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"The Passion of Ayn Rand"

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I do have to quote one thing from the Barbara interview:

Q: Leonard Peikoff said that Frank O'Connor was not an alcoholic, that those bottles in the painting room were for mixing paints, but booze bottles are not for mixing paint.

Branden: Of course! Who ever heard of a painter mixing paints in a liquor bottle!

For the record, my mother- who has painted for over thirty years now professionally- likes using coca-cola bottles. Actually, once she used a cointreau bottle that had been emptied during a New Year's party the week before.

Eventually she would put the bottles that were too 'caked up' along the tops of the bookcases after scraping the logos off, because of how colorful they looked (she used a bottle for each color). Our library-studio at home (which has around two thousand books) ended up with rows of these colorful bottles.

She doesn't do that anymore, because she's switched to watercolors.

But just goes to show you. Barbara should really -as someone might have told her a thousand times in the past- check her premises before she jumps to these conclusions. Artists tend to be a pretty eccentric bunch and I wouldn't be surprised if there are artists out there who use even less common things to mix their paints with. I myself mixed my colors with whatever I had at hand when I realized I had run out of space. Nowadays, since I do my artwork mostly through digital means (painting programs), I don't have that problem anymore.

I thought about sending her an e-mail about it, but then I realized who it would be going to and realized it would probably be futile.

Barbara has done the most to tarnish the name of Objectivism everywhere as a philosophy of thought. In my opinion, anybody who supports what she's done or has done is supporting the tarnishing at name and hindering the possibility of calm and rational discussion and introduction of Objectivist ideas and ideals to people who may have otherwise considered them. If anyone has any doubt, you can witness it in every display of what and who Ayn Rand was in popular culture every day, from artists to pundits. The demonization of Rand happens often with details and evidence pulled from the annals of Barbara's writings. They enable a poisoning of the well argument: if Rand was this kind of person, everything she did must be wrong too.

Babs seems to have a certain jealousy of Rand's success, perhaps because she was jealous over her husband, and she has systematically acted to overshadow Rand and take her place. She has successfully done to this to many followers only to bow out and hand the reigns to David Kelley. The events may not have flowed this way in exactitude, but culturally it has been done.

If Nathaniel wants to talk about issues of self-esteem, he should start with his ex-wife first.

Another thing I usually hear is about how Ayn "robbed the cradle" by grabbing such a youth as Nath, who was 25 years her junior. My boyfriend's grandparents had a difference of about 19 years between them. He loved her so much that he lied about his age to her parents, as he knew they wouldn't allow them to marry at such a difference. They were happily married until his death four years ago.

Yet it's details like their age difference that are brought up to continue to tarnish Rand's name, as if somehow she should be judged on a different scale than the rest of the world.

Edited by kainscalia
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Did Barbara Branden portray Mr. O'Connor as a passed out drunk in a phone booth, or did the people who made the movie do so? I don't recall if Branden's book included that.

Either way, I think that the scene should have shown Mr. O'Connor using liquor bottles to mix his artist's paints, which appears to be the explanation offered by Miss Rand and/or Dr. Peikoff as to why Mr. O'Connor had rows of empty liquor bottles in his studio

The Branden book claims, without evidence, that O'Connor was a drunk. I don't know if Branden wrote or was involved in writing the screenplay, but she was involved with making the movie. She is the one who claims the character in the movie "was Frank." You think the scene should show him mixing paint in the bottles. Why would it? This movie is based on Barbara Branden's book. The same Barbara Branden who scoffs at the idea of mixing paint in bottles.

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For the record, my mother- who has painted for over thirty years now professionally- likes using coca-cola bottles. Actually, once she used a cointreau bottle that had been emptied during a New Year's party the week before.

Eventually she would put the bottles that were too 'caked up' along the tops of the bookcases after scraping the logos off, because of how colorful they looked (she used a bottle for each color). Our library-studio at home (which has around two thousand books) ended up with rows of these colorful bottles.

That's very interesting. Of all of the many artists that I've known personally, and of all of those whose techniques I've studied or read about, none has used liquor or soda bottles for mixing artist's paints. In fact, there's only one person other than your mother and Mr. O'Connor whom I've heard of who is said to have used liquor bottles for mixing paints, and that's James Valliant's grandmother (I love how small the world has become because of the Internet -- it's so cool that I've never heard of a single artist who used booze bottles for mixing paints, and now I've met two people in Objectivist fora who happen to have relatives who happened to use rare techniques that were similar to Mr. O'Connor's!). Unfortunately, though, when I asked Mr. Valliant if he could give some details about his grandmother's methods, he didn't reply.

