledge, is a philosophy whose principal doctrines include but aren’t limited to: reality is detached from consciousness; the practice of concept formation and inductive logic helps attain objective knowledge from perception; apt moral function is the pursuit of one’s own happiness, aka rational egotism; laissez faire capitalism is the only morally correct social system; and selective replication of reality into a physical form (ie. art) can adjust humans’ metaphysical ideas.
Objectivism was branded as a viewpoint intended to define not only human nature, but the nature of our world.The cult aspect of Rand’s work, to believe self-interest, said pursuit of self-interest, and the concept that people are somehow heroes for pursuing self-interest is beguiling. Logic ruling man is always an enthralling thought, but seldom happens, and rarely among Rand’s followers or herself. Like most, this philosophy has been so warped, exploited, and perverted it is a pathetic wraith of Rand’s intentions.
This book, Ayn Rand Cult by Jeff Walker (Open Court) is an interesting, fairly objective read although way too long and ragged at times (like this review), but consider the subject matter.
Many believe Rand’s ideas and beliefs are relics of a bygone era. It’s resurgence, while kept low-key is growing steadily, especially among the extreme right-wing political parties. Although their choice of prophet, an Atheist, Pro Choice woman is baffling.
Reason and logic are admirable, but they are susceptible to the whims, lies, and willful misunderstandings of humans who wield them as weapons against those who may resist.
As for the issues with laissez-faire capitalism, where do I begin? Look around the answers are attacking us each day.
Two score years and ten, I wasn’t even a gleam in my Daddy’s eye when American clergyman and activist Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963.
Yet 50 years on, his plea for an end to racism still reverberates around the globe. Are they just pretty words? That dream, while noble may be a dream unfulfilled.
If not racism, then what other forms of prejudice will still thrive?
Are people even conscious of their prejudices and the motivation behind them?
How could people believe and act as if black people were objects to used and abused?
How could people feel justified raping, torturing, and slaughtering Natives?
How can people physically and verbally abuse people with disabilities?
People are discriminated against because of gender, identity, religion, nationality, ethnicity, appearance, physical state, professions, hobbies, beliefs, disability, social status, economic status, sexual orientation, birth order, age, well, just about anything.
The causes of prejudice are varied: failure of logic, our filters, upbringing, education, stereotypes, jealousy, illusory correlation, expectations and distortions, etc.
I want to believe someday we will accept people for who they are.
I want to believe there will be a day when we will not see colour, or rank, or wealth, or facility, or size, or profession, or religion, we will see only individuals.
Now is the time to put aside who we think people are and see them as they are.
We can never be satisfied until that day is upon us.
Someone needs to explain to me why people are shocked and/or appalled by performances or images, especially from the MTV Awards. They do it to get attention. We give it to them. It’s about money. It’s about power. It’s about fame. Miley Cyrus is not the first nor will she be the last to be provocative when singing, dancing, acting, modelling, etc.
Grace Jones, Cherie Currie, Shirley Manson, Tina Turner, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Joan Jett, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Shakira, Fergie, Alexis Krauss, Selena Gomez, Nico, Samantha Fox, Spice Girls, Brody Dalle, Debbie Harry, Poison Ivy, Poly Styrene, Cher, Bif Naked, Kim Gordon, Pink, Shania Twain, Sabrina Sabrok, Carrie Brownstein, Viv Albertine, Wendy O. Williams,
Siouxsie Sioux, Nicki Minaj, Exene Cervenka, Gwen Stefani, Chrissy Amphlett, Ke$ha, Pussycat Dolls, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Jenny Lewis, Penelope Houston, Pat Benatar, Katy Perry, Amy Miret, Britney Spears, Mya, Grace Slick, Courtney Love, Liz Phair and I could go on.
The point is, Ms. Cyrus wants to kill off Hannah Montana to get rich and famous on her own, not on her Daddy’s achy break coat tails. She’s doing a trashy, calculated, brilliant job. Robin Thicke wants to be rich and famous (again, not on his Daddy’s coat tails, hey, see the pattern?) so he agreed to hook up with Ms. Cyrus to be bumped’n’grinded into history.
There’s a simple solution if you find Ms. Cyrus, MTV, etc. too crass, vulgar and rude – don’t watch it. Don’t let your children watch it. If adults want to watch celebrities behaving badly, let them.
I didn’t find Ms. Cyrus’ performance shocking (unless you count that Blurred Lines is clearly stolen from Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up); then again, it wasn’t overly interesting either. She’s a performer. She was performing. Just like she was performing when she was pretending to be Hannah Montana.
