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Everything posted by Catherine

  1. It's difficult to say what the apparitions are... whether they're figments of his imagination or actually spirits. It's also strange (and worth looking into) why the apparitions, for the first time in the book series, appear so young. I don't think Rowling ever explicitly states the answer, but I'm curious to see if anyone has any insight on this? As for Dumbledore... I don't think he was conditioning Harry for death. Dumbledore's knowledge of the Horcruxes comes fairly late in the series, and though it's impossible to say when, I would say it happened between the times that the fifth and sixth books take place (the time when he discovers the ring). I think the journal in the second book might've been the first time he suspected it, but he admits in the sixth book that he knows little more than Harry does. I think the fact that Harry might have to "sacrifice" himself was a hunch. I think in the first four books he genuinely sought to protect and educate Harry, knowing that he would have to fight Voldemort, but not necessarily die. That's at least what I guessed.
  2. I'm actually surprised at the number of people who found the ending to be altruistic... obviously there were altruistic undertones, but Harry was protecting people he loved (Moose points this out above).
  3. I think Peikoff's stance would remain the same unless the Democratic Party, as someone mentioned (as opposed to their foremost candidate) changed their fundamental philosophy. I can certainly see this happening, but I doubt it would be a permanent transformation. True, a lot of Republicans refuse to vote democratic based on single, religious issues, but the Democrats have very minimal persuading to do since the war in Iraq has been such a flop. I find it scary, too, that someone with relatively little political experience has achieved such a large amount of success. He's become a very trendy candidate among college students - as one, I've seen this first hand. I hear everyone drop his name, yet hardly anyone that I've asked can describe his political platform/ideology to me.
  4. My family was sent a ticket the other day because someone ran a red light (the camera took a picture). The US has started to implement something extremely similar, just minus the sidewalk cameras/speakers. (And for the record, no one in my family actually remembers running the light; whoever it was probably was making a left turn on a yellow, which I admit, I'm notorious for.) I think the article makes some great points (the arrest of journalists, the slow removal of certain rights). They're all issues we can't turn a blind eye to, even if they are only moderately true. That said, I too agree that the article was poorly written, and lazily organized, and has been written numerous times before (by smarter people).
  5. I think this is the essential part of the article. Regardless of who wrote them (be it one or two hundred people), I still enjoy the story immensely. JK Rowling didn't have to be a sob-story to get me hooked.
  6. I agree with this as well; I won't deny that many people enjoyed 300 for the wrong reasons, but I would say that a huge amount of them appreciated the romanticism of the story, if only at a very shallow level. I think people are much more responsive to romanticism than we give them credit for, even if their understanding of it is only immediate/subconscious and childlike. That said, I loved 300 far more than I expected to (for all of the reasons people listed above - the heroic story, etc). The cinematography, not to mention, was gorgeous; I think I could take a screencap of any point in the movie and hang it on my wall (excepting the ones with Xerces. I could NOT wake up to that face.) My only reserve with the story were that the soldiers seemed bred to be soldiers, and to fight for ideals that had been ingrained in them (not necessarily conclusions they had reached).
  7. I came across this article regarding a man who turned down a role because it "trivialized" something he was genuinely proud of: Source It's, of course, not a significant news event, but it really struck me as honorable that an actor was so proud of a project he was a part of that he refused to make fun of it. I finished The Romantic Manifesto just yesterday, so this bit of news came at an extremely opportune time. It reminded me of the article Ayn Rand writes on the degradation of romanticism in the media - and how works such as James Bond are bastardized in films because the people involved didn't take their work seriously. (Sorry if this is in the wrong forum!)