As a professional artist myself, I was hoping to learn what his grandmother thought were the benefits of using bottles over any of the alternatives that other artists use instead. You see, there are several reasons why I and other artists I've known don't use booze bottles, including the fact that artist's oils and acrylics don't store well when thinned to a consistency that would allow them to be accessible in a liquor bottle (they break down very quickly, become crusty or yellowed, etc., depending on the type of media they are thinned with); oils and acrylics aren't generally used in thinned washes of the consistency that could be easily mixable in, or retrieved from, a bottle, and even when they are used that thinly, a little goes a long way (there wouldn't be a need to mix even a quarter of a cola bottle in order to cover entire canvases that were four or five times the size of those painted by Mr. O'Connor); artist's paints are expensive, and there are a variety of methods of mixing and storing them that are much more effective, efficient and stable than using liquor or soda bottles, and anyone with any actual hand's on experience with paints -- from novices to professionals -- would quickly recognized what a cumbersome and wasteful process it would be to used such bottles. And that's just a few of the problems.

Even artists who use large quantities of paint, such as muralists, have much better options. The only type of visual art that I can think of which might benefit from using booze bottles is some sort of splatter abstract art, but I'm not aware of Mr. O'Connor creating in that genre.

But, having said all of that, apparently I'm just not getting it. It seems that there's some secret technique that I'm not aware of which addresses all of the technical difficulties of using bottles for mixing paints. So, what I'm wondering is, could you ask your mother to share details of her methods and explain the benefits of using liquor or soda bottles? Could you post some samples of her art that she created using bottle-mixed painting techniques? I'd really love to learn which liquid media she used to mix her paints and what technical advantages she thought liquor or soda bottles offered.

She doesn't do that anymore, because she's switched to watercolors.

But just goes to show you. Barbara should really -as someone might have told her a thousand times in the past- check her premises before she jumps to these conclusions. Artists tend to be a pretty eccentric bunch and I wouldn't be surprised if there are artists out there who use even less common things to mix their paints with. I myself mixed my colors with whatever I had at hand when I realized I had run out of space. Nowadays, since I do my artwork mostly through digital means (painting programs), I don't have that problem anymore.

Not only are artists often eccentric, but they can also be very clever and inventive, which is the reason that I don't rashly dismiss the idea of using liquor bottles for mixing artist's paints as being as ridiculous as it sounds. I realize that there might be artists who are more inventive than I am. Just because I can't think of a way of using liquor bottles which overcomes all of the problems of using them doesn't mean that others haven't come up with something that works. So, again, if you get the chance, I would greatly appreciate it if you would ask your mother to share details of her techniques.

Best,

J

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The Branden book claims, without evidence, that O'Connor was a drunk. I don't know if Branden wrote or was involved in writing the screenplay, but she was involved with making the movie. She is the one who claims the character in the movie "was Frank." You think the scene should show him mixing paint in the bottles. Why would it? This movie is based on Barbara Branden's book. The same Barbara Branden who scoffs at the idea of mixing paint in bottles.

Why do I think that the movie should have shown Mr. O'Connor mixing his paints in liquor bottles? Because I'm an artist who can't fathom how anyone could use a bottle-mix method to paint the size and style of paintings that Mr. O'Connor painted, and I think it would be great to see a visual representation of his technique.

J

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What I have always wanted to ask this woman is whether she actually has any evidence of these things occurring or not. Most of the time she reminds me of how LaToya Jackson acted during the first child abuse allegations directed at her brother (going on television, acting like a loony and claiming she had evidence- which turned out to be nothing at all).

Suddenly an expert, even though she was 'in the dark' about the affair- that's one of the versions I hear the most. How can that be? Doesn't make sense, can't have both at the same time.

Sorry, but I'm confused. Who are you talking about, Barbara Branden or Ayn Rand? As I understand it, Rand and Nathaniel asked their spouses for permission prior to having their affair, so Barbara would not have been "in the dark" about it. Rand, however, was "in the dark" about Nathaniel's affair with Patrecia (the young woman he was seeing without Rand's knowledge).

So, if you were referring to Rand when you said what you "wanted to ask this woman is whether she actually has any evidence of these things occurring or not," I can only assume that you meant that Rand didn't present evidence to support her accusations of Nathaniel's wrongdoing in her article "To Whom It May Concern." Is that what you meant? If so, I agree, and I also largely agree with what Diana Hsieh has had to say on the subject here:

Another raging debate on the Nathaniel Branden Forum is the moral status of Branden and Rand concealing their affair from others, both before and after the break. Here's my take:

On Wed, 26 Mar 2003, mpignotti2001 wrote:

> While I'd grant that keeping such a secret from very close friends is

> not necessarily psychologically the healthiest thing to do, I don't

> think it is immoral and that people do have a right to decide what

> they tell or don't tell friends.

I agree with Monica on this point. Neither Rand nor Branden were under any obligation to disclose their affair to friends. It was nobody's business but their own (and their spouses).

But Rand was obligated to tell the truth about the reason for her break with Branden, which she did not. If she wished to keep the affair private, as would have been reasonable, she could have cited irreconcilable personal differences and even the Brandens' dishonesty. Instead, she fabricated all sorts of false justifications in "To Whom It May Concern" -- and failed to mention the real reason for the break.