Maybe the problem isn’t with the performers, but with the public who can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality. The entire purpose of the MTV Awards is to get attention. It works.
Two hot guys in a hot car fighting supernatural elements.
Toss in some angels, demons, monsters, apocalyptic horsemen, ghosts, etc. well, what’s not to love?
Jared Padalecki (ER, Gilmore Girls) and Jensen Ackles (Days of Our Lives, Dawson’s Creek – we forgive you for DC, you were young, and of course, Smallville) are brothers who fight ghosties, lots o’ demons, monsters, and all other supernatural type things.
I’m so happy they decided to keep Castiel (Misha Collins), The Colt, the Impala (this Chevy 1967 has been through a lot, it’s basically supernatural itself), Ruby’s Knife, and Bobby (Jim Beaver – Deadwood, Justified, Days of Our Lives) for as long as possible, but I really really wish they could have kept Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Daddy (John) Winchester.
Even threw in Mitch Pileggi for an X-Files kiss.
Action-packed and did I mention the hot guys and the hot car?
This is a program that doesn’t take itself too seriously while trying to remain true to its mythology, and it does so with flare.
I’ve noticed in the last few years people have become obsessed with books and movies about dystopian societies.
Why? Maybe because we’re already living in a dystopian society controlled by those who destroy the very world that gives us life, for short-term profit and power. Worse than that, we let them.
The Walking Dead is a mainstream hit, a soap opera about a post-apocalyptic world where people are being ripped apart by zombies, fighting each other, and still finding time for romance. It’s more about the people, their interactions, what they will do under horrible situations, etc., the zombies are just to make it different than an actual soap opera, well, sort of.
In George A. Romero’s original vision of zombies they were an allegory about consumerism run amok; they’re about each of us consuming each other by over-consuming.
We find them fascinating because we see ourselves in them, the darkness inside, the monster within, a ravenous beast who lives only to consume, to devour, to munch through or chomp down.
There is something strangely admirable about zombies, they are who they are. No lying, no cheating, no deception, no manipulation – they want to tear your flesh apart and eat it and they make no bones about it. Are they even the bad guys or is it the humans who terrorize and torture each other?
Let me sum this up by a quote from the man that started it all, George A Romero –
“I expect a zombie to show up on ‘Sesame Street‘ soon, teaching kids to count”.
His point being, that’s how mainstream they’ve become in our attempt to accept and somehow justify our insane consumerism.
Not saying I don’t like this show, it is so well-crafted it’s impossible not to view and enjoy.
The Walking Dead (in Black and White)
B&W adds a whole other dimension to this series and of course, is reminiscent of Romero’s independent 1968 B&W unique horror standard, Night of the Living Dead. It’s also a great way to sell more DVDs. I really love the B&W version, it’s spookier, moodier, creepier and what real horror is about. Hey, I just love B&W.
In the meantime, check out the graphic novels, much grittier, but quite interesting.
I mostly try to watch shows when they first come on. I try them on like a new shirt – do I like them, are they durable, are they practical, are they a flattering colour, do they make me look fat, well, maybe that’s a bad simile (is there a good one?), but you get my point.I don’t wait for months or years for someone to tell me a show or movie is awesome or until it’s in vogue or whatever. I guess I like to decide to watch shows because I like it, or I decide I dislike them hate it or just forget it or don’t care. I was riveted to X-Files from the first moment I watched it, glued to the screen.
It was a expedition within a journey that just made me want to move forward, that is until Tea Leoni had David Duchovny quit and Season 9 was just so-so, but of course not wanting to miss any of the mythology I trudged on, hoping it would get better. And then Tea Leoni lived through all of Jurassic Park 3, whining in that nasal, oh, but I have moved off into the shadows. She’s not so bad. Duchovny was a big boy; he made his own choices.
This was about weird and wild, creepy, supernatural, alien, government conspiracies, but it was also one of the greatest love stories in TV history. Mulder and Scully weren’t just friends, partners or lovers, they were complemented each other.
They were funny and entertaining.
X-Files is still one of the most amazing shows ever to grace the small or big screen.
Autism is isolating. Not just for those that have it, but for their loved ones. It’s not always obvious or deliberate, it’s just there. People get tired of hearing excuses why you’re not available or why your child acts a certain way. Many try to be patient, but it’s a long haul.