  8. I have addressed this argument.. actually, saying that the puzzles are a part of the "storytelling" in videogames. I'll elaborate on it though, since I admit it was vague on my part. When you read a book, or look at a picture, you have to decode it to extract any value from it. You have to understand what the artist was trying to say, or the end they were trying to achieve. By this, I don't mean you need the Idiot's Guide to Literary Symbolism (I'm not even sure it exists, and I can rarely ever stand symbolism), but what I DO mean is that language, in itself, is a sort of puzzle. When you're reading a book, there are times when you come across a word you don't understand - you look it up so you can continue with the book. Like an author uses words to advance throughout the novel, so a videogame designer/coder uses interaction (even if this means through puzzles). They're not meant to keep the player from progressing, and good ones aren't meant to distract; they're meant to engage the player, and to help him advance through the story. (And when I say language is a puzzle - I don't mean that it's elusive, I mean that you have to put together the pieces to make sense out of it.) What she means by a "recreation of reality" is that art takes realistic things and abstracts them. For instance, an example that Ayn Rand uses frequently throughout the Romantic Manifesto is an apple - in a painting it may be luscious, flawless, round, and bright red - but how many apples do you really see that look like that? Its function is to represent ideas derived from reality, not to record and replay it. I would say that absolutely, art does not have to be completely realistic, per se, in order to be of value. Take The Matrix for instance (one of my favorite movies). I DO think, however, it has to have some basis in reality, and obviously has to be intelligible by us - otherwise it will render itself intellectually worthless (like many works of modern art).
  9. I would disagree completely. The CG effects were WONDERFUL, I'll give it that. Other than that, I thought it was horrible! Setting aside the hugely altruistic nature of the movie(s), not to mention the warped sense of justice, the plot and character development were both undermined by random chance. For instance, it wasn't until the end that Sand Man reveals that he only ACCIDENTALLY killed Peter Parker's uncle, so everything working up to the fight between Sand Man and Spiderman is thrown out the window. The same can be said for the scene between Harry and his butler - who suddenly announces that his father was responsible for his own death - AN ENTIRE MOVIE AFTER THE FACT. ("Oops! LOLZ.") One particular scene I loathed was when Spiderman tells the blonde chick (whose name I forget) to "lay one on him". It was entirely out-of-character, and just an act of desperation from the directors to tie in some sexual tension. I realize that a lot of the incongruous parts in the movie were a product of the directors trying to tie in a lot from the comic books that were originally unrelated, but they did a pretty poor job of it, in my opinion.
  10. No one has still addressed the following issues: - Why videogames cannot, apparently, express a creator's metaphysical value-judgments and - Why they can't be considered a recreation of reality Whether or not there are games that do (or don't), the fact is, they certainly have the potential to. Despite many of their false "parameters" and fantasy-like elements, many videogames, especially the ones containing plots and characters (be the characters humans, animals, or humanimals) may still have themes and other elements that link it back to reality. The gameplay, as I've already mentioned (i.e.... gaining an item) is not so random as many seem to make it out. It's simply a part of the storytelling. Items don't appear out of nowhere, and neither do skills, or levels - they have to be earned. What may seem a pointless quest may actually help you reach the end of the game, the point when everything is ultimately tied together. (As for sidequests and subquests... I'll admit they may get pointless, distracting, and may ultimately detract from a game's artistic merit, but they are not inherent elements in a videogame). You say here that it's POSSIBLE, and isn't that what our entire discussion is about? To say that videogames cannot be art simply because none have fully and perfectly integrated interaction (though it is possible), is like saying that Rand's books are worthless because the world is not as perfect as Rand paints it to be in her novels. It IS possible for videogames to be art, even if none have proven themselves to be fully-integrated, completely unified and consistent YET. What everyone has still failed to answer, without using hypotheticals, is what about the videogame MEDIUM keeps it from being a work of art? It's thus far proven a great medium for storytelling, plot and character development, theme presentation... I'm not saying it's been implemented perfectly YET, but there is certainly the potential for it to.
  11. Yeah, they require strategy, but their sole purpose is not to hone one's strategizing skills... as is the purpose of chess and other similar games. Chess doesn't have a plot, theme, or characters (I mean, I suppose one could argue that they do, but really, they don't). To say that all video games are made with the same goals as chess is untrue. Now that I think about it, I do agree with you that an RPG could be a work of art. As for MMORPGs, I still do not consider them a work of art, as they don't seem to be created with an end in mind really. But, that's just going off of the MMOs I know of, so I could be proven wrong.