In Basic Principles of Objectivism, Nathaniel Branden argues that honesty requires that we take responsibility for the reasonable inferences of others. Misleading technical truths are not honest. Even if every word that Rand wrote about the Branden's in "To Whom It May Concern" were true, the letter would still fail that test miserably.

Ayn Rand's dishonesty in the aftermath of her break with Nathaniel Branden is certainly disappointing to me, but hardly devastating. I admire Rand as a novelist and a philosopher, but her personal conduct is ultimately irrelevant to me.

J

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Replying to Jonathan13:

"In the dark"... that's why I said "one of the versions". I didn't say she WAS in the dark, I said that if that were true it can't be both ways. She hasn't helped in not spreading multiple versions either. However, I won't go into that with you Jonathan.

You are OBVIOUSLY trying very hard to rashly dismiss everything I've said and others have said without actually 'rashly' dismissing it by using flowery words. You have pretty much called me and your other friend a liar, without having to say it, by implication. This is disrespectful and it's revealing any agenda you might have really well. You are using the same logic Barbara has used: in absence of other explanations, the assumption must be correct. There are way too many factors to account for numerous liquor bottles in Frank's life for anyone to be able to point to alcoholism. If anyone wished to accuse Frank of alcoholism, then let them provide evidence of repeated instances when he was actually drunk.

Also, by the time Frank was allegedly, if you could say, drunk dead, with all those liquor bottles lying around his studio, the affair was over for like 10 - 15 years. That's a long time for Frank to keep drinking for no apparent reason, as numerous accounts show Frank and Ayn in a very loving relationship until Frank's death.

The only thing I'm going to give to a person who can't say straight out what they mean is the single information they ask for and nothing more. Please don't waste your precious time two-facing to me any longer.

So in answer to you, here are two paintings that my mother made:

Pintura.jpg (1987)

Pintura2.jpg (1999)

And here's her response when I posed your artistic and utilitarian concerns about her methods to her:" I had just started studying with Lucho (Painter Luis Miranda ) around when you were five (that would make the date 1984). It was my first class and I had been in such a hurry because I was late (no doubt because of me) that I forgot to put my palette in the car where I had left my paint and brush case. When I arrived at his studio I told him "Mr. Miranda I forgot my palette, could you lend me one?" and Lucho, of course, was exasperated, also because I had forgotten to get a plastic glass to clean my brushes with. In response he stormed over to my easel and put an empty glass coca-cola bottle on the stand next to it and said "Use this for your brushes!". When I asked him about the palette again he turned bright red and told me "If you're going to be like this I don't think you should be in my class- I am not here to teach idle housewives how to paint puppies for their son's bedroom, i'm here to teach artists! I don't give a damn what you use- use the damn bottle and just shut up and either paint or get out of here." Well, I was so furious at him that I sat down and just started right away. At first I thought about using the stand itself to get back at him, but then I just grabbed the bottle and I used the outside surface of it. I was so angry and so focused that I did a pretty good job of the painting for my first class, and Lucho joked that the bottle seemed to be working. I guess it stuck, really, and they made such a nice souvenir of each painting I made that I decided to keep them around. I'd use the outside to mix the hues and shades, and the inside and in sides I'd use for wiping."

Incidentally? My brother and father kept a collection of bottles that had been used up but whose designs or labels they liked, or because of being a rare vintage (as was my father's prized Dom Perignon bottle). I'm going to call them tomorrow and tell them "Guess what? Barbara Branden and John13 have just proven you two are irrepressible alcoholics." People can accumulate plenty of liquor bottles throughout their lives without being an alcoholic.

Edited by kainscalia
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I recorded it - haven't watched it yet - not sure if I want to. Has anyone seen it, and if so, how would you characterize it?

I don't want to evade reality, but I'd like to know first whether the film is anywhere close to reality, or if its more of a smear campaign. If the latter, I won't bother. If its fairly true, then even if its negative, I'll watch it.

In this case, we're talking about a movie. That requires a minimal investment of time and money. I have not seen the movie; so, I cannot comment on it. I read both the Branden books when they were first out, and no longer have the curiosity to read PARC, nor to see this movie. To anyone who is curious, I'd say: definitely watch it. In fact, I would say: read the Branden books; but those require a larger investment of time. Edited by softwareNerd
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In this case, we're talking about a movie. That requires a minimal investment of time and money.

Of money, almost nothing, since I already have showtime so I can watch Dexter (which, now that its over this year, I can cancel...).

But investing my time is something I try to be selective about, and have to be, since I only have so much time to go around, and how I invest it matters.

