Sunday, 13 September 2015

More proof that Ayn Rand was an interloper

It is particularly insidious when an author
concocts a theoretical system made of
unrefined bullshit but which has currency
with oligarchs as their founding myth.

Ayn Rand came from Russia and changed
her name to the one we know, probably
to make her ideas more palatable. We already
know that while she promoted rugged
individualist titans of industry and their trains
 (a predilection of hers), she
sucked on the welfare teet when she was
old and feeble.

But beyond her stupid ideas and her
simplistic, aw-shucks stories about
despised rent-seeking scumbag
oligarchs, it seem that she provides the soft
shoulder for plutocrats to cry on.
They, including Alan Greenspan
(who set in motion most of the
disaster we see today in markets
and on main street), show such
fondness for her, without quite
being book critics.

But, among writers and critics, Ayn
is the runt of the litter. This time,
she gets her comeuppance from
a southern belle, Flannery O'Connor. 

One of the highlights of this literary
ritual burning (at the stake) was the mention of
Mickey Spillane as being leagues
better than Rand. I was a big fan of
Spillane as a young boy. a Tough, no-
nonsense hard-drinking private dick
who always solves the case and gets the
voluptuous woman.

Anyway, it's tasty when a lady of
letters takes a big swipe at the
biggest literary Aynus of the 20th

checkit: open culture

Flannery O’Connor: Friends Don’t Let Friends Read Ayn Rand (1960)

June 18th, 2014 
In a letter dated May 31, 1960, Flannery O’Connor, the author best known for her classic story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (listen to her read the story here) penned a letter to her friend, the playwright Maryat Lee. It begins rather abruptly, likely because it’s responding to something Maryat said in a previous letter:

I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.

The letter, which you can read online or find in the book The Habit of Being, then turns to other matters.

O’Connor’s critical appraisal of Ayn Rand’s books is pretty straightforward. But here’s one factoid worth knowing. Mickey Spillane (referenced in O’Connor’s letter) was a hugely popular mystery writer, who sold some 225 million books during his lifetime. According to his Washington Post obit, “his specialty was tight-fisted, sadistic revenge stories, often featuring his alcoholic gumshoe Mike Hammer and a cast of evildoers.” Critics, appalled by the sex and violence in his books, dismissed his writing. But Ayn Rand defended him. In public, she said that Spillane was underrated. In her book The Romantic Manifesto, Rand put Spillane in some unexpected company when she wrote: “[Victor] Hugo gives me the feeling of entering a cathedral–Dostoevsky gives me the feeling of entering a chamber of horrors, but with a powerful guide–Spillane gives me the feeling of listening to a military band in a public park–Tolstoy gives me the feeling of an unsanitary backyard which I do not care to enter.” All of which goes to show that Ayn Rand’s literary taste was no better than her literature.

via Biblioklept

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

What jailing whistleblowers has done for journalism

I'm going to review the case of Barrett Brown
and even John Kyriakou who are both people
who have helped drop the US on the
journalistic freedom charts, like a stone.

They've both been to jail and both showed
what a nightmare it is for anybody who
just wants to do their time and yet still
be a human being. Not possible.

Anyway, the screeds they produced are
of very high quality, and you can just see
the movie deal coming through.

More soon

Watch you don't get caught chuckling out loud.
Checkit: The Intercept
Santa Muerte, Full of Grace
The Barrett Brown review of Arts and Letters
and Prison 


the last sex taboo- not b4 the big game

I'm going to take apart a short radio talk
by a sleep expert (get it? sleeping together) on
BBC Radio 5 live.
you can get it here:
the blurb:
Sex before sport? Expert explains why it works...

Sleep expert, Nick Littlehales, dispels rumours that athletes should not have sex before performing.

"When you grab one of those impulsive moments with sex during the middle of the day, you're normally running round like a spring chicken afterwards."

This clip is taken from 5 live Sport's Monday Night Club on 3rd August 2015.

Firstly, what is a sleep expert doing
commenting on sports performance, or even sex?

some of his comments (paraphrased. no transcript):
"it's a release"-
-a release is fine, but it's the rebound
to form which is important
"comforting emotions"-
-perhaps the wrong frame of
mind for the coming battle
-perhaps too relaxing
"a true perspective of life"-
-makes no sense to me.
what's that got to do with
competitive mentality?
"after, you run around like a spring chicken"-
-is a spring chicken serious
enough for competition?
perhaps cock fighting is a 
better metaphor. I've heard
from other researchers that
it induces sleep in men, and
the spring chicken feeling in

Now, he does seem to say that he works with 
performance athletes. But, he offers no objective
research data.

Also, he was talking about "closeness"
and "love". For Chissake, we're talking
about athletes, not Meryl Streep.

Here's some scientific information about
orgasm and the brain,
after that, I have written some key comments, and my
ideas after each one:

"chemical release is oxytocin, induces love and bonding
and makes you want to crave it again"
-a monster craving for more 
sex is not conducive to focusing
"shuts down reason and control and shuts off fear instinct"
-not the best state of mind for
"dampens aggressiveness"
-again, not a good idea for 
an athlete who makes
money by being at least
somewhat aggressive.
I personally, as a competitive athlete of a sort,
didn't really have much of a dilemma about
sex before sport, cuz I usually didn't have the
option, other than "got nothing." That was my
usual option.
Anyway, I did have occasion from time to
time to partake around competition.
What I found is that sex tended to
make my legs rubbery afterward, even the
next day. That's
the last thing an athlete needs. There is
a certain essential tension that the lack
of sex provides.

Sex after sports is often excellent, if you
shower first. It's a great way to let go
of all the pent up energy from competing.
That's what I call a release.

Chrissie Hynde tells women "don't get bit in the hind quarters"

I'm going to wade into the debate about what can be
said on the subject of rape. I know that it's likely going
to be misinterpreted by somebody, but it's worth the effort.

I think that Hynde's words (see below) were represented
clearly, and appear to blame women, but if I may, I'd
like to reinterpret them here, because I think her
intention, as someone who was herself a rape victim,
are somewhat clear to me.
The words of a rape victim should have been
dealt with with some respect, and not only because
a famous person can shine new light on the issue
and give courage to other victims.

I think that the representatives of "women's groups"
that were trotted out to crap on Hynde should not
have gone for the jugular. They should have engaged
Hynde in a discussion, as a past victim.

So, I'll try to interpret her words, and then try
to make a link between the "event" and her music.

I was a Pretenders fan from my pre-teen years, but
this revelation about rape has given greater
poignancy to her work. It is interesting that
famous people's grief often sneaks into their
art smudges.
[Chrissie Ramone]
So, let's set the scene. Most musicians can
easily put on a sneer to scare fans and enemies
alike. For most, it's just a pose designed to
evoke an image. However, I always thought
that Hynde's look was scarier because it
seemed to show real emotion. She had a mean
look, as a young adult.

[ok. she wears the trousers here]
As the story goes, Hynde thought she was tough
enough, as a younger gal, to hang out with biker
gangs, in her home town. She found out the hard
way that bikers don't play by the rules. If they
can trick you and get you alone, they'll rape you.
And that's what happened to her.

Imagine a young Chrissie thinking she was
tuff enuff to hang with the bad boys. She's
not the first young woman, or man for that matter
who has cast the dice of their lives in the same
way, as a reaction to some grudge with their
parents, or society. Of course, it can bite you
in the butt. Going outside the law means you're
without protection.

So, she has to carry that baggage with her
for the rest of her life. She's prolly still beating
herself up for being so stupid.
It's was an assault,
but much worse than a broken bone. This type of
assault cannot be set straight. But, most people
have to summon
up great courage to get past disasters, and
that courage can result in greatness. I think she gave
it a good shot.

However, when Chrissie waded into the rape issue
I think she was exposing her own internal dialogue
about that event, and I don't think she was checking
to see if it made sense. I think she was externalising
her conflicting emotions about an act which cost her
dearly. This doesn't always allow for logical
argumentation. It's speaking from the heart, from pain.

So, when she said something like:
if you hang out with gangsters,
you're gonna get got,
that was not to criminalise young women 
for hanging out with bikers, etc. She was just
warning women not to hang out with bikers.
end of.

Her other comments were something like
your clothing or behaviour 
could make you a target.
So, this stuff was pounced on mercilessly
because society is at the "slut-walk" stage
where women are absolving themselves
of blame for rape.That is good, but I don't
think the "slut walkers" are in the main
past victims of rape. I hope that they're 
not future victims either.

When Hynde talks about "fault" for rape,
she doesn't mean who's legally responsible.
It's more like "who fucked up first?"
"whose mistake got the ball rolling?"

What I think Hynde was trying to put across,
in her own pained way, was that women
have to watch out for themselves and
one another. She was saying "the world is
not a wonderful garden of eden," except for
the snakes. They're ever-present. So, I think
her point is
"don't make yourself a 

I think she would have been happy if at
least one women/girl takes that advice
and avoids being victimised.  

In other words, the idea is 
this is not rape theory.
It's anti-rape self-awareness
and self-protection.
If it happens, then it's 
too late.
The only argument that the women's
groups have is that most rape is done
by people who the victims know, even
family. That does not take away from Hynde's

Let's move on to her music for a moment.
I had recently been impressed by an 
old video for a song "Talk of the Town."

I had liked the song as a kid, even though
I hated any emotive music, and most 
mid-tempo songs. My fav song of the 
Pretenders was "Precious"

and then "Message of Love."

At bit mature for a pre-teen, but anyway.
They sounded great on vinyl.

But I did like the "Talk" song. Even with its
sour notes in the chorus. Not sure if I'd seen the
video then, as it was before MTV, me thinks.

Anyway, if you look at the halting 
nature of the breaks in the song. If
you look into her eyes when the 
camera shows them, you get a sense
that some story is being told by 
this woman. And even her voice
is not your regular crooning.

So, when I read the recent stories
that I've recounted here, I put two
and two together tentatively and 
thought, maybe that song is about
what the town thought of her, 
after she was "done to". 

"I made a wish and said it out loud,
out loud in a crowd"
"you've changed your place in this world"
"oh but it's hard to live by the rules.
I never could, and still never do"
"the rules and such never bothered you.
you called the shots and they follow"

These lines could all be about her "experience."
She could have been trying to exorcise the
demon who attacked her.
So, you decide. Here's the news story

Checkit: Press Association

Chrissie Hynde criticised over rape remarks

Pretenders singer condemned after saying it can be a woman’s fault if she is raped, and blamed herself for performing sexual acts under threat of violence

Chrissie Hynde: ‘If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?’
Sunday 30 August 2015 10.53 BST
Last modified on Monday 31 August 2015 00.20 BST

Singer Chrissie Hynde has been criticised for saying it can be a woman’s fault if she is raped.

The Pretenders star, 63, said she blamed herself for being forced to perform sexual acts under the threat of violence.

She told the Sunday Times magazine that when she was 21 an Ohio motorcycle gang member promised to take her to a party but instead took her to an empty house, yet she claimed to take “full responsibility” for what happened. [i.e. the rape-Cos67]

She said: “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t f*** about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges ... those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do.

“You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naive.”

When asked whether the gang took advantage of her vulnerability, she replied: “If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”

Hynde went on to say that women who dress provocatively while walking down the street drunk were also to blame if they were attacked. “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?” she said.

“If I’m walking around and I’m very modestly dressed and I’m keeping to myself and someone attacks me, then I’d say that’s his fault. But if I’m being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who’s already unhinged – don’t do that. Come on! That’s just common sense. You know, if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him.

“If you’re wearing something that says ‘Come and f*** me’, you’d better be good on your feet ... I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?”

Ths singer’s comments were condemned by the head of the charity Victim Support, who said victims should not blame themselves.

Lucy Hastings, the charity’s director, said: “Victims of sexual violence should never feel or be made to feel that they were responsible for the appalling crime they sufferedregardless of circumstances or factors which may have made them particularly vulnerable.

“They should not blame themselves or be blamed for failing to prevent an attack – often they will have been targeted by predatory offenders who are responsible for their actions.[so why not take precautions?- Cos67]

“It is critical that nothing deters victims of sexual violence from coming forward to the police or to independent organisations so they can get the help and support they need.”[only after the deed has been done-Cos67]