  12. In most discussions regarding "video games as art", I've noticed that most people bring up the point that you have made: there are too many choices for it to be considered a unified work. Considering this, I'd say that I don't consider certain video games, such as RPGs, MMORPGs, etc. "art". However, for games like Zelda, where the choices you can make are limited, and each item you gain is working towards a specific end, I would certainly consider it art. Gaining items, leveling up... I consider these elements just part of the storytelling. As for selectivity... all of the elements in a videogame are selected - they are coded, graphically rendered, etcetera. Nothing that happens in a videogame is an accident. Just as we would consider "slice-of-life" literature "art" (albeit, bad art), so you could consider video games art too. Whether it seems so or not, whether the artist wishes it to be accidental or not, someone had to make the choice to put it there. As GreedyCapitalist said, just because many people work to achieve an end, doesn't mean the end isn't achieved - especially when their vision is unified. I would say the same for Greek sculptors - whose apprentices aided them (in fact, many famous statues that are attributed to famous sculptors were not technically sculpted by them). Also, see the movie example he brought up. I also want to mention that a work of art can draw from multiple mediums and still be considered a work of art. It's very similar to film and other performing arts in this respect. In fact, I can seriously respect anyone that unifies sight, sound, concepts (through scripting), and even moreso - interaction - to achieve a single end (and does it successfully, that is). (Actually, I have heard that Rand wrote a play herself, where the audience, who acts as a jury, chooses a verdict. I haven't read it myself though, so I can't say for sure.) I think the comparison between a chess game and video games is a poor one. True, there are strategic video games that are just meant to exercise certain skills you have - but there are also games I would consider more cinematic (and I'm not referring to cut-scenes either) in their nature, in that they focus on characters, plot, and theme, while you simply move through the game. To say that all games are about strategy is a false generalization, as it only refers to a small amount of games (such as RPGs, which I do concede, are not art). Whether or not there are any videogames yet that qualify as good art, I have yet to know (I really don't play very much). They CERTAINLY, however, have the potential, I think. (I will elaborate on why I think so... once I finish studying for my Japanese exam!)
  13. I can't foresee myself wanting to live forever, but I can say with certainty that I'd rather the choice be in my hands than subject to nature. I enjoy my life far too much - and death, not to mention the aging process, are two things I wouldn't mind missing out on. I also admit I'm hanging on for commercial space travel.
  14. What the Bill of Rights actually reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." I do see what you mean - "...the 2nd amendment is to protect the right of individuals qua militiamen" - but let's analyze that statement. A militia is, according to the OED: A militia is different from a trained army, or a government-supported army, in that it is an army of civilians. To say that the right to bear arms was reserved only for those with the intent of joining the militia is too vague a statement - who can join a militia?, is anyone who intends to fight for a unified cause a "militia"?, and which "militias" are allowed to have these rights? (That is my problem with the word militia - it is too vague and too controversial.) Considering the context in which the Bill of Rights was written, however, the signers obviously meant a militia whose purpose was to protect themselves against oppressors, or people who intended to use force against them - not to serve the government. As strangely as it is worded, I think it's obvious that the right for an individual to bear arms was, for very good reasons, sanctioned by the Bill of Rights. (And if it wasn't, that's a problem with the Bill).
  15. Catherine

    Yann Tiersen

    For anyone who has seen Amelie (I cannot make the accent on my laptop), you may recognize some of Yann Tiersen's music - he did after all, compose the soundtrack (along with the one for Goodbye, Lenin!). It was actually in a search for the soundtrack that I stumbled upon the lyrical versions of his songs, and I found them even more impressive and inspiring. Not only does Yann Tiersen have great command over music composition, but his lyrics are very inspiring as well. My favorite song, "Les Jours Tristes" (the sad days), is a beautiful song about a persistent individual among a sea of "cowards", devoid of "objectivity". It speaks more of... say Dagny Taggart than Objectivism, but it's still a beautiful song nonetheless. The lyrics, coupled with the ballad-like tune, makes it one of my favorite (contemporary) songs. You can listen to a short clip of it on his official website under Discography > L'absente > Les jours tristes. His other albums are good, but L'absente is easily my favorite (it is just a reworked version of the Amelie soundtrack, really). It is the one that Yann Tiersen also considers most representative of himself. "Les Jours Tristes" It's hard, hard not to sit on your hands And bury your head in the sand Hard not to make other plans and claim that you've done all you can all along And life must go on It's hard, hard to stand up for what's right And bring home the bacon each night Hard not to break down and cry When every idea that you've tried has been wrong But you must go on It's hard but you know it's worth the fight 'cause you know you've got the truth on your side When the accusations fly, hold tight Don't be afraid of what they'll say Who cares what cowards think, anyway They will understand one day, one day It's hard, hard when you're here all alone And everyone else has gone home Harder to know right from wrong When all objectivity's gone And it's gone But you still carry on 'cause you, you are the only one left And you've got to clean up this mess You know you'll end up like the rest Bitter and twisted, unless You stay strong and you carry on It's hard but you know it's worth the fight 'cause you know you've got the truth on your side When the accusations fly, hold tight And don't be afraid of what they'll say Who cares what cowards think, anyway They will understand one day, one day.