So I'd rather spend 5 minutes asking about the film, and 10 minutes reading the reviews by people who share an interest in the subject, than to spend 90 minutes trying to judge for myself if there is sufficient reason not to bother. So based on the responses, I'll spend the hour and a half watching The Biggest Loser, as it inspires me to exercise, instead of spending an hour and a half watching this movie which sounds like its credibility is questionable at best.

To be clear - if it dealt with her philosophy - positively or negatively - I'd watch without question. A third person's perspective of her personal life, on the other hand, isn't of tremendous interest to me, if it cannot be considered trustworthy.

So I have no problem asking the opinion of people who've seen it, nor do I consider it intellectually dishonest. It would be intellectually dishonest for me to claim any direct knowledge of the film, but to say, "From what I've heard of it, it didn't sound like it'd be worth my time, so I haven't watched it" is 100% true.

So thank you to all of you who took my request as intended and gave your honest assessments.

Edited by Greebo
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I recommend watching the film and forming a judgement yourself. That's it. Not a ridiculous proposition by any means.

I think such a proposition can be extremely ridiculous, depending on the subject matter being recommended and the recommender.

Suppose an economics professor gave his classes of incoming freshmen copies of Marxist literature, Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine and a bunch of anti-capitalist environmentalist books and then said "now go read these and form your opinion on capitalism." This would be both outrageous and just plain dishonest*. My point is, telling someone to read a book or watch a movie and "judge it for himself" provides no additional context on the content of the media. Barbara Branden's documentary is questionable enough where I think it warrants providing additional context when you recommend that people view it.

Anyway, to reiterate, I am not saying that nobody should view it. Anybody who wants to really dig into the Branden controversy probably should view it, along with other readings. However, I do not recommend it for anyone merely looking to learn more about Ayn Rand's character or philosophy.

* Just to be clear, I do not think adrock is being deceptive or dishonest even though I respectfully disagree with him on this particular issue.

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Ah, thank you DW--that turned a lightbulb on in my head, because I was seeing something valid in both sides of the argument and of course that looked like a contradiction and (hopefully!) we all know what *that* implies. So I've now made a critical distinction thanks to you.

If you want to learn about the *controversy* per se, you probably should watch the movie, read both of Nathaniel Branden's Books *and* Barabara Branden's book, *and* Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics by Valliant. And while you are at it read the commentaries linked to by Jonathan13 at the end of post 24.

IF, that is, you are interested in the controversy.

If you want to learn about Ayn Rand's life, you need to decide what is a reliable source (most here will assure you it is not the Brandens, and I agree with them) and follow that source, you can ignore the rest since it is from unreliable sources. (This ironically may force you to delve into the controversy even though you are not interested in it, in order to decide who is full of male-bovine-generated organic fertilizer (MBGOF) and who isn't.)

Good luck

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So, if you were referring to Rand when you said what you "wanted to ask this woman is whether she actually has any evidence of these things occurring or not," I can only assume that you meant that Rand didn't present evidence to support her accusations of Nathaniel's wrongdoing in her article "To Whom It May Concern." Is that what you meant? If so, I agree, and I also largely agree with what Diana Hsieh has had to say on the subject here:

For the record, I no longer agree with what I wrote back then. As almost anyone who reads my blog knows, my opinions on these subjects changed dramatically around 2003-2004. (And gee, Jonathan13, that's awfully nice of you to dig up and quote a deliberately-deleted blog post of mine from the Wayback Machine. You have every reason to think that I've changed my views, but you don't even suggest that. So, I think, that was a pretty slimy thing for you to do.)

My view is: Ayn Rand didn't state one of her main reasons for breaking with Nathaniel Branden in "To Whom It May Concern," but the evidence presented in The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics shows that she didn't fabricate any others. Her publicly-stated reasons for breaking with the Brandens were true -- and sufficient.

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Suppose an economics professor gave his classes of incoming freshmen copies of Marxist literature, Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine and a bunch of anti-capitalist environmentalist books and then said "now go read these and form your opinion on capitalism."

A well-informed capitalist would be concerned with all dissenting views, and be able to disprove them with ease.

Your example assumes that human beings do not have free will, along with its corollary capacity of critical examination. As if reading books or watching movies will automatically force the beholder to agree with their assertions. A well-read and well-informed Objectivist can and should critically question every film he sees and book he reads based on its contradictions/agreements with the sum of his prior knowledge. Once it is established that there is a conflict, the individual can either reject or accept the versimilutude of his new knowledge. Since Greebo has demonstrated that he knows the central tenets of Objectivism, and since he presumably has the intellectual capacity to form rational judgements, there is not any harm done in watching the film.

The economics class you described is essentially the modern university. It has no effect on the man who is confident of his certainty. I have read the Klein text which you introduced to the discussion as well as Marx's Das Kapital and Communist Manifesto. Obviously, they've had no effect in terms of changing my opinion on capitalism. However, reading them was a productive activity, because it is nice to know exactly what your antagonists claim and how they argue for their positions. Having a broad base of knowledge establishes that you are intellectually serious while allowing you to understand the arguments of your opponent better than he does. That way you can dissect and destroy them with ease.

