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Our Last 50 Referrers

« The Adventures and Recommendations of David C. | Main | The Face of Ford »

October 20, 2007


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Vanessa reviews the edible goodies at a party Saveur magazine threw for itself in Chicago. People who attend p-r events can sometimes eat pretty darned well.

* You've probably already seen Snowball, the funky, BackStreet Boys-lovin' cockatoo. But if not ...

* Lester Hunt celebrates the fiftieth birthday of "Atlas Shrugged." Have there been many novels as influential as "Atlas Shrugged"?

* Razib puzzles over the way some dark-skinned Melanesians have blonde hair.

* The man can breathe, there's no doubt about that.

* LordSomber recalls the awful coffee, soup, and hot chocolate that was dispensed by old vending machines.

* Who even knew there was such a thing as Canadian exploitation films?

* Jon Hastings lists what he likes to see in a movie performance.

* JewishAtheist wants to know how literally the Orthodox take it all.

* Ed Gorman confides that many well-known authors have written porno novels. Curt Purcell is on the story.

* Tim Worstall doesn't have a lot of patience with people who claim that there's a female / male pay gap.

* According to Sam Jordison, the carefree, fun-loving Bohemian set can't afford Britain any longer.

* I wonder if this guy is the world's spinning-on-your-head champ. Are there any challengers?

* Glenn Abel raves about Criterion's DVD edition of Clouzot's classic thrller "The Wages of Fear."

* Kirsten is hopping mad at NY's self-righteous, over-ambitious Governor Eliot Spitzer: here, here, here.



posted by Michael at October 20, 2007


When Rumer Godden lived in Lamb House she was already an established writer. Same was true of Henry James, who I think may also have had a private income.

Private incomes, in fact, had a bigger role in pre-war bohemias in Europe and the US than most people appear to realise. Often a well-to-do person rented out rooms in some property to starving artist types in need of space, or allowed people to sleep on his/her floor. And I think some of them paid the bills at restaurants and so forth. Didn't Hemingway have patrons of this type early in his career? Many members of Virginia Woolf's circle had small private incomes; they also had richer friends who subsidized their fun by having them over for long weekends. Same for Evelyn Waugh - no private income but he did have lots of rich friends. Oh, and he quite consciously wrote for money early in his career. He never wanted to be a bohemian.

Finally, people's standards of acceptable living conditions were lower then. No telephones, no indoor toilets, sometimes no running water at all, no central heating in the country house, certainly no air conditioning, no music-machines, no cars, only one or perhaps two suits of clothes. You get the picture. And you could still call yourself middle class living that way, because working-class people could be so much poorer. (Not always, though: some English cities were far better for the working poor than others. London was always one of the worst.) How many people are willing to live that way now, however Bohemian their aspirations? Not many.

Posted by: alias clio on October 20, 2007 7:03 PM

Uncle Tom's Cabin and Looking Backward prolly equal Atlas for influence.

Speaking of books, the one to read on British Bohemia is Among The Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939 by Virginia Nicholson. Very nice and anecdotish.

Posted by: Brian on October 20, 2007 10:22 PM

Yesterday, I watched a broadcast on BookTV of a group of Objectivists and their celebration of Atlas Shrugged's 50th anniversary. A guy named Ed Bradley was arguing that the fall of Enron was largely a consequence of government overregulation. It's no surprise that few who read Ayn Rand and are initially taken by her philosophy remain devoted to her philosophy for the rest of their lives. Atlas Shrugged is widely read, but has actually had little influence in reversing the New Deal and the social programs that Rand despised. Rand herself recognized that her novel, which she had labored over for 12 years, was a failure shortly after it was published. It was a commercial success but was either ignored or savaged by reviewers and had little cultural impact. It didn't trigger the public debate over collectivism that she hoped for. This sent her into a severe depression and she never wrote another signifiant work of fiction or nonfiction after that.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on October 21, 2007 3:14 PM

I thought that I had posted this a few days ago but something must have happened. Either way, on the influence of Atlas Shrugged, the Library of Congress had a survey in 1992 to find the most influential books to Americans. Well, the Bible came in first by a huge margin, but Atlas Shrugged came in second.

That's pretty impressive.

"It's no surprise that few who read Ayn Rand and are initially taken by her philosophy" I am surprised to hear you say that. Especially when you compare her inluence relative to other writers of fiction. I mean, the Republican party and much of libertarian thought has either been influenced directly or indirectly by her.

I understand that only a small percentage of either group has read her works, but, only a few have read the works of Milton Friedman, or Thomas Jefferson, but the influence is still there.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on October 22, 2007 3:25 AM

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