  16. Just to make a correction - George Orwell was not opposed to socialism, and in fact, was a socialist himself (see his article on Wikipedia under "Political Views" - and I can vouch for the validity of this). Sorry, I know your review was written a long time ago, but I noticed it and thought it was worth pointing out. It's one of the main reasons (aside from, as you said, his not-so-inspiring hero) that I disliked the book - his answer was just as irrational as his problem. That said, there were actually interesting points introduced in the book. One of the more interesting evils he addresses is defining things by what they aren't, as opposed to what they are (newspeak). I'm not sure this concept would have been conveyed as effectively through film, but I can't speak for the movie since I haven't seen it. Just saying, you may not want to write off the book entirely from your read-list, though there are certainly many much worthier books to read.
  17. Right, I totally agree. I did make a point to say this in my original post, as I think it is the biggest issue in the entire argument. The gun control debate is NOT one about numbers. It is one about morality, regardless of what happens to the crime rates. Saying that there are statistics in support of it was merely a sidenote - as in, if liberals want their numbers, they can have them - because even still, the moral way will still prove the best way. But I do agree that statistics have no place in this (or any other) argument.
  18. Ah I knew someone would address that, when I said "more creative"! I do think that non-fiction is a creative process, certainly; having spent much of my time writing non-fiction essays (for school and for fun), I realize the amount of selectivity that it requires, not only in content (to a certain extent), but conveyance of it. But, as RationalBiker says, one can generally be assumed to be "more creative" since you start with less to work from. I do concede that both, however, are extremely creative processes.
  19. I hate to say that it "teaches" these things, but it certainly exemplifies some of the worse qualities of an MMORPG. In fact, the entire Group > Solo is the entire reason I left; I had no friends who played (until nearly a year after I quit), and it was nearly impossible to level without a group past level 20. Though really, GTA teaches better lessons than WoW? I enjoy playing GTA, but certainly not because of the warped sense of "freedom" it supposedly "teaches".
  20. People tend to ignore the statisics that prove theirs wrong. Once again, I'm not endorsing statistics, I am just saying there are statistics that show a correlation between guns and lower crime (see this webpage for numbers and citations). In other words, if they want their number battle, they can have it - because what is good in theory is almost always good in practice. I confess that I have never been in a situation where I would have used a gun (not that I really have a choice, since I don't carry one). That said, I have been in situations where having one would have made me much more comfortable, knowing that I could have protected myself, rather than waiting the situation through. A prime example would be this: at around 9pm at night, I drove to my friends' house and was followed. My friend lives less than 15 minutes away by car - probably closer to ten. The person actually parked a few cars behind me, but I kept my lights on and stayed in the car (while phoning my friend so she could have her mom watch through the window or something). I stayed in the car for a few minutes, and the person eventually pulled out and drove away. I wouldn't have used a gun on them for just that, but I at least would've felt comfortable with getting out of my car and walking to my friend's door. I am otherwise not a presumptuous person; I generally am safe around people I know, and violence is always a last resort. I'm not saying we should all have our guns ready, just saying yes, I have been in instances where having a means of protecting myself would have made me feel safer.
  21. Thanks for the heads up! I usually do capitalize both words, but every now-and-then I don't. I'll make a conscious effort to do so here-on-out. A friend of mine introduced me to Ayn Rand (I admit, I'd never even heard her name before!) through my journal. I'd been posting a lot about philosophy/my own ideological ideas, and he knew Objectivism was the answer I had been looking for. There are a few other people who claim they introduced me (and now use it against me), but really he is the only one to whom I'm indebted. I have to admit I was sort of terrible at religion, and actually claimed to be agnostic before reading Atlas Shrugged. Still, it was nice to read something that condoned atheism, especially when I was surrounded by people who claimed absence of religion meant absence of morality. Video games too, are not immensely interesting to me; I tend to get bored pretty quickly. I prefer reading over any other art form, but that is just my personal preference! Edit And someone should certainly make a thread about it! I've gotten into lengthy discussions about the topic before - a video game is a selective recreation of reality, it is engaging in the same respects as a book, movie, or other form of art (requires contemplation), among several other things.
  22. Argh, I thought I'd checked all of the threads! Sorry for posting something redundant... maybe a mod can delete it?
  23. In light of the Virginia Tech Massacre, I've been thinking a lot about Gun Control laws, their usefulness, etcetera. I don't find myself completely opposed to the idea of gun licenses, but I do find it frightening that there are a substantial amount of people who are 1) willing to blame guns for peoples' crimes and 2) willing to sacrifice their (and others') right to self-protection. I recently got in an argument with my friend over the issue. When I said that such laws were unconsitutional, my friend replied, "i dont care whats constitutional...that was a different time....things change," I began to wonder, "Do people really think the Constitution such a shallow document," and "What, really, has changed?" Anyway, here's the gist of the argument. In defense of our right to own firearms: [*] Where there is crime (i.e... everywhere, and always, with or without guns), people should have the right to defend themselves. [*] A government/police force, even an uncorrupt, functioning, and efficient one, is NOT omniscient and omnipresent. [*] Why, anyway, would we want to give a government or police force unchecked power against us? (Going back to why the founding Fathers wrote this right into the Constitution). [*] No one is more responsible for your own safety/well-being than you are. No one CAN be more responsible. [*] There is nothing immoral about a person protecting himself or herself. There is something immoral about preventing a person to do so. My friend's/her roommates (when my friend could no longer argue) responses: [*] Statistics in Europe show lower crime rates; Europe has strict gun control laws. (My response: Correlation is not causality, therefore fallacious in ANY argument. That is not to mention that for every statistic, there is an opposite and equal statistic to refute it.) [*] The U.S. was founded on the principle that the "militia" could be armed, not "random people." (My response: This is actually untrue; the principle that a "militia", as opposed to citizens, could be armed was added in after 1900; furthermore, the idea of a militia is that it is made up of "random people.") [*] Everyone else is incompetent. (My response: Prove it!) What are everyone else's thoughts on gun control?
  24. It's been a few years since I've actively been engaged in an online forum (save for Livejournal, which I suppose could count), so it's refreshing to come across one that seems semi-active, and especially one where everyone is united under a common interest other than boredom. My name's Catherine, and since discovering Ayn Rand a year ago (my senior year in high school), I've been completely transformed. Having been raised a Roman Catholic (12 years of private school!!), it was an extremely difficult transition for me. I'd always been an arguer - so accepting that everything should be based on LOGIC was no trouble for me. Abandoning altruism was much more difficult, but reflecting on it, not too hard, either. My hobbies include non-fiction writing and photography, sewing, reading (which goes without saying??) and web/graphic design, though I'm trying to tap into more creative hobbies such as fiction-writing. I love anime/manga passionately, and occasionally I read graphic novels too. I'm in college right now, planning to major in Japanese, hopefully with a minor in animation. I must say I was very excited to see that under the art forum, there was a separate category for "video games". I wasn't aware that there were many other objectivists who considered the potentiality of "art" in videogame design, so it's refreshing to see that other people have the same progressive views as well. I look forward to posting! (Sorry, all of this was typed very quickly, not to mention I'm exhausted, so please excuse/correct any grammatical/spelling errors I may have made). [Mod's note: I split some posts to a new thread comparing the creative-processes in writing Fiction and non-Fiction. sn]
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