Edited by adrock3215
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Your example assumes that human beings do not have free will, along with its corollary capacity of critical examination.

This is wrong. Please note the implied context that college students are presumably first learning about capitalism. Under these circumstances, it is highly inappropriate for students to begin learning about capitalism by studying its fiercest and/or most popular critics. The students do indeed have free will and presumably should not be accepting anything uncritically. However, to be able to refute arguments as influential as Marx's is an enormous intellectual feat for a college freshman. Surely their time is better spent first learning about what capitalism is. After they have that foundation, and if the students are interested in assembling a moral defense of capitalism (or if this is part of the purpose of the class), then reading the aforementioned works could be of great value. However, even then, the students will almost certainly need some professional guidance.

A well-read and well-informed Objectivist can and should critically question every film he sees and book he reads based on its contradictions/agreements with the sum of his prior knowledge.

Obviously, I agree with this and please note that nothing I wrote suggests otherwise. The issue I addressed is whether a particular movie is worth watching (i.e., not if one should uncritically view anything.) I stated conditions where I suspect the movie is worth watching and conditions where I think the movie is not worth watching. I am not a media multiculturalist who believes that every book, every movie and every perspective has enough value to justify the time investment required to read/watch it.

Even Marx's works unfortunately remain highly influential, as reprehensible as their content is. So Marx's works are worth reading, towards the end of knowing one's enemy and understanding intellectual history. In contrast, my prediction is that Barbara Branden and her works are going to be inconsequential in about 20 years, if not sooner. At this time, if they will be recognized at all, it will only be as an example of the nonsense that Objectivists had to tolerate during the early stages of the intellectual movement. Thus, I see only limited circumstances where Barbara Branden's stuff is worth the time.

Edited by DarkWaters
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Thus, I see only limited circumstances where Barbara Branden's stuff is worth the time.

I agree with this statement, and believe we are in agreement for the most part. Personally, I would never read her books. On the other hand, the movie is a minimal time investment, and the cost is negligible. Say that Greebo generally sleeps for the awfully generous time period of 7 hours a night. It woudln't be a tremendous sacrifice to stay up a few hours later and sleep for 5 hours, considering that the time would be used unproductively anyway (sleeping, that is).

I understand your point about the economics class reading. As an introductory text to capitalism, Klein's work would be disgusting. In my first post, I assumed that Greebo already knew about Objectivism, since he's been registered for awhile here, and therefore I didn't think that he was comparable with the students "first learning about capitalism", as you put it.

Operating under the presumption that Greebo is a total idiot (meaning, he cannot think critically) and knows nothing about Ayn Rand or Objectivism, I rescind my first post and state that he should not watch this film.

Edited by adrock3215
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Replying to Jonathan13:

"In the dark"... that's why I said "one of the versions". I didn't say she WAS in the dark, I said that if that were true it can't be both ways. She hasn't helped in not spreading multiple versions either. However, I won't go into that with you Jonathan.

You are OBVIOUSLY trying very hard to rashly dismiss everything I've said and others have said without actually 'rashly' dismissing it by using flowery words. You have pretty much called me and your other friend a liar, without having to say it, by implication. This is disrespectful and it's revealing any agenda you might have really well. You are using the same logic Barbara has used: in absence of other explanations, the assumption must be correct. There are way too many factors to account for numerous liquor bottles in Frank's life for anyone to be able to point to alcoholism. If anyone wished to accuse Frank of alcoholism, then let them provide evidence of repeated instances when he was actually drunk.

What would count as evidence that Mr. O'Connor may have been a heavy drinker?

If you're not aware of it, Ms. Branden has listed people who are said to have witnessed Mr. O'Connor under the influence.

And here Diana Hsieh mentions that Dr. Peikoff said that he once saw Mr. O'Connor slightly intoxicated (though Ms. Hsieh's intentions seemed to be that citing Dr. Peikoff's report of having seen Mr. O'Connor slightly intoxicated should somehow be taken as proof that Mr. O'Connor did not abuse alcohol).

Anyway, I'm not interested in trying to diagnose Mr. O'Connor as an alcoholic, but in seeing if there is any evidence to support the claim that he used rows of empty liquor bottles, which were not reported to have any paint in them or on them, for mixing his paints.

And here's her response when I posed your artistic and utilitarian concerns about her methods to her:" I had just started studying with Lucho (Painter Luis Miranda ) around when you were five (that would make the date 1984). It was my first class and I had been in such a hurry because I was late (no doubt because of me) that I forgot to put my palette in the car where I had left my paint and brush case. When I arrived at his studio I told him "Mr. Miranda I forgot my palette, could you lend me one?" and Lucho, of course, was exasperated, also because I had forgotten to get a plastic glass to clean my brushes with. In response he stormed over to my easel and put an empty glass coca-cola bottle on the stand next to it and said "Use this for your brushes!". When I asked him about the palette again he turned bright red and told me "If you're going to be like this I don't think you should be in my class- I am not here to teach idle housewives how to paint puppies for their son's bedroom, i'm here to teach artists! I don't give a damn what you use- use the damn bottle and just shut up and either paint or get out of here." Well, I was so furious at him that I sat down and just started right away. At first I thought about using the stand itself to get back at him, but then I just grabbed the bottle and I used the outside surface of it. I was so angry and so focused that I did a pretty good job of the painting for my first class, and Lucho joked that the bottle seemed to be working. I guess it stuck, really, and they made such a nice souvenir of each painting I made that I decided to keep them around. I'd use the outside to mix the hues and shades, and the inside and in sides I'd use for wiping."

Would you mind answering a few more questions? You haven't identified which liquid medium your mother used and how she used it. Would she fill the bottle with something like a mixture of turpentine and linseed oil, or did she keep just a small amount in the bottom of the bottle, and then dip the brush way down inside each time she wanted to retrieve some? Or was she not using the bottle as a medium container at all, but only as a palette? If so, what was she using to hold the mixing medium? Earlier you mentioned that she used a different bottle for each color. Since a palette usually contains all of the raw colors that an artist plans on using, and he or she then mixes those raw colors to create new colors based on the specific requirements of the current painting, did your mother use one bottle for each raw color and one bottle for each new custom-mixed color? How many bottles would she have on her stand? I mean, when I paint, I usually have an entire spectrum of dozens of colors to choose from on my palette. Did your mother have dozens of bottles on a stand in place of a palette?

Sorry, I don't mean to be insulting, but I'm still trying to get my mind around why anyone would use such an odd, cumbersome and inefficient method of mixing paints -- why anyone would stick with such a method after being forced to get by with it during one class because she came unprepared. I mean, to me, it would be like showing up for the first day of basketball practice without sneakers, being handed a pair of football cleats and being told to make due, and then deciding that since using the cleats was kind of cute, you'd play basketball with them from that day forward.

Incidentally? My brother and father kept a collection of bottles that had been used up but whose designs or labels they liked, or because of being a rare vintage (as was my father's prized Dom Perignon bottle). I'm going to call them tomorrow and tell them "Guess what? Barbara Branden and John13 have just proven you two are irrepressible alcoholics." People can accumulate plenty of liquor bottles throughout their lives without being an alcoholic.

I've made no accusation that anyone was an alcoholic. My interest in the subject has nothing to do with "proving" that anyone was an alcoholic, but in observing what people think is a realistic explanation versus what they think is an unrealistic explanation for having rows of empty liquor bottles in one's apartment. Outside of Objectivist circles, most people I meet seem to think that it's a realistic explanation that a man might turn to alcohol in response to the fact that his wife had an affair with another man, and that it is an unrealistic (or at least a very unlikely) explanation that he instead accumulated rows of empty liquor bottles because he used them to mix artist's paints. Yet within Objectivist circles, it appears to be thought of as highly, comically absurd that a husband might turn to alcohol when his wife had an affair with another man, and it is thought of as eminently reasonable that he would have rows of empty liquor bottles because he used them for his highly unusual and comparatively cumbersome method of mixing paints.

J

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For the record, I no longer agree with what I wrote back then. As almost anyone who reads my blog knows, my opinions on these subjects changed dramatically around 2003-2004. (And gee, Jonathan13, that's awfully nice of you to dig up and quote a deliberately-deleted blog post of mine from the Wayback Machine. You have every reason to think that I've changed my views, but you don't even suggest that. So, I think, that was a pretty slimy thing for you to do.)

Until now, I've seen nothing from you to indicate that you've changed your opinion about the post in which you claimed that Rand was dishonest about the reasons she gave for her break with the Brandens. The fact that a person removes a post from her blog doesn't necessarily imply that she no longer agrees with the positions stated in it. She might delete it for any number of reasons other than disagreeing with it. She simply might want to hide certain opinions from her new friends and associates, for example.

My view is: Ayn Rand didn't state one of her main reasons for breaking with Nathaniel Branden in "To Whom It May Concern," but the evidence presented in The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics shows that she didn't fabricate any others. Her publicly-stated reasons for breaking with the Brandens were true -- and sufficient.

I'm not aware of any actual evidence -- financial records or other documents -- produced by Mr. Valliant in PARC, or anywhere else, to back up Rand's accusations of the Brandens' financial wrongdoing and professional misconduct. If you could cite such documents, I, and I'm sure many others, would be happy to weigh their merit as evidence.

J

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Sorry, I don't mean to be insulting, but I'm still trying to get my mind around why anyone would use such an odd, cumbersome and inefficient method of mixing paints -- why anyone would stick with such a method after being forced to get by with it during one class because she came unprepared. I mean, to me, it would be like showing up for the first day of basketball practice without sneakers, being handed a pair of football cleats and being told to make due, and then deciding that since using the cleats was kind of cute, you'd play basketball with them from that day forward.

You mean not unlike the way someone might show up in a forum using snide insinuations and doublespeak as an inefficient method of 'obtaining the truth'? Sorry, I don't mean to be insulting, but I'm still trying to get my mind around why anyone would use such strange tactics if his intent was honest.

Escaping the third world, I had to deal with very disingenuous and unauthentic individuals who disguised malice and hidden agendas under the pretense of honest inquiry and genuine curiosity. By comparison, your performance is very amateurish. I have given you all I said I would give you- you deserve nothing more. If you want to ask, then I suggest you track down the laureate painter Miranda himself and conduct your inquiry- should you be capable of using a second language as duplicitously as you can your first- so as to sate yourself. Of course, you will probably have to contact rather insalubrious individuals to get his phone number (the phone company is run by The State)- but I am quite certain that you shall feel at home in this endeavor.

Best of luck.

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If you want to ask, then I suggest you track down the laureate painter Miranda himself...

Thanks, but from what you've described of Miranda, his volatility scares me. I don't think that I'd want to approach him. I mean, first he blows his stack that a student showed up without some of the required supplies, then he apparently thinks it's so cute that she found a way to use the soda bottle as a makeshift palette that he turns into a lovable puddle of mush who sweetly but negligently allows her to continue using the method for the rest of the course's classes instead of properly demanding that she learn what he is there to teach her about painting, which I can only assume would include the science of traditional palette usage, color theory and medium management. First he was quite angry because he was there to teach real artists and not idle housewives, then he was suddenly willing to let housewives use experimental and inferior methods throughout the course rather than making them learn the ones that real artists use. If I were to ask him about your mother's techniques, I fear that he might first threaten to harm me, then change his mind because he found my persistence so adorable, then express regrets that he didn't teach your mother properly, then deny that your mother was ever his student, and then threaten me again with physical harm because my adorableness tricked him into confessing his negligence.

So, no thanks. He sounds way too mercurial.

J

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And here Diana Hsieh mentions that Dr. Peikoff said that he once saw Mr. O'Connor slightly intoxicated (though Ms. Hsieh's intentions seemed to be that citing Dr. Peikoff's report of having seen Mr. O'Connor slightly intoxicated should somehow be taken as proof that Mr. O'Connor did not abuse alcohol).

That's just so beyond absurd. Dr. Peikoff -- in all the years that he spent with Ayn Rand and Frank O'Connor -- reports that he saw Frank somewhat tipsy once. Yet you read that as evidence of abuse of alcohol. That's insane. By that twisted logic, I'm definitely a falling down drunk -- even though I consume about four drinks per month, if that. After all, I've been really drunk twice in my life -- once in the presence of Dr. Peikoff! Clearly, I ought to check myself into rehab pronto.

No honest person could interpret that report from Dr. Peikoff as anything other than a rebuttal of Barbara Branden's claims that Frank O'Connor was an alcoholic. Clearly, you have an agenda here that trumps all concern with basic principles of sound reasoning.

Until now, I've seen nothing from you to indicate that you've changed your opinion about the post in which you claimed that Rand was dishonest about the reasons she gave for her break with the Brandens. The fact that a person removes a post from her blog doesn't necessarily imply that she no longer agrees with the positions stated in it. She might delete it for any number of reasons other than disagreeing with it. She simply might want to hide certain opinions from her new friends and associates, for example.

Ah, right. You would not have any reason to suspect, would you? After all, since writing the post you quoted, I've only (1) broken irrevocably with The Objectivist Center, (2) denounced both Nathaniel and Barbara Branden as dishonest scum, particularly for their respective accounts of Ayn Rand, (3) fundamentally changed my judgment of Ayn Rand as a person, and (4) deleted the blog post in question.

But that's not any reason to suspect that I might have changed my view of "To Whom It May Concern," right?

You're a transparently dishonest specimen, Jonathan. Go rot in hell.

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If the script goes as planned, somewhere around this time a moderator steps in and closes the thread, irritated by accusations of dishonesty, thus demonstrating that said moderator is an ARI cultist. [After all, we must all be forever open-minded about the notion that the earth might be flat.] More importantly, it adds another little factoid to the growing evidence [sic] that Objectivism and ARI have created a sub-culture of blind followers.

[/end sarcasm]

Seriously, the discussion about paints is now closed. If someone has something else to contribute to the original poster's question, please do so.

I understand that many people here are new to this soap-opera. Newbies might see this as an unfortunate fragmentation of "Objectivist factions". I do think most people who are really interested in Objectivism and Rand will reach a stage where they will want to explore Rand's life. This will include forming a personal judgment of what they believe about various accounts and how it matters to them. Similarly, most people will reach a point where they will want to make some judgment about what they see as various factions of Objectivists. I cannot imagine not reaching such a point of curiosity, at some point; I assume most people will reach it if they continue with their interest in Objectivism.

Privately, I've sometimes pointed people to the ObjectivistLiving forum (check out their anti-ARI section). That's a good way to get one's fill. Sign up there, ask questions, and draw your conclusions. Specifically, this is most definitely not a recommendation of the content on that forum, only a recommendation to read it. Personally, I (along with many moderators here on OO.net) am a dogmatic, ARI cultist who will evade any evidence that does not fit with my world-view. Nevertheless, feel free to follow that link and find out all the negatives about this vile faction of which I try so hard to be a faithfully serf and camp-follower.

Also, if anyone does read that forum, please do not come back and start am OO.net thread bitching about its members, its tone, etc. We are not interested. Instead, for counter-points, dredge through the flame wars in the archives of alt.philosophy.objectivism and humanities.philosophy.objectivism.

On second thoughts, I'm going to close this thread for a few days. Anyone who has something of value to add, please be patient. It'll be open soon enough.

Edited by softwareNerd
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I understand your point about the economics class reading. As an introductory text to capitalism, Klein's work would be disgusting. In my first post, I assumed that Greebo already knew about Objectivism, since he's been registered for awhile here, and therefore I didn't think that he was comparable with the students "first learning about capitalism", as you put it.

Operating under the presumption that Greebo is a total idiot (meaning, he cannot think critically) and knows nothing about Ayn Rand or Objectivism, I rescind my first post and state that he should not watch this film.

I regret to inform you that you still missed my point. My offered advice on viewing the movie was not condition on knowledge, it was conditioned on values. The essence of what is wrote is that if one wants to learn about Ayn Rand, then they should not watch the movie. If one wants to learn about the controversy, then they should. Note that my advice makes absolutely no reference to the intelligence of the reader. I also think that it is highly inappropriate and rude to offer advice conditioned on the viewer's intelligence under the circumstances of this discussion.

Of course, the economics analogy was primarily conditioned on knowledge, not one values, so I can see how confusion was invited. However, the broader point of the analogy is that context, be it knowledge or values sought, matters.

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I regret to inform you that you still missed my point. My offered advice on viewing the movie was not condition on knowledge, it was conditioned on values. The essence of what is wrote is that if one wants to learn about Ayn Rand, then they should not watch the movie. If one wants to learn about the controversy, then they should. Note that my advice makes absolutely no reference to the intelligence of the reader. I also think that it is highly inappropriate and rude to offer advice conditioned on the viewer's intelligence under the circumstances of this discussion.

Of course, the economics analogy was primarily conditioned on knowledge, not one values, so I can see how confusion was invited. However, the broader point of the analogy is that context, be it knowledge or values sought, matters.

Fair enough. The point of my first post is, in essence, exactly what you wrote above, so we're on the same page. Either way, you've met me in person a hundred times. Surely you know that I wasn't endorsing the viewpoint of the Brandons, and that I simply was telling Greebo to watch the film for himself, respond critically, and make his judgement accordingly. I think that it would be silly to tell him to make up his mind on the whole controversy without learning of it from both sides.

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I haven't read "The Passion of Ayn Rand" yet, nor seen the movie, but I frequent a forum that Barbara Branden also frequents, and she always speaks of Rand with very high regard, attacks people who criticize Rand, and is a strong proponent of Objectivism. I'm not sure if her views have changed or she's mellowed out, but from my very cursory and superficial understanding of this drama, it seems she was attacking any cult of personality that might have evolved around Rand more than she was attacking Rand or Objectivism.

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In all the controversy over whether or not I'm an idiot ;) , apparently you guys missed this, so I'll repost:

------------------------------

Of money, almost nothing, since I already have showtime so I can watch Dexter (which, now that its over this year, I can cancel...).

But investing my time is something I try to be selective about, and have to be, since I only have so much time to go around, and how I invest it matters.

So I'd rather spend 5 minutes asking about the film, and 10 minutes reading the reviews by people who share an interest in the subject, than to spend 90 minutes trying to judge for myself if there is sufficient reason not to bother. So based on the responses, I'll spend the hour and a half watching The Biggest Loser, as it inspires me to exercise, instead of spending an hour and a half watching this movie which sounds like its credibility is questionable at best.

To be clear - if it dealt with her philosophy - positively or negatively - I'd watch without question. A third person's perspective of her personal life, on the other hand, isn't of tremendous interest to me, if it cannot be considered trustworthy.

So I have no problem asking the opinion of people who've seen it, nor do I consider it intellectually dishonest. It would be intellectually dishonest for me to claim any direct knowledge of the film, but to say, "From what I've heard of it, it didn't sound like it'd be worth my time, so I haven't watched it" is 100% true.

So thank you to all of you who took my request as intended and gave your honest assessments.

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