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« Gals, Guys, etc. | Main | The Chaos of History; Art circa 1940 »

August 07, 2003


Friedrich --

* Aaron Haspel finally comes through with his long-promised, much-anticipated posting on Objectivism and Objectivists, here. More than delivers, really -- it's a corker that makes you wonder exactly how many Ayn Rand-ish bridges Aaron is burning. Not to be missed, especially for those who, like me, are mystified by the lure of Objectivism. Lots of goodies and info, too: Did you know that many Objectivists are Jewish?

* I'm fonder of theatergoing than most straight guys are, but even I stare at some shows thinking, They can't really expect the straight audience to be interested in this, can they? Steve Sailer muses about the topic, as well as other gays-in-the-higher-arts questions, here.

* Did you know that whistling was once a big cultural thing? Make that a big, big cultural thing. Swing bands featured whistling virtuosos, and whistling stars were popular recording artists. Hey, my dad was a heckuva whistler with a big pop-song repertoire. He could trill and improvise, and was a terrific birdcall imitator. Me, I'm lucky if I get a few sloppy-wet notes out -- and apparently the whistling craze did indeed (mostly) come to an end with the Boomers. Dan Barry of the NYTimes visits with Steve Herbst, currently the country's Grand Champion whistler, here. You can enjoy some whistling sound samples (as well as buy CDs) at Herbst's own website, here. I notice that the sound samples at the site of four-time-champ Chris Ullman (here) are more extensive.



posted by Michael at August 7, 2003


Could someone please remind me/us of "What did Rand say?" The 25 ct summary? That would be great as I sense Rand's presence on a lot of blogs.

I read her two major novels so many years ago...and my current recollection is only that she knew nothing of urban design and that it would be tragic for society if John Galt ever actually designed a building.

Posted by: David Sucher on August 7, 2003 11:21 PM

You're thinking of Howard Roark of The Fountainhead; Galt is an engineer, not an architect. The best two-bit summary of Ayn Rand's philosophy was offered by Ayn Rand herself: "Politics: capitalism; ethics: egoism. metaphysics: objective reality; epistemology: reason." Not bad for nine words.

Posted by: Aaron Haspel on August 8, 2003 12:36 AM

All I will say of Ayn Rand is that I'm glad the first book of hers I read was For The New Intellectual. Had I attempted to read Atlas Shrugged in its entirety before reading the extensive excerpts in the former, I suspect the outrage I would've felt at spending money on Atlas would've driven me on a murderous rampage to blow up the nearest centre of Objectivist studies I could find.

Posted by: James Russell on August 8, 2003 6:50 AM

My teenage objectivist phase lasted from the end of Fountainhead to halfway through Atlas Shrugged. At that point, the unbelievable awfullness of the prose just wore me down...

Posted by: jimbo on August 8, 2003 9:36 AM

Aaron, I prefer philosophers who use verbs.

Posted by: David Sucher on August 8, 2003 9:59 AM

I myself prefer Whistling to Objectivism.

The greatest fictional treatment of whistling is in Richard Condon's very funny A Talent for Loving, or the Great Cowboy Race. Fun.

Posted by: Michael Tinkler on August 8, 2003 12:34 PM

You're not going to find out why people like objectivism from someone who despises objectivists any more than you're going to find out why people like porn from Jerry Falwell.

I recommend Mudita ( as a sane cheerful objectivist blog.

Posted by: Nancy Lebovitz on August 8, 2003 3:54 PM

Thank Goodness someone else found "Atlas Shrugged" just finish. I did read "The Fountainhead." I don't think she converted me, but it does have one of the best lines ever. The reporter who has been hounding Roark asks him, "Honestly--what do you think of me?" And Roark says, "Honestly? I don't think of you."

Posted by: annette on August 8, 2003 3:56 PM

On the topic of whistling: my wife hates whistling and can't stand to be around anyone doing it. Since we've been married for a while now I've also gotten rather sensitive to the subject. Although I don't have the phobic feelings regarding whistling of my wife, I must say that people who whistle in public places now mostly irritate me (unless they are really, really good); whistling (at less than a virtuoso level) strikes me as an invasion of my sonic privacy. And it seems as though many people will whistle loudly in public who wouldn't think of singing loudly in public. Why is that, exactly?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 8, 2003 5:55 PM

Good to see you on the subject!

Posted by: The Whistler on November 12, 2003 9:45 AM

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