The most subtle one I’ve noticed is being excluded from parental chats about children. Your child has special needs, therefore any pregnancy, birth and child-rearing experiences became null and void. Most don’t want to hear your experiences, advice, or memories. I have to guess they don’t pertain to them or they don’t want to think they ever could.
My understanding is this is mostly true for parents with other special needs children as well. I suppose that is why parents, grandparents, etc. of children with disabilities end up talking to each other, form groups, etc. because they have a better understanding of each others needs.
I suppose it’s a fear factor or a subconscious furrowed brow that says why would I, with my normal child want to hear about your child? It’s rarely intentionally rude, but it’s as though somehow if I give advice their child will magically get Autism.
I’ve generally learnt to shut my mouth (a difficult feat for me). Though apparently I have to listen about how ‘perfect’ and ‘adorable’ their child is each time they eat, drink, walk, talk, smile, and burp. I guess I feel the same way about my child.
Somehow, some people believe my child is less because of his Asperger’s Syndrome. And yes, I’ve had people ask me if I would rather have a ‘normal’ child, not many, but it’s happened.
I don’t like to put people into boxes. What is normal? My child is different, but never, ever less. I suppose similar protective feelings cause their ignorant reaction, but why not just accept neurodiversity and stop making painful distinctions?
The intent of more acceptance by opening the world through communications, travel, knowledge, etc. was a noble aim, but I’m afraid intolerance is still very powerful. I hope it’s just habit, not our nature.
People with special needs or differences, challenges seem to arouse two reactions in people: one, a caring or protecting instinct. This is ideal, but not as common as we would wish. I am always thankful for these people as they add so much to our world, and the world.
Then there is the second reaction that is not exclusive to special needs and seen way too often: predatory. They bully, victimize, abuse, demean, demoralize and are generally maltreat those they consider weak. This is wrong on so many levels.
Why the polar opposites? Their differences are like the canary in the coal mine for character, you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat the most vulnerable members of a society. As it happens, those few sad apples don’t usually spoil the bunch.
Hel-lo McFly! Apparently we now throw parties to celebrate people lying, cheating, slandering, and manipulating. We love it. We tell our children not to bully. However, we love it. Mixed messages, no, try diametrically opposed.
Gordon Ramsey spewing out enough spittle to drown most of NY – don’t yell at people.
Honey Boo Boo – don’t tease or call people names.
Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Fox News, and Sun News – don’t spread gossip, rumours, lies, false ‘news’, propaganda, BS, innuendo, and slander.
Apprentice – don’t backstab, lie, cheat, harass, intimidate.
Real Housewives – don’t hit, yell, lie, spread rumours, harass, and abuse.
It’s embedded in our culture; all of society seems to feed off bullying. We pretend to value people, but really we value drama, electronics, money, power, and more drama.
Bullying is not only acceptable, it’s rewarded. This makes schools and social situations a developmentally deranged breeding ground of bullying.
As if the bullying in school wasn’t bad enough, now the latest tool – cyberbullying. No sanctuary, no escape, and oh so public humiliation.
Bosses destroying you as you’re just trying to make a living; parents screaming, frothing, hurting instructors, coaches, teachers, refs, players, and other parents; governments with hate laws, calling citizens terrorists and radicals, lying, stealing, attacking – home isn’t even safe for some people.
This isn’t good-natured teasing or joking around. The victims are traumatized and even kill themselves to get away.
Certain characters, TV shows, etc. were supposed to be extreme examples of people conducting themselves poorly. Now aggressive images penetrate so deeply into children, adults and society in general that we can’t remember that so instead we worship that bad behaviour.
We cheer when contestants scheme, lie, and manipulate to win. We buy products to emulate spoiled, narcissistic meanies. We hold parties to celebrate bad guys. Our own governments bully and cater to bullies. Then tell our children not to be bullies. Can you see their confusion? The ultimate do as I say, not as I do.
Ways to stop bullying. Puppet shows? Lectures? Selective policies? Non-enforced laws? Ummm, waste of time.
Here’s a simple way – stop promoting bullying as glamorous and cool.
Stop celebrating it.
Stop electing it.
Stop buying it.
Stop showing it.
Most of all, stop watching it.
This isn’t a whiny post (at least I’ll try, no promises), or a ‘it can be fixed blog’, or whatever. Just a few thoughts about why people think Fibromyalgia isn’t a real syndrome, that it’s just lazy, unmotivated people and mostly, why I don’t have all